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We had a conversation with a young emerging illustrator, Laura, who finds freedom through illustration.

Laura is 25 years old, born in Modena, but she has always lived in Lerici, a small seaside village in the province of La Spezia. After graduating from the Art School, she went to Bologna and graduated in Product Design. Illustration and the world of design brought her closer to graphic design, so she moved to Milan and continued her studies with a master's degree in Graphic Design. Currently, she lives in Milan and works in a creative agency.

Laura Zambarda Illustration
City feelings

I find myself in the emotions I draw.

Who are the characters you draw?

When I draw, I rarely think about a well-defined subject. However, it often happens to me (and I realize it only when I finish drawing) that I find myself very much in the character I have drawn, as if I had made a self-portrait. This is something I do unconsciously, probably because I find myself in the emotions I draw. In general, I love the single subject a lot. But I also like to draw groups of people: lost people, looking for something, passionate, sad, afraid.

Your illustrations are mostly red colored. What does this color express to you?

I've always loved red; since was 18 years old I often dyed my hair in this color. Mainly, red represents passion to me. Passion, sex, two bodies coming together. I could represent certain images just using this color: which is bright, striking, sometimes even intrusive. Adjectives that remind me of the passion between two people.

Laura Zambarda Illustration
Mosquito.mmi portrait

Laura Zambarda Illustration
Rose X2

All the emotions that I feel go I put them on a canvas, in this way it doesn't hurt anymore. Expressing myself makes me free.

What does illustration mean to you?

Illustration - as like art itself - means really a lot to me. I started painting and drawing by hand, at a time when I was not feeling very fine. The only time I didn't think about anything, was when I locked myself in a room and painted. In those moments it's as if my brain is switched off; all the emotions that I feel go on the canvas, in this way it doesn't hurt anymore. To date, I can say that the illustration is the same. Expressing myself makes me free.

What are you inspired by?

I am inspired by my surroundings. I often draw right on top of photos I have taken, especially of landscapes or houses. One thing that intrigues me so much has always been the facades of buildings. I always think: how many people are behind each of those windows? What are they doing? Are they happy?

Talking about artists, I was inspired by Modigliani and Picasso. Moreover, the features of ‘my faces’ are very much inspired by African masks.

Laura Zambarda Illustration

Laura Zambarda Illustration
Rain - face

Do you live in Milan, right? Does your city inspire you?

I have lived in Milan for 2 years. This city is about love and hate, but that's also why it inspires me a lot at times. Milan is a lively and young city, full of creativity. It inspires you a lot to grow and reinvent yourself.

Do you have a particular drawing process to follow or is there a different one every time?

I started from acrylic on canvas and for some years I integrated this technique of painting into a collage, inserting directly on the canvas pieces of newspaper, magazines, sometimes also tin foil or fabrics. After that, I started to bring my drawings into the digital world and I often used Illustrator and Photoshop, playing between photos and illustrations. Currently, after many years, I have finally landed in the world of the iPad. I do not follow a specific technique, I really like to change and grow.

Laura Zambarda Illustration
Window over the sea

What makes me most proud of my work is to get into people's hearts and minds.

What is the greatest satisfaction you have achieved so far as an illustrator?

I have always received my greatest satisfaction from people. It is difficult to be known when you’re not a professional illustrator and you’re not able to. However, I remember an evening, in a club in Milan: I was stopped by a girl and she recognized me for my illustrations. I still remember the beautiful feeling and satisfaction I felt. Now, what makes me most proud of my work is to get into people's hearts and minds.

Which work are you most proud of?

This is a very difficult question. I don't think I have a single work, which I am prouder of. For sure, there’s one I care the most about and it's the first painting I did. It is the one that marked the beginning of the personality of my drawings and my characters, it opened me to a world of growth. Almost 5 years after that painting, my drawings have continued to change and transform while maintaining that visual and stylistic consistency.

Laura Zambarda Illustration
Face X2

Laura Zambarda Illustration

What do you prefer to draw more than everything?

The subjects I love to draw the most are mainly two: the female body and portraits. My subjects are about desires, sensuality and intimacy. But also tensions, conflicts and melancholy.

Each of us can find ourselves in a landscape, in a stroke, in a color. What makes us unique is our past, our experiences and our way of interpreting things.

What are you working on right now?

I have recently resumed creating illustrations based on old photos that I took. I would like to start taking pictures in analog again and then, depending on the shot I have available, work on it. The photos related to the drawing tell a lot and everyone can interpret them as they, they can be interpreted according to how it is or according to what it is going through. Each of us can find ourselves in a landscape, in a stroke, in a color. What makes us unique is our past, our experiences and our way of interpreting things.

Laura Zambarda Illustration
Laura and some of her paintings

Laura Zambarda Illustration

Laura Zambarda Illustration
Cherry - face

In your opinion, what is the secret to be original?

Being original is an everyday challenge. Surely doing the things that make you feel good and not doing them just to be different from everyone. To have an open mind and look for art in the small things every day.

Dare means to me…

…be yourself and learn to let go without fear of being judged.

Follow Laura and her work on Instagram.

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