Interview with Pen & Ink Fashion Illustrator: Adriana Deco
What drew you into Fashion Illustration?
When I first came across fashion illustration it was a very innovative form of art to me. I intuitively started to draw inspirations from fashion magazines while I was an exchange student in United States. Only later i found out there is actually a genre for it. I started practicing fashion illustration because I was so inspired by fashion editorials and I loved the magic and narrative. It was and still is a form of storytelling to me through commercial aspects of beauty and lifestyle industry.
What role does pen & ink play in you work, and what other tools do you use?
They play a huge role, as I have always been drawn to graphic forms of art. While I was growing artistically from a very young age I stayed away from colour for a long time - I always was drawn into more of an expression of a line, as it can convey all the drama and emotions. I like the minimal aspects of it and having such strong impact. I also love it because it is so easy to access, even while traveling which I do a lot. I mainly use inks, crayons, markers... I also do love digital arts and mixing all the traditional techniques with modern technology.
Who is your favourite designer to illustrate?
I really must admit I don't have a specific preference, but I do love Gucci, Prada, Vivienne Westwood... I love the playfulness of colour, exaggerated forms and bold styling. However, I must admit I start to be drawn to more toned styles recently.
We hear a lot about writer’s block, but is there such a thing for artists – and if you do get stuck, how is this overcome?
I actually did experience a massive artists block last year - it only happened to me once before. Unfortunately in both cases it was caused by very traumatic experiences, that were related to very personal artistic expression. I am also a producer of my fashion films, which I create the concept for and use as platform for my personal experience as fashion illustrator and musician. The next production I am planning is actually based on that idea of feelings stuck and hurt by the block. I will explain how did I overcome it through abstract idea, just to prove and inspire others that it is possible. But as I am saying this I think those bad experiences happen for a reason and if we feel vulnerable we just need to let go, revaluate and let the time, close friends and outer experience be our healers.
What do you think hand drawn offers over and above a fashion photograph?
A unique perception, individuality, abstract interpretation, limitless opportunities for imagination... I am not saying that illustration has more to offer than photography, cause one inspires another - but what is great about illustration that it can totally differently perceive reality. I am not a fan of realistic fashion illustrations, as I think from the start they quite contradict the purpose of it.
What are some of the more unusual materials you’ve used with your illustrations?
Probably I would say it's fashion film and music - not exactly art materials, but an interpretation. I always was inspired by the full vision on grand scale that merges the vision and hearing senses - with my debut fashion films, despite the risk and first approach, I had great recent successes - of course with the help of amazing film teams. The risk paid off and showed me the path that works really well for my illustration and vision.
What projects do you have coming up or have recently been working on?/ What are your plans with your work for the year ahead?
There are actually a lot of things coming up and one of them is an illustrated social media campaign for Lulu Guinness and Vaseline. I also definitely want to focus and continue doing more live illustration sessions, as I found this as most fulfilling and beloved form of illustration for myself. I am also planning to release my second fashion film 'Destiny' in late September, which features my illustration and story of my struggle as an artist. I also hope to soon start planning my 3rd fashion film and taking initial steps.
What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring fashion illustrator?
To stay curious, persistent, observe other styles, try different things - see what works for you. It took me a very long time to get where I am now and i am incredibly grateful, but it wasn't definitely a smooth ride - both from an internal and external point of view. But if you are passionate about something nothing can stop you!
How do you promote your work?
I probably guess everyone is aware of the power of social media, so of course I try to remain active on major platforms like instagram, facebook, even snapchat a bit. However, I started writing my street style blog as it was something that I also was always drawn to and inspired my personal work.