Illustrator Elena Scilinguo // Interview

Elena was born in Italy where she learned how to draw, sunbathe and cook parmigiana. She is curious so she moved to Berlin when she was 18 to see what was happening in the Design field far from home. After one year she decided go back to Italy where she studied Illustration and Animation for three years and she run away again, in Barcelona this time.

In the last few years Elena has been living between Berlin and Barcelona working on a lot of different projects for various clients having fun fun fun.

In which fields of illustration do you normally work? 

I have been working for very very different thing, from illustrating a reportage of road trip around Africa (I actually went to) to prints for shirts, socks and underwear in Mango. Lately I have been working on a lot on animations for a new brand campaign and for a series of educational documentaries about black history. I don’t think I have a favorite field or kind of illustration I like to do. 

I feel comfortable as long as I can draw with my style. I love to work on project I can learn new things from both in term of technique and contents. 

Seeing your illustrations, there’s so much to think about, especially pink humor. Why?

My friends always tell me it’s funny how my Illustration’s palette doesn’t reflect at all my taste in outfits and interiors. I started using this pastel/pink palette like 4 years ago, I picked it to intentionally contrast the black cynicism of my illustrations.

My humor comes from the idea that life sucks but here we are, joking about it will might make everything “lighter”. To make people understand that I am ironic about it (which in real life is not that obvious sometimes) I decided to try to use this palette. 

When you’re having a dull day is there something you like to draw that instantly cheers you up?

There’s nothing in particular, sometimes when I am angry about something I just start dropping ideas no-stop and I draw till my hand hurts but WHAT I draw… it really depends on the event that made my day so tough. Sometimes I have the opposite reaction and I just don’t draw anything for a couple days, like if I have no energies even to think about it.

Berlin or Barcelona? Which one is the most creative?

I prefer living in Berlin, I am living in Barcelona right now cause it’s cheaper (#honest) and I don’t have to work two jobs.

In terms of creativity I have noticed that here in Bcn the creative community is smaller and moves slower but it’s way more open. It’s easier to get to know creative people here and make friends and collaborate. In Spain there are very very good illustrator but you don’t feel the competition.

Berlin is more stimulating and it goes faster and it’s way more active and productive (love it) but I honestly find it difficult to networking (even if I speak German), everyone wants to be cool and avant grade.

Does the fact that you carry out your artistic work in Barcelona influence your art?

I don’t think so, live here but I work for clients from all over the world (I actually had just one Spanish client till now). I think I don’t feel at home or part of the culture enough here to be at the point where the environment changes my work.

I also don’t feel like saying I make ART, ’cause art means doing a lot of profound research and it would be pretentious to say my stuff is Art. I draw what I feel, and I draw what clients want. But I am not Jerry Saltz so I can’t really say what’s art.

The only thing you can be sure about is that I love what I do and I have been doing it since day 0.

Tell us about your most recent work, what are your plans for the future?

My last work is a serie of animations about puberty, period, teenage girls stuff I am doing for an American brand, I am having lot of fun.

Plans for the future…I honestly have no idea, I wish I could say I have something cool in the oven guys but I would lie. As soon as I have a break I will probably be animating some short stories just to practice and reach a higher level of animation.

Practice and study is something you should never stop doing if you really wanna do this job. You are never “done” with learning, NEVER.

I also wanna travel and attend cooking classes as soon as the pandemic is over.

Instagram: @elenza

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