Questioning Creatives


This article was written on 05 Oct 2012, and is filled under illustrators.

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Alberto Antoniazzi

I was born in Milano in 1982, so I just turned 30. I’m now living and working in a small town just outside the city, but I’m trying to travel as much as I can, so you can easily find me in the UK, Scandinavia or California.

When did you decide you wanted to be illustrator?
I don’t think there was a real moment in which I decided that. I’ve always practiced graphic design and illustration on my own, then during my first real jobs as graphic designer or web designer I remember I’ve always tried to put some illustration into my projects, so I think I moved naturally in that way. I don’t see myself as a real graphic designer as I don’t see myself as a real illustrator. I’m probably both and none of them at the same time.

Would you recommend studying at art school?
I won’t say art school is useless, it’s just not the key point, according to me. You can actually learn something in a school or outside of it, but considering the vast amount of time and money it costs, I wouldn’t definitely recommend it in the future. Come on, we’re talking about art… if humans had ever found a sure method to transfer knowledge and wisdom to others, now every fresh graduate will be Leonardo Da Vinci or Picasso.

How long was it before illustration became your primary form of income?
I must say it took a while, as I was not 100% sure about what I wanted to do, so I found myself doing various jobs, I’ve been also a barman and cashier for a year! Then I’ve been lucky enough to experience unemployment for some months and this was the period in which I learned the most. Emptiness seems to work as a fuel for the creative mind. After this I started getting more serious about web design, basically just because it was easier to find clients who was paying for a website than an illustration or a set of icons, at that time.
The thing worked very quick and so I did a nice series of freelance projects.
At this point I had the opportunity to work with a full time contract for an important company: MTV Italy. I worked as UX and UI designer for their websites and apps, and this was great for two reasons, first: I had the chance to learn how a big company works, I improved my skills – and second: I realized that 9 to 5 work is not for me!
Immediately after this I started my studio as an independent professional.

Could you describe your typical day?
I wake up without setting any alarm clock, but quite early. I switch my phone on and read some e-mails. I go out for a walk, I have breakfast, then I turn on my iMac and start working on the current project. At this point it really depends: I can be still stuck at the screen till the evening or I can go out chilling somewhere with friends for the rest of the day.
I really love to break the routine and so I’m addicted to spend the weekend in new cities or going for a walk on the riverside or the mountains.

What do you wish you’d know when you first started out?
I could say plenty of things I wish I knew earlier, but I don’t think they are necessary.
That’s the beauty: there’s nothing you should know!
Human mind will work properly only when completely empty and quiet, you just don’t have to struggle with notions or pieces of advice!

What’s the best thing about being an illustrator?
It’s an interesting job to me, it keeps the mind fresh as you have to deal with very different topics each time. Also you can plan your work hours as you like.
But the best thing is that you actually own an extra language: I can speak Italian in Italy or English in many other countries, but illustration is for everyone.

What’s the worst thing about being an illustrator?
You frequently end up staying too much time in front of a computer screen, which is definitely not good for your eyes and body.
Plus – if you live in Italy – taxes and bureaucracy are the main downside, you just don’t want to think about them or you’ll go crazy!
I regularly dream about the day when all this ancient bureaucratic system will be replaced by a clear simple democratic software.

If you weren’t an illustrator, what would you be?
A punk rock musician, or why not just an unemployed.

Any other tips you could share?
Never do one thing you don’t like just because you think it will lead somewhere better, the risk is to be trapped in a succession of things you don’t like, forever.
Do only what you really love, it may seems stupid, but doing like this each and every day will actually lead you to somewhere you will enjoy much more, and in a relatively short time.
By the way, all of this can just work for me and not for everyone, find your own personal way.
The world needs diversity and not an infinite series of clones, even if they are considered to be ‘best practices’!

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