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Interview with illustrator Giulia Marchini

Wednesday 19 July 2017

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Giulia Marchini  is an italian creative creature based in Milan. Friends call her “Pattern girl”, but not everybody knows that she also sings in her flatmate’s band, she acts and she basically tries to put her interests in everything, sometimes failing, sometimes reaching goals, especially with her illustration.
We caught up with her to know more about her work!

How did you get into illustration and what made you think “that’s what I want to do!”?

I was fourteen and I loved to draw, both because I liked it and because I attended the so called “liceo artistico” — art school. I had to draw.
In that period, Paul, a friend of mine introduced me to the magic land of graphic novels with Loisel’s Peter Pan; I wasn’t really into graphic novels, but I fell in love with this (cruel) one. I really admired people who could draw that much without getting bored, so I guess my attitude was moved by admiration.
Also, months later I casually met my favourite illustrator and novelist of that time, (which wasn’t Loisel), in a small library. I thought this was a kind of sign, and also “hey that’s what I want to do!”

What inspires you as an artist?

I don’t consider myself as an artist, so this is a hard question, like the “can you draw me something? Do whatever you like!” ones.
I am inspired by all the things around me rather than inside of me. But not really music or arts, I am inspired more often by what’s around me in the emotional way, which I digest, and put on to paper as drawings.
This might not sound great, but I find it hard to “create”: I’d rather imitate. Lately I did an Instagram live and I put a big signboard on my fridge that said “ASK ME WHATEVER YOU WANT – LIVE DRAWING” and this was funny. Since I was born as an illustrator, I guess I prefer to work ‘by commission’, using my inspiration to elaborate a previous idea coming from somebody else. So I prefer when I have a living person inspiring me rather than being inspired by a song or a movie.

What do you do when you’re not working on illustration?

When I don’t do illustration I sleep, take showers, change my sheets, sing, try to compose songs, drive my car, ride my bike, embroider… and work as a social media manager (and sometimes visual artist and illustrator when needed) in a cute creative studio in Milan.

I know you’ve been collaborating with fashion Brands. How did you get into the world of textiles?

I was very confused and was not really sure I wanted to be an illustrator after I ended my studies. First of all, because I needed to practice more but I was very lazy and used to think that every drawing was perfect after the very first sketch – and second of all because some of the illustrators who came to do master classes at the university frightened and disappointed my fairy tale of the work I wanted to choose right after they explained the economic side.
However, the university helped me a lot with an application form which brought me by chance to be an intern in a small textile design studio near Como that afterwards became my work, where I drew up to 5 patterns a day, all by hand. This forced me to improve working by hand, and hate drawing besides work! But most important I finally could be surprised by and proud of my own work by randomly spotting a printed pattern drawn by me months or even years after between the black clothes I was looking for in a shop.

What’s the best collaboration you’ve done?

In my pattern-making career the best collaborations were the printed ones: as I said I used to draw 2 to 5 patterns a day and out of the thousands I made, I have seen five or six in shops today. The Textile world is quite hard and complex, and I rarely knew where, or if, my patterns were sold.

Do you ever get stuck with your creativity?

I try to be creative in every aspect of my life, so when I get stuck with illustrations I try to focus and put my creativity in something else, which could be the way I am gonna cook my lunch or the clothes I will choose for my day. Sometimes though, I get stuck in every field of my life and this sadly happens four or five times per year and lasts no longer than a week. To face that I read a book, wash my hair, tidy my room, take a blank sheet and talk to somebody who can make me firmly believe I can make it: I can be active and creative again. And it happens (despite my pessimism)!

What’s your relationship with your family like? Does it influence your work?

My family is very curious about my life in general and I love my dad, mom, sister and dog above everything in this world. They influence my work because they taught me to respect the people I work with.
I understood their very meaning in life when I decided to leave their house to be an au-pair. I was 19, and during those first few years I felt how much they meant to me, how much I and everyone needs somebody who worries about you, and how much I missed them. I need to be far from them to love them as I do. I also love to go to my hometown to visit them and be cuddled as a teenager, of course, but only for a few days: their curiosity and love is so strong I sometimes cannot stand it!

Do you travel a lot?

I do travel a lot, everyday I have to take the bus to get to work! Joke, I often travel around Italy, but I wish I could go visit the United States. I love Milan and I love being next to the people of my life and the city I know, so I don’t have the need to travel. I just travel a lot with my mind.

Do you have any exhibitions or project planned?

I did exhibitions in my very young age but I don’t think I will do more: a little because I don’t like to ‘expose’ myself (even if it’s the work and not the person which is exposed – but I am not too sure for that in art) and also because I don’t think I’ve done enough work to exhibit.
Talking about projects, I actually have a few planned: a book, a series of embroidered items and a house (moving and furnishing a new home is a project too!).

Any artists you’d recommend us to check?

When someone asks me about names, my mind goes blank. So I reply with my last Instagram discoveries: I lately discovered a girl which puts food and pattern together in a very nice way and she’s called Vega, aka @eatingpatterns. I like her.