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Alessandra
Genualdo
Italy
based in London . UK
29 years . illustrator

I am from a small town in the south of Italy, but I have been living in London for the past seven years. I gained an MA in illustration from the Camberwell College of Arts in 2012, and since then I have been working as a freelance illustrator, artist, and more recently as an illustration tutor. I work from my studio in East London, which I share with two other artists and my dog Kira.

Alessandra Genualdo por Projeto Curadoria
// Which media do you use to express yourself?

I primarily use gouache painting and coloured pencil. I mostly work on paper, but I have recently experimented with ceramic as a new canvas for me to paint on.

// What is your biggest motivation to create? What inspires you?

What surrounds me is always quite inspiring to me, even if it is not directed translated visually into my work. I am attracted to decorative motifs like flowers and leaves, as a representation of the natural world I feel a connection with. The female figure is also a big source of inspiration, being a woman myself. My illustrations and paintings reflect my personal life and emotions, and the way the characters evolve reflect the way my perception of myself evolves through time.

// What is your creative process like?

Depending whether I am working on a personal project or a commission, I analyze my idea and I do some research or look for inspiration in books, films and music. I start with a very rough sketch, which I then redraw more carefully, so I can proceed to paint it in gouache. I like to visualize quite clearly how I want my final image to look like in my head – obviously that can change a bit during the process.

// What do you do in your daily routine to help maintain creativity?

Everyday I start my day with a walk in the park with my dog Kira. It’s always quite helpful to get away from your desk and be able to come back to your work with a new perspective.

Reading is always a great source of inspiration too – when I am quite busy I sometimes forget how important it is to dedicate some time every day to a good book.

Alessandra Genualdo por Projeto Curadoria
Alessandra Genualdo por Projeto Curadoria
// What are you favorite works or projects that you have done? What was the motive?

I am very critical towards what I do, and what I like one day I might hate the day after, and viceversa. One of my favorite project I worked on (and still ongoing) is maybe a series of paintings illustrating the life of two old friends of my grandmother, Elvira and Giulia, living together in a house where I spent a lot of my childhood. Every painting is very personal to me, and it reflects how I remember that house and that time. I have lots of happy memories associated with them.

Alessandra Genualdo por Projeto Curadoria
Alessandra Genualdo por Projeto Curadoria
// Have you had a decisive moment in your career? How did this influence your trajectory?

It was probably when someone pointed out that my work would be quite suitable for fashion. I grew up surrounded by fashion magazines because of my mum, and I have always been very attracted by the shapes, materials and patterns, but I never thought of my work in the context of fashion illustration. Then last year I had the chance of collaborating with Gucci, Erdem, and Show Studio, and even if I don’t define myself a fashion illustrator I loved the experience, and I would like to collaborate with more fashion brands in the future.

Alessandra Genualdo por Projeto Curadoria
Alessandra Genualdo por Projeto Curadoria
// Who are your influences, inspirations, or preferred artists? How do they reflect in your own work?

I have been influenced by a variety of artists since I begun to approach illustration, some of them are still a big inspiration now. Matisse, Tove Jansson, Jonas Mekas, Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Luc Godard, Alexander Girard, William Morris have all influenced my work in different ways. I also find old botanical illustrations very inspiring, so every time I visit a second hand book shop I buy a little illustrated book of plants and flowers.

Alessandra Genualdo por Projeto Curadoria
Alessandra Genualdo por Projeto Curadoria
// Do you think there still exists a bias in relation to women's free expression? Do you feel this in your work?

Living in a western country I don’t feel that many restrictions in the way I can express myself as a woman. I am lucky enough I never thought I had to censor my creativity to adhere to the expectations of a particular culture or my gender. But I know that is a privilege not all women have, whether it is dictated by culture or religion, and men are not affected by it in the same way.

// What makes you happy?

My dog, coffee, being in a forest, snow.

Alessandra Genualdo por Projeto Curadoria
Alessandra Genualdo por Projeto Curadoria
// What tips could you give to other women to help them bring their creations into reality?

To search for what is important, inspiring and personal to them, and use it to express what they want to say, whatever the medium.

// Do you have a new project in the works?

I have been preparing some work for exhibitions in Seoul and Madrid. I would like to have a solo show this year, so I keep working on personal paintings alongside commissions to have a good selection to choose from.

I also have a few more projects I would like to bring to reality, but I am still at the stage of researching and sketching.

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