Tuesday, December 22, 2009

An Interview with Ana de los Angeles Morra

Your full name: Ana de los Angeles Morra
Your age: 24
Your location: Buenos Aires, Argentina


Can you describe what you do?
-I am a freelance illustrator, focusing mainly on projects and products for children, like illustrated books. I create art which either narrates on its own, or accompanies a previous text.

When did you first become interested in art? Was there anything specific that prompted this interest?
-I have been drawing and painting since I could hold a pencil in my little hand. I guess my first memory art-related comes from the time when I was three. Used to sit on a small wooden table and draw for hours on white papers my mum brought from work.
My parents were always encouraging about anything I enjoyed doing, so they were a very important support. Besides, art was always appreciated at home. My parents had studied drama when they were young, and my grandpa used to paint as a hobby.

Do you have formal training in art?
-I had no formal training in art when I was a child, except my own practice and a book I read on Human Anatomy. Then, at high school, we had some art classes, where I learned techniques like pastels and acrylics.
After that, I started studying Graphic Design at UBA (University of Buenos Aires), -will be graduating a year from now.
It was only by the end of 2007 when I discovered these Pencil classes by master Oscar Rojas (a highly recognized children illustrator in Argentina), and began studying with him, simultaneous to my studies at University.

What prompted your passion for children's illustration?
-Before taking Pencil classes, I wasn't sure I was on the right way.
I worked at a Design Studio, in the video and post production area, and had no idea I could actually work doing what I loved most. Rojas's classes are aimed to children illustration, and once I started, I just knew THAT was what I wanted to do from that moment on. I guess it's the magic of it all; it's like an excuse for being a child again!

Why do you think it is important to illustrate for this age group?
-I think almost every aspect of who we are as adults, begin to develop when we are children. Education is crucial, but not only the academic part of it. Children are imaginative by nature, and we should encourage that, teach them to grow in creativeness and curiosity. Images, as well as written material, open up a huge world of ideas and imagination for children, especially when they are too little to read.
I believe that a child who gets a good image education will definitely be a more curious and open-minded adult. And that's great.
What inspires you to create?
-Inspiration comes in many ways, but it's hard to specify each one of them!
I guess the main influence comes from what I saw as a child. All those cartoons and picture books I used to read got stuck in my mind, and they created this image back up, from which I take infinite references.
Something that inspires me is reading. I love reading& narrative, poetry, science fiction, legends, art books; it gives me such a big field for imagination.
And not only as an inspiration tool, but as a professional resource, I always check out the work of my colleagues from around the world, from the past and the present.

What kind of techniques do you use to make your stories come alive through pictures?
-I like to use a different technique depending on what the story tells me. I believe that each one has its own feel and climate, so it's good when you can take advantage of that and use it to narrate.
I mainly use Acrylics, Gouache, Ink, Pencils (graphite and color). I love Oil painting but haven't used it in illustration yet.

What message do you hope your art will convey?
-I guess it will depend on the piece, but I know I want my art as a whole to be an instrument for love (ha-ha as silly as it may sound!). I'd like to bring back the values of friendship, help and healthy fun, which are getting so lost in this quick and violent world of us; the idea of taking the proper time to do things and not rushing them.

How does art affect your work life? Your personal life?
-Art is a part of my daily life. I read it, I see it, I almost breathe it. When your job is in the creative field, art is just an inherent aspect of your every day. You no longer see a painting without analyzing its composition, for example. You no longer read a book without imaging an illustration for it; you no longer see a poster without checking the type used. It's like perceiving everything under a new filter.
As I said before, my family is quite close to art, so I have always found support and even learned from them. I keep having art-related conversations with my dad, and my boyfriend is a graphic designer and illustrates too, so I'd say art and creative activities are a really big aspect of my personal life. 

Can you describe your experience being an assistant in Oscar Rojas's pencil classes?
-It's an honor for me to be an assistant in his classes, because he is one of the greatest children illustrators, so you learn from him every single second.
I find it a very fulfilling activity too: you get to transmit your knowledge to other people, but at the same time you learn from them. Since we all feel and see and think different, every question makes you change your point of view and understand things from another angle.
I guess teaching always puts you in crisis, because knowledge is never a definite, unchangeable thing.

What are your ultimate goals in the illustration field?
I am enjoying the moment, I am just starting on this and every new project feels great! But one thing I would love to do is publish my own integral books; being able to write, illustrate and design my own ideas.

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