The Eclectic In Us All

Henri Matisse argued that the first step towards creativity is seeing the true shape of your subject.

Country Ana Strampf

 

Henri Matisse argued that the first step towards creativity is seeing the true shape of your subject. There’s nothing more difficult for an artist than to write a rose into being, because doing so requires you to forget about all the roses written about by others. But there’s just something about that flower, beauty balanced by thorns. First, you admire it, then you frightfully jerk your hand away. Meanwhile, on the covers of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire and AnOtherMagazine, Brazilian artist Ana Strumpf combines the incongruous. Maybe that’s the only way to know the truth.

I was introduced to Art very early on. My whole family is connected to it in one way or another: my parents owned a fabric shop, my grandmother dabbled in it at some point; my mother was an architect. So, it was only natural that, at the age of three, I wanted to become an artist. My dad once told me about how I used to paint on every surface I could find: the walls, the furniture, the phone — he, incidentally, suffered most of all. My family taught me a lot, acquainted me with the work of various creators, constantly travelled and took me with them, but… then I fell in love with fashion and decided that was what I wanted to devote myself to. I kept drawing, though, but notseriously. For six years, I had my own designer fabric shop, but one day I had to shut its doors. Then I met my future husband, and one day he suggested we move to New York. I had some thinking todo. On the one hand, what a great city, which had taken me in such a huge number of times. On the other, I was troubled by the uncertainty of what to do there.

So it was by the will of fate that it all happened in New York. Far from the people connected to us by friendship or work, I often negotiated over Skype. During those online conversations, I found myself painting whatever happened to be at hand. Just like that phone, from my childhood. One day, it was a magazine that lay before me. It was when Instagram had first been first launched: I was starting to upload photos to my profile, and people were responding with likes. I was really gettinginto this new hobby. I decided to send my pictures to a New York blog, Honestly WTF. I really appreciated the way they describe fashion, and then they actually published my illustrations. The pictures quickly spread online, and my number of Instagram followers was growing rapidly. My phone was ringing off the hook. So I started looking out for magazines in order to start setting up some commercial orders. That’s how everything got going.

I now want to apply creativity wherever I can. I think that’s a great privilege, to be able to work in a non-standard way. I’d like to continue to do so. Being able to rethink yourself is just as important as being aware of your own personality. So I’m constantly looking for something that will allow me to open up and grow in a new way. I feel that there is still a lot of creativity ahead of me.

Illustration Ana Strampf

Inspiration is everywhere: in books, magazines, museums, fashion shows, trips, people on the street… I have a focus-eye. Whenever I’m at an exhibition, I never read the information plaque — I just look directly at the object. I focus in on it for something that my eye can catch. At the same time, I can’t tell where creative impulses come from. There aren’t any rules. Sometimes an idea will strike me, out of nowhere, and sometimes I have to wrestle with myself to come up with anything worthwhile. But my door is always open to inspiration. No matter the season or the time of day, I take in anything that dazzles me. Who knows which spark will come next?

There’s one thing I’ve learned for sure in this life: we can’t control the future. I can’t recreate myself the way I can the cover of a magazine. You just have to accept life. That’s not so hard for me, because the life around me is amazing. I would never have thought that I’d one day be in Moscow doing a project with Nina Ricci, and I can’t begin to imagine what’ll be in store for me tomorrow. But I’ll definitely continue to do what I love. And that’s not only illustrations and designs, it’s creation in the broadest sense of the word.

I try not to take my illustrations too seriously. And I don’t aim to create something every day that’s better than everything I’ve already created. What I do is just my view of the environment: I use lots of colours, but at the same time I love black and white. I love mixing patterns and shapes. I’m pop, fun, romantic, but super classic at the same time. In the world there’s a lot of sadness, so I want to produce work that will make people smile. We must always maintain a balance. With my creativity, I try to maintain my own: even when it seems like there’s a terrible pessimist looking back at me in the mirror, my marks on paper are always bright. Probably because Ihate fight and love the world.