Today I have a special guest in my house, Laura. She is an artist and illustrator who is part of the Creoergosum collective of creatives (go HERE to know more). I really admire her work which is imbued with delicacy and magic and from which all the exceptionality of a kind and precious soul
shines through. I like to imagine being able to offer her a spring herbal tea and some sweets here in this space that is not a living room, but a green lawn. I have prepared a table and armchairs
in the shade of a large oak tree to be able to chat while listening to the rustle of the leaves and the song of the birds, I know she will appreciate it.
*Hi Laura, can you introduce yourself with your words?
Hello Gio! First of all, thank you for hosting me on your blog with this interview, for me it is a real pleasure!
I introduce myself for those who do not know me: my name is Laura and I am a freelance illustrator and graphic designer, specializing in editorial illustration and specifically in the creation of covers for books and novels. Since I was a child I have always loved drawing, and by combining this passion with my infinite love for literature I have tried to bring these two aspects together to make a real job out of them. I have a predilection for the fantastic genre, both as a literary taste and as a subject for my illustrations, and I love being able to tell stories through them. I'm not a professional illustrator yet, but I'm not lacking in determination!
* You live in beautiful Catania, Sicily, how does your environment influence your work?
Sicily is a land rich in beauty and tradition, like all the regions of Italy, but if I think specifically about how my life here affects my work, three aspects come to mind.
The first is linked to my city, Catania, which brings together buildings and monuments belonging to very different styles and artistic periods, while maintaining perfect harmony in the overall vision. Seeing so many different facets all gathered in a single environment has always stimulated my imagination a lot, in addition to the fact that it made me fall in love with art.
The second aspect is linked to the peculiar characteristic of Sicilians, namely their great sense of communion, sharing and hospitality. These are aspects that I also try to put into my work, in an attempt to communicate in an open way and make people feel inside a comfortable, magical space, like a window that opens onto a new world and that allows people to understand that they are not alone.
The third and last aspect, but not least, is Nature. In Catania you can turn to look at the sea in all its shades, yet if you turn around you see the immensity of Etna that never goes unnoticed. It is a city where the black of the lava stone alternates with the green of the woods and the blue of the sea, and it is impossible not to feel the presence that Nature imposes, with strength and sweetness at the same time. Nature is one of my main sources of inspiration, and living here has certainly greatly influenced this aspect, linked to a feeling of respect and wonder.
* One of the things that strike me about you is your sunshine, you are open to others, and this is reflected so much in your work. I think about “Magic ballad of Creativity”, do you want to talk about it?
First of all, thank you for saying something beautiful! I am happy to be able to convey these characteristics, and even more that I am able to do so through my works. "Magic ballad of Creativity" is a small coloring book that I created and self-published in 2021. I conceived it as an imaginary journey through the various facets of creativity, where each theme table is accompanied by some rhyming verses related to topic dealt with on that page.
The intent is to combine the coloring of the 14 plates with reflections on one's abilities and potential. Each of us has creative predispositions, and "Magic ballad of Creativity" is a small opening through which to look in order to get to know them and get to know each other better.
* Why is creativity so important to people's well-being and the betterment of the world?
Creativity is the ability to create something through the use of the intellect, ideas and imagination. Being aware of being able to create something, which can then have a tangible form or not, is essential for every human being. It may seem like a trivial thing to say, but the use of imagination or artistic inclinations is often discouraged in favor of the development of our most pragmatic and rational part, which can never be enough in itself without its "other half ”, which is precisely the most imaginative and creative one. I believe that a person aware of their creative abilities can kick off a virtuous circle, creating something that can positively influence another person, which in turn will positively influence another, and so on.
Let me give a simple example: if I get excited listening to a song, it can inspire me to create an illustration, which maybe will have the honor of reaching the heart of someone who will appreciate its message and make it his own, passing it on to others in the most creative he is capable of. For me a better world is a world where people can freely express their creativity and allow others to benefit from it themselves.
* What technique do you use to make your illustrations?
Coming from schools and universities of artistic addresses, I started from traditional techniques, and for several years I created illustrations preferring mixed techniques. However, I have been developing a preference for digital painting for some time now. On one hand, this happened as a matter of convenience (non-existent drying times, the possibility of fixing errors without having to do it all over again and so on), on the other hand I am very attracted to it as I really love the final effect, and I admire a lot of digital artists who manage to convey a material and traditional feeling while using virtual brushes. Anyhow, all my digital illustrations go first on paper, where I feel most comfortable making drafts and compositions, and only at the end do I get to the computer to draw the final version.
* Is there a job or a character you are particularly fond of?
All the illustrations that have Nature as protagonists or characters who embody its characteristics have a strong emotional meaning for me, because all are inspired by my direct experience. A work that I am particularly fond of, however, more from a symbolic point of view than for the technical quality, is my old illustration "Post fata resurgo". I did it in 2019, just before having a heart surgery for which I was rightly worried. The title refers to the motto linked to the mythological figure of the Phoenix, the protagonist of the illustration. "Post fata resurgo" literally means "after death I rise again", where precisely the phoenix is reborn from its own ashes. I made this illustration with the intention of saying to myself, however it happened, that in some way there is always a rebirth. On a technical level it is not one of my best works, but the message it is imbued with always makes me excited. For the record, the surgery went very well!
* Future projects that you can give us an anticipation of?
I am starting to give shape, albeit sketchy, to a dream that I have literally kept in my drawer for several years. At the time of the Academy I wrote a short story that I wanted to turn into a real novel, and today I would like to give it a concrete form and create an illustrated novel from it. I already have many things in mind, many ideas, some I don't know how to explain them and others are well defined. I already have in mind the illustrations and their style. But I have no idea when it will be ready and if I can really make it, but I will definitely do my best!
* I can't miss a question on the dream which is my theme of the year on which I am also doing a research through interviews and readings (Go HERE and HERE) : what relationship do you have with the dream and is there an environment, a place that returns in your nocturnal dreams?
Being an inveterate dreamer with her head always in the clouds, the relationship with the dream is certainly very strong, whether with open or closed eyes. In night dreams I always have special experiences, even if unfortunately I have never had the honor of experiencing a lucid dream. I often dream of symbols and elements that often recur, and with regard to places I find myself many times in ancient and unknown buildings that I have never seen. They are white stone buildings, with high ceilings and long naves. They are always different places but all with the same peculiarities. I don't know what it means, but the atmosphere of silence that reigns always gives me a special feeling!
Wow, mi sa che ci incontreremo prima o poi nei sogni perchè i luoghi in cui torno spesso sono simili anche nei miei sogni ed anche l'atmosfera di quiete abbiamo in comune!
E adesso alcune
* Film d’animazione preferito?
Che domanda difficile! Se devo proprio sceglierne uno, direi “Il Castello Errante di Howl”, che è uno spettacolo anche per gli occhi grazie alla meravigliosa arte dello Studio Ghibli. E visto che ci sono, vi consiglio di leggere anche i libri che hanno ispirato il film, e che sono nati dalla magica penna di Diana Wynne Jones.
* Il tuo piatto preferito?
Questa è facile! Vado matta per la pasta con il sugo al tonno. Sono una che è felice con poco!
* Un hobby a cui non rinunceresti mai?
La lettura, assolutamente. Non so che farei se non potessi leggere, penso che inizierei a dare segni di
* Un luogo dove ritrovi te stessa?
Nella Natura sempre, e in particolare nei boschi, soprattutto quando non c’è nessuno intorno. Non importa quanto mi senta triste, confusa, arrabbiata o sconfortata: stare a contatto con gli alberi e sentirli intorno a me come silenziosi e saggi compagni riesce sempre a farmi tornare lucida, a vedere le cose in maniera obiettiva e a darmi il conforto necessario. È come ricevere un consiglio o un incoraggiamento silenzioso, che non sarei riuscita a trovare in altre circostanze.
* Una citazione o un detto con cui sei completamente d’accordo?
Anche questa è difficilissima! Ma se devo proprio sceglierne una, mi fa piacere citare il buon vecchio Albert
Einstein: «Continua a piantare i tuoi semi, perché non saprai mai quali cresceranno. Forse lo faranno tutti».
Wow, I think we will meet sooner or later in dreams because the places I often return to are similar to yours and also we have in common the quiet atmosphere!
And now some
* Favorite animated film?
What a difficult question! If I have to pick one, I'd say Howl's Moving Castle, which is also a sight to behold thanks to the wonderful art of Studio Ghibli. And since there are, I suggest you also read the books that inspired the film, and which were born from the magical pen of Diana Wynne Jones.
* Your favourite dish?
This is easy! I'm crazy for pasta with tuna sauce. I am happy with little things!
* A hobby you would never give up?
Reading, absolutely. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't read, I think I would start showing signs of
* A place where you find yourself?
Always in nature, and in particular in the woods, especially when there is no one around. No matter how sad, confused, angry or discouraged I feel: being in contact with the trees and feeling them around me as silent and wise companions always manages to make me clear, to see things objectively and to give me the necessary comfort. It is like receiving silent advice or encouragement that I would not have been able to find under other circumstances.
* A quote or a saying that you completely agree with?
This is also very difficult! But if I really have to pick one, I'm glad to mention good old Albert Einstein: «Keep on sowing your seed, for you never know which will grow. Perhaps it all will.” "
Grazie di cuore Laura, mi ritrovo nelle tue parole e credo che anche ci leggerà non potrà che riconoscersi. Sono stata felice di avere passato un po' di tempo con te e averti conosciuta meglio qui sotto questo grande albero che ha ascoltato con piacere e costudirà le nostra chiacchierata, ho immaginato di essere nella tua illustrazione "La Danza del Bosco" .
Heartfelt thanks Laura, I find myself in your words and I believe that even who will read us will do. I was happy to have spent some time with you and to have known you better here under this big tree that has listened with pleasure and will treasure our chat, I imagined being in your illustration "The Dance of the Woods".
Find Laura here:
Facebook: Laura Maccarrone Art