Aurélia is a graphic artist, illustrator and product designer currently based in Copenhagen.
Be brave, be personal and listen to what is deep inside you to get the best of it.”
Aurelia, please tell us about how you became an illustrator, a graphic artist?
It started when I entered a pre-art school just after high school; it was a revelation for me. In this place, I experimented all kind of art drawings, paintings, sculpture and product design. I was studying in Paris which is the best place to study art; there are many museums, galleries, and events. In the school I studied the history of art, I was fascinated by the contemporary art, I like a lot Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Cindy Scherman, Basquiat, Yayoi Kusama, Keith Haring, Jeff Koons, Murakami, Olafur Eliasson, Anish Kapoor, A Wei Wei and many more. They are working on different topics, but I am inspired by their methodology and way of thinking art or design.
It was an exciting experience; I got the chance to do something I liked. I knew I wanted to enter an art school, so I passed some competitions and went to an Academy of art and design. I met incredible people, and I heard new stories. I was developing my creativity; I was trying to understand who I was as a creative and what I wanted to focus on.
Afro is not beautiful or not professional enough and should be changed to meet European beauty standards, that's what they say. When the Kardashian-Jenner clan or anyone non-Black wear hairstyles that first appeared on Black women, such as cornrows, Bantu knots or a Yaki-textured ponytail, it’s considered “new” and “chic” in the mainstream media and renamed in many instances. However, these same hairstyles are often deemed as “ghetto” and “unprofessional” when the person is Black. Is it, really?
🔜Available on my onlineshop. Experimenting with portraits and patterns. Black is required for all other colors to have depth and variation hue. The color black affects the mind and body by helping to create an inconspicuous feeling, boosting confidence in apparence, increasing the sense of potential and possibility, or prodducing feelings of emptiness, gloom, or sadness.
Where do you mainly draw your inspiration from?
My inspiration is from films, music video, photography, and others kind of art and design forms. Life is also an inspiration, people I meet, conversations I have with them.
Are there any graphic artists that you follow that we should know about?
What is your favorite tool for your work?
I like to have a pen and a blank paper. It’s all everything starts. But I also love to work a lot with my computer.
A la plage which means at the beach in French. I wish I could be in a warmer country… but I am here in the cold and dark Copenhagen.⠀ Anyway, I want to say something which some of you can relate, I guess. I have a dark skin, and I do not look forward to tan in the summer. I just feel stupid to tan on a bench all day… ⠀ But yes dark skin can get sunburn and be affected by the sun. It's real. ⠀ I am going to giving some facts about it:⠀ When our skin becomes damaged from UV ray exposure, our body kicks in its natural defense, which is to produce more melanin. Melanin is what makes your skin darken. It is a protective mechanism to try to prevent further damage. And yes, every time you’re in the sun, and you get a sunbath, this is a sign that your skin has become damaged and your body is trying to fight it. The darker the skin you have, the larger the pockets of melanosomes in your skin cells. These contain a sticky pigment melanin. The melanin is packed very tightly in the dark skin; so much so that it absorbs and scatters more light, providing more protection from the ultraviolet rays of the sun.⠀ Looking old is all about what you do with your skin…
Rihanna. @badgalriri is gorgeous! I like her latest business idea: @fentybeauty. She created a cosmetic brand for all skins color, it's brillant. I always struggled to find a foundation or makeup wich fits my color of skin… I like the idea of multiculturality. We should integrate everyone into our society and it starts with small gestures and products of everyday. #meltingpot Do you like her music? Which song?
Something you could not live without?
Nothing special, if I don’t have anything I will still be able to use my hands and create stuff anyway.
You are an illustrator, graphic artist and product designer would you say that you are in a male-dominated field or is that not the case for you?
It’s difficult to say, I work on my own, so I don’t feel confronted with inequality gender.
Can you describe one of the most difficult creative challenges you faced?
Even if I have, It’s difficult to know what to draw to reach people, find a topic that can touch people, so they feel related to what I draw.
L'homme aux lunettes vertes. The man with green glasses. I draw this man because I thought I could also draw some men, I am not particularly a feminist which excludes men. I think men should actually accept to be sensitive, to express their feelings and not have to hide behind the machismo. I think it's beautiful when a man shows his feeling and his weakness. What do you think about the men's code in our society? Don't hesitate to share your thoughts it's interesting to hear your voice.
La Parisienne which means in French, the Parisian woman. You will not find on google a picture showing a dark skin person as a Parisian if you look for "la Parisienne". Why? Because the Parisian woman is supposed to be blonde and to have a light skin and slick and shiny hair. FALSE ! The generation of Brigitte Bardot has changed. It is time to show more diversity. Paris is a big city and very multicultural. Different ethnicities cohabitate together, and so if you go there, you will see different types of faces. Am I right?! #stopcliché
Rosée.⠀ Portrait inspired by @afropunk festival. It's amazing to see all these events for afro people growing more an more all around the world. It encourages and influences people to be proud of their roots.⠀ These events don't aim to exclude other ethnicities, in my point of view it's just to gather people who understand each other and share a lot in common with their cultures. ⠀ I live in Denmark, and I rarely see people with darker skin. When it happens, we look at each other intensely just because we are kind of happy to see someone similar to us. It's funny when I walk in the streets with my boyfriend (who is Danish) because he is not used to seeing that! ⠀ I like to talk to people who understand what is my journey with my hair, just because it's not easy to say to people with straight hair that I need to make dreads with a lot of intensive cream before to go to sleep. We won't be able to talk a lot about this issue… ah ah ⠀ So I say yes to more events for dark skin and afro!⠀ What events do you usually go to talk about afro culture?
How did you overcome it?
I had to search something that matters to me which is my roots; I am an afro-descendants. I find a topic to share so I can create visuals to share and develop connections with it.Visit her portfolio
What advice would you give to someone who would like to be an illustrator like you?
Be brave, be personal and listen to what is deep inside you to get the best of it.
These past months we have been talking a lot about women's rights and equality, and I am so glad about it because it questions our society and is going to change it for the better because people need to be aware of what's going on. I was watching a Ted talk of Justin Baldoni (Why I'm done trying to be "man enough") which is interesting. Here a quote from his speech: "So women, on behalf of men all over the world who feel similar to me, please forgive us for all the ways that we have not relied on your strength. And now I would like to ask you to formally help us because we cannot do this alone. We are men. We're going to mess up. We're going to say the wrong thing. We're going to be tone-deaf. We're more than likely, probably, going to offend you. But don't lose hope. We're only here because of you, and like you, as men, we need to stand up and become your allies as you fight against pretty much everything. We need your help in celebrating our vulnerability and being patient with us as we make this very, very long journey from our heads to our hearts. And finally to parents: instead of teaching our children to be brave boys or pretty girls, can we maybe just teach them how to be good humans?"