200 RSS readers - let's celebrate with Illustrativo

Interview with Shira Sela
multimedia designer and illustrator.
Shira Sela's illustrations make me feel that I see myelf on her drawings. That girl wearing skirt or dancing looks exactly like me. So I am very much involved in her art persnally and also can daydream over her postcards for hours. But what is she telling us about her works.

How did you become an illustrator?
A few years ago I started working as a multimedia designer and I often needed illustrations for things I was designing. So, I started making these illustrations myself using programs I was already working with such as Flash and Photoshop. After a while, my husband, who is a musician, needed a design for his new cd and I volunteered to make the cover art, which evolved into a 16 pages booklet with an illustration for each song. I received a very good response for this cover art which motivated me to pursue in this direction.

Did your family support you?
I am very fortunate to have a very supportive family. My parents are wonderful, generous people that always said I should do whatever makes me happy, that this should be my goal. This gave me a lot of freedom in making my career choices.
My husband was the first person who encouraged me to pursue illustration professionally, and keeps supporting and encouraging me to push things forward. He is a successful musician and a huge source of inspiration for me.

Seeing your website and the animations you are inspired by childhood
memories. Why and how?

As a child I used to spend a lot of time in imaginative worlds. This ability to create an alternative world in one's own imagination still fascinates me and this finds expression in my work.
What music do you listen to while working?
This is ever changing… but my all time favorites include: Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello, Edie Brickell, Joni Mitchell, Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, Neil Young, and most importantly, the music by Tevet Sela, my husband.

What are you trying to express/explain with your art?

In general, I try to capture certain moods or atmospheres. Certain pieces try to express the power and beauty of solitude.

What are your favorite topics? What excites you?
One of the themes that really inspire me is our use of imagination as a source of comfort. My favorite topics relate to this theme and include dreams, fantasies, solitude, childhood, and interacting with nature.

Could you tell us something about your work process? Which part of the work is the most interesting? What do you enjoy mostly?

I really enjoy the whole illustration process but my favorite part are the first phases of creating each piece, when the idea comes in my head, thinking about how to best convey it on paper and making sketches. For reference I occasionally take photos on my digital camera. When my line work is ready I would usually either digitally color it or use markers to paint it.

How would you explain your work to a stranger?
In much of my work I try to visually express certain moods, convey a scene or tell a little story through use of both traditional and digital mediums of illustration.

What is your dream work or project that you have not yet opportunity
to make? What are your lifetime art goals?

As much as I enjoy working on commercial projects, I would love to focus more on my personal work and to exhibit. I would also love to collaborate with designers from different fields and see my illustrations on clothes or accessories, for example.

How do you typically spend your time when you don't work?
Even when I am not working I spend waaay too much time on the internet. The huge amount of amazing creativity that is available on the design/art blogs is just too tempting … but when I finally do manage to get away from it all I like to take walks, read, go to shows and concerts, go to the cinema and do Pilates.

Who are your favorite artists? Who inspires/influences you?
I love many different artists, both old and new, including: Gustav Klimt, Marcel Dzama, Julie Morstad, Maria Isabel Arango, Jaime Zollars, Jill Bliss, Mark Ryden, Henry Darger, Chiho Aoshima and Makiko Kudo, to name a just a few…

Where can we find/see your works? What are you working at recently?
I am currently working on some web design projects including one for an Israeli film production company which is much fun. I am also working on a cd cover art and I am always doing some printing, packaging and posting of orders of my prints/cards, which makes me very happy!

My personal work is available on line at: www.shirasela.com