Welcome to my website, my space, my studio, my portfolio.
Who am I?
Sometimes it is hard to tell. I could surely say I am Ana, a Brazilian artist with more than 15 years of experience in Illustration, currently living in Toronto, Canada, with my dear husband, two lovely and crazy children and a sweet Shepard dog that tries do herd everyone at the park. That would be true. But it would not be all.
Once I asked my husband what TV character was I. His answer was: a mix of Phoebe Buffay, Liz Lemon and George Costanza. Well... that´s about it. A little crazy idealistic, a little smarty pants and goofy-nerd, a little (or totally) without social skills. Actually, lacking of social skills kind of seems to be the general idea here. Good for me I can spend my whole day locked inside, behind my desk, painting, right?
I have kids and a dog and they make me talk to other human beings.
That´s ok, I have a strategy for saving me from long and embarrassing silences: I can always say that I have had a food blog for over eleven years, now. Yeah! A food blog! In Portuguese, though. That´s what happens when you come from a northern Italian family that imbues your whole self with profound and incommensurate love for food. You really think that everyone else wants to hear you talk about the fabulous pasta you had for lunch or the chocolate cake you baked over the weekend. Did I mentioned I like to draw and paint food too? Oh, yes. I am always mesmerized by the colours and textures of fruits and vegetables and meats and cakes, and feel constantly inspired by those.
I know, not everyone is into food. (How come?)
Oh... so, I guess I could tell people that I used to play the violin. Or that I can speak four languages and am quite a book worm. (Goofy-nerd, remember?) Or that I almost majored in Philosophy before I eventually graduated in Marketing and Social Communication. I could also say that I have worked as a Graphic Designer for several years before I realize I was happier as an Illustrator. And that as so, I struggled a lot before I find myself in my work, taking jobs in very different fields, from Story Boards to Corporate Board Games, from Packaging to Textile Patterns, from City Maps to Realistic Portraits from Caricatures to Children's Books. It made my portfolio look weird and crazy for a long time, but I sure learned a lot by illustrating for so many different clients.
And, as I would discover, the very same little things that prevented me to properly focus on my job over the last 6 years are the most prominent influence and inspiration to me now: my kids. Those weird little fellows that ask me the most improbable questions, that dare to be themselves all the time, that remind me to play more and be more relaxed about life, that give me a lot of love but also make me completely and utterly crazy-mad every single day - yeah, those two flood me with ideas for my illustrations and stories and eventually helped me find my most true self in what I do.
And I love seeing my kids go through my sketchbooks, like their own and exclusive children´s books, particularly those that have sketches of our family. I call them "Illustrated Diaries", because they are now as important to us as our actual photographs. Maybe even more. They are records of funny things my kids said when very little, weird situations that no camera could have got at the time, a summon of a whole day in one series of little drawings to grasp a feeling. I love that they recognize themselves in my drawings.
I also love when random people tell me they identify themselves with one of my cartoons, or when they choose one of my paintings to decorate their home. Did I tell you I make little paintings for nursery rooms? It all began with the ones I made for own my kids: Thomas, the Epic and Laura, the Vigilante (you can see those in the Nursery Decor section of my portfolio). It is amazing to be part of a life before it has even been born.
That is one of the reasons I like doing children's books so much. I remember every single picture of the books I've read as a child. And I actually brought some of them with me to Toronto, the same way I brought my kids' books. They are part of our story and who we are now.
I want to be part of your story too. So I invite you to take a look at my artwork and be part of mine.
Enjoy. Don´t forget to say hi.
(You could also follow my work and some of my daily inspirations on Instagram. Please do, by the way: @anaelisagg)