“Three words to describe the course would be: challenging, experimental, stimulating. Its avant-garde approach questions what illustration is and what it could be. It underlines the importance of experimenting, spontaneity and, playfulness, pushing you to get out of your comfort zone.”
Hi Nina – please tell us a bit about your work and your influences
“I love to work and experiment with a variety of mediums ranging from traditional
illustration to 3-D environments to stop motion animation. Since childhood, my dad would bring me along on country walks and birdwatching. This
connection with the fields and the memories linked to it are a big source of inspiration that give birth to a nostalgic, delicate and oneiric world.
Theatre set-design and the Italian art movement Pittura Metafisica also constitute a big influence in my practice. These interests contribute into creating more surreal dreamscapes where bizarre creatures and characters populate intricate scenes created in levels, making the images a bit like miniature sets.
How have you found your course and time at Brighton?
“Three words would be: challenging, experimental, stimulating. Challenging because the structure of the course was unlike anything I had previously
experienced in my education. Coming from Italy, I was used to a very traditional -almost rigid- system and working method. There were precise steps and a precise order to follow when a new brief was handed out. This meant the the process of creating the artwork, which should be fluid and freeing, became systematic, almost fabricated. On the other hand, the course in Brighton granted me a lot of freedom. At first this seemed overwhelming. I felt a bit like a boat in the middle of a sea, I wasn’t sure in which direction to steer. But it didn’t take me long to realise that the work I was creating here felt a lot more genuine.
“The greatest part of the course involves its avant-garde approach which questions what illustration is and – most importantly – what it could be. It underlines the importance of experimenting, spontaneity and, playfulness, pushing you to get out of your comfort zone. This allowed us to explore a variety of visual communication forms such as photography, video and even theatre plays! It was thanks to this that I uncovered my passion for incorporating 3-D elements in my illustration practice. It came as a surprise to me since for many years -thanks to my former art school experience- I was put off from the world of sculpture. It also consolidated my passion for stop motion animation. I admired this art form but limited myself to watching shorts and feature films and collecting books about it. During my final year, for one of our independent projects, I worked on a stop motion short inspired by my father and our country-walks. I had turned from spectator to creator. It felt amazing, I was so happy.”
How did you choose your course – why did you choose to study Illustration?
“Similarly to a lot of creatives, I was raised in a very creatively stimulating house. My dad is a composer and my mom a fine artists, my parents encouraged my creativity from an early age. As a kid, I would spend a lot of time drawing or inventing stories -sometimes a tad gruesome- that I would then re-enact through my toy animals. Those were the things I loved doing and so I had an inclination to choose a path linked to the art world. It was, however, in high school, once I started collecting children’s books, that I settled on wanting to become an illustrator.
“I had debated for a while between fine art and illustration but decided on the latter. To me, fine art felt too grandiose while illustration seemed a lot more humble and playful. Then the debate involved choosing between illustration or animation. However, Brighton’s Visual Communication course spared me from having to rigidly choose one over the other. That was the main reason I enrolled here”
What are your plans after graduation?
“My intention for the upcoming months is to dive deep into my practice. During my three years in Brighton I began digging into my “creative cave”. Now is time for a profound excavation. I want to understand what lies hidden in my visual world. On a less abstract note, I intend to continue working with 3-D and animation. After our graduation show takes place, I will be working towards gradually making my practice known to publishers, agencies and potential clients. “Making my way into the industry,” some would say. But first, I will finally be able to go back home to Italy after one year of lockdown! The time I’ll spend there will contribute to that archeological exploration I mentioned. On a more distant horizon, I’m considering taking a masters in children’s books. The
dream being that one day someone out there will decide to add one of my picture books to their own collection… (apologies for the cheesy-ness) .