This interview is part of our Designers We Love series, crawling inside the heads of wonderful illustrators, photographers, photoshoppers, doodlers, and generally super talented artists that we’ve had the pleasure of working with. These folks make The Book of Everyone beautiful.
In researching Daniela Carvalho’s work, I took a nosedive into her portfolio – and nearly forgot to come back up for air. She’s the very definition of a cross-medium artist, creating lovely urban murals, oil and acrylic paintings, delicate pencil drawings, manipulated photography, and even snarky animated text GIFs. The vivid texture of her work brings everything to life, from dragons to diamonds to… er, potatoes.
Daniela is originally from Peru and presently residing in Barcelona. We’ve had the honour of working with her repeatedly, bringing her unique touch to the horoscope pages, the chromosome pages (the one with bananas, passionfruit, plums… and yes, potatoes), and the eye-poppingly colourful dedication page.
I interviewed her to find out the drive behind her details.
Describe your style in three words.
Meticulous, introspective, surreal.
What was it like collaborating with The Book of Everyone? What was fun about it, what was challenging?
The team is as fun and fresh as the book. Each page has a different story to tell, so every time they call me, I’m always excited to hear the new crazy idea they have for me.
And then the challenge is to transmit that concept with my illustrations, to imagine the right world in my head and transmit that on paper. After all, in the end, the image is the first thing you see.
Who are your influences?
Actually, I don’t have any particular artists who influence me. It’s true that I’m amazed by the work of great artists from the past, like Rousseau, Magritte, and Schiele, but what really inspires me is authentic, honest, and hardworking people, more than the style itself.
What are you currently working on? What’s the most exciting thing about it?
I’m currently painting a mural in Timisoara, Romania, part of FISART Fest. It’s really stimulating because I don’t usually paint that big, and translating the delicate effect of the pencil on a wall is quite a challenge. So I’m learning in the process, plus I’m learning from all the talented artists part of the festival. It’s really a privilege to share time with all those quality people.
On your website, I see what looks like a paste-up in Barcelona, and a mural in Romania. How does your work interact with the urban world around it? How does it influence you; how do you influence it?
Yes, I need to do that more. Art is for everyone, shouldn’t be limited to art galleries and books that some people can afford. It’s always rewarding to see people enjoying your paintings in the streets.
What’s the coolest place your work has ever been displayed?
I’m happy about the article for Vice magazine I did last year, about the censured sex education in Egypt.
It’s always rewarding to illustrate something that helps create awareness of what’s happening in this world. Plus, I always love being published on paper.
How do you balance commissioned work with the artistic drive to create what you want to see in the world?
That’s a real challenge.
When you are a beginner in this business, you get asked to copy other artists, or to do stuff exactly like the client wants, but I guess, with time, people learn to respect your work and listen to you.
I actually worked in advertisement agencies for 10 years. I quit a few years ago because I didn’t have the time to create my own stuff, and to be inside an office for 8 hours does not work for me (creatively speaking). I need to have time to relax between jobs and manage my own time.
If someone loves your work, what other artists should they look into?
Esra Roise, Nettie Wakefield, and Claire Scully.
What’s your favourite YouTube video?
I have plenty, but the one I always remember is “Good Song” from Blur by David Shrigley.
Besides your own, what’s your favourite page in our book? Got any questions for that artist?
I love Vladimir Stankovic’s page. All those freaky cute characters.
A question? Maybe… what was his favourite toy when he was a kid?
Vladimir responds: “I had several favourite toys, mostly action figures, and one of them was a Godzilla toy. The others were mostly “Masters of the Universe” figures, such as Man-at-Arms, Hordak, and Orko.” Check out more from Vladimir in his interview with us.
Big thanks for the interview, Daniela!