Earlier this January I took some time off to hunt down a few of the most inspiring illustrators out there, if you are also a fan of this type of art– you must have come across Amanda Mocci’s portfolio in the past, and if you haven’t I am very lucky to be the person who is introducing you to her stunning portfolio.
Mocci’s work spans from graphic design to illustration. Her work is influenced by minimalism of black and white as well as the “chaotic beauty and mystery of the universe.”
Daniel: When did you learn that you have such a talent?
Amanda: Ever since I was young I’ve always kept myself busy. I really liked to explore and try new things. I was always really passionate about drawing but I never really thought about making art my career until a few years ago. In the summer of 2007, I had some time on my hands so I wanted to do something that I’ve never tried before; Portraits. I was always afraid of drawing faces because I told myself that I wouldn’t be good at it without ever having tried it. I was pretty happy with the result and decided to keep practicing. I slowly developed a style that resonates in my current work.
Daniel: Take me through the creative process, where do you start? What kind of tools, or software do you use?
Amanda: Usually ideas will come to me pretty clearly. The minute I “see” the piece in my head, I’ll keep it there till it’s down on paper. I wasn’t really one to sketch out my ideas unless the piece is pretty complex and has many elements. I recently started to play around with oil paint but I have a strong relationship with black and white compositions. My pieces will always start out with just pencil and depending on how I feel, I will add small sections of color. My work is traditional so my tools are pencils, gouache, and oils.
Daniel: What are some essential tools that you consider a must have for every illustrator.
Amanda: Pencils and paper. I use Staedtler but I have a newfound love for Palomino Blackwing pencils.
Daniel: What’s your favorite art shop?
Amanda: I don’t really have a favorite but I know that Society6 has some great work.
Daniel: Tell me what inspires you, and where do you draw your passion from, to simply stop and make art.
Amanda: Music has played a big role in my work. When I first started drawing portraits, it was of artists (bands) that I listened to. I am also pretty obsessed with the cosmos and everything universe related. The idea of the unknown and the darkness inspires me. A lot of this inspiration transcends into my work and compositions.
Daniel: Has art always played a big part in your life?
Amanda: Yes, I can express myself a lot better with art. Without it, stuff is pretty pointless for me.
Daniel: Where do you plan to take your art to, and can we see your work in any galleries?
Amanda: I have a solo show coming up summer 2013 in Montreal. After that, I plan on exhibiting somewhere in Europe.
Daniel: How do deadlines and contracts influence your creativity?
Amanda: Lately I’ve been pretty busy preparing for my solo show so I’m selective about what type of work I take. I am also a full time graphic designer for Little Burgundy shoes so by the time I get home from my day job, I don’t really have much time to draw. Deadlines can put immense amounts of pressure on an artist, but I tend to work better under stress. I’ve produced some of my best work under tight deadlines.
Daniel: As an artist, I must admit you have a very creative way to showcase your portfolio. I really enjoy your videos. How did this come together, and who is responsible for making these great videos?
Amanda: I wanted to let people into my studio and show them how I really work. Many people thought I was working digitally and didn’t realize the scale of some of my pieces. I thought that a video was a nice way to set a mood for that specific piece. All my videos are shot and edited by me.
Daniel: A large portion of our audience are artists, like yourself. If you could give them one advice – what would it be?
Amanda: Patience and practice. Finding your own style can be very challenging and sometimes frustrating. I explored with almost every medium before I settled on pencil. Don’t spend time trying to make your work trendy, make it “you”. Most importantly, don’t give up.
Daniel: What is the best advice you’ve ever been given & by whom?
Amanda: One of my art teachers in college told me once you reach your 100th drawing you will be a good artist. Once you reach your 500th drawing you will be a better artist. Your 1000th drawing, a great artist… I’ve been setting the bar higher and higher every time I create a new piece.
Daniel: What is your favorite quote?
Amanda: “I’ve loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night” — Galileo Galilei
Daniel: What are your hopes for 2013, and where do you see yourself in 5, 10 years?
Amanda: I just started my first oil portrait the beginning of January. I want to challenge myself with a new medium since I’ve been using primarily pencil for 4 years. Other than that, draw more, paint more, and exhibit abroad.