1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
Hi! I am Bessa, a Slovak illustrator currently based in Prague. I am working as an illustrator and graphic designer here. My second biggest passion is character animation, I am still learning it because I want to make an animated short movie in the future.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
My aesthetic is full of movement, dynamics and playful compositions. It is funny, fresh, lively, a bit sarcastic and ironic. There are few significant signs which you can see in my works such as tiny strokes filled with creamy colours, reduced but powerful colour palette and characters with exaggerative proportions: big hands, feet, long noses and small heads.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
Vector illustration! Since I had my first Wacom, I just fell in love with doing vectors! I feel there is still something new for me to discover and create. Digital works for me the best also because I can work quickly, trying different ideas and make changes easily.
4. What is your artistic process like?
Mostly I start with a pencil and paper before I go to digital. I am not that kind of artist filling sketchbooks. I prefer a couple of white papers (size A4) and a sharpened pencil. This is an important part of my process because I can easily come up with a lot of ideas. I just start to draw on paper collecting ideas or writing some keywords which can help. For example: What is the story about or how the situation could look like? What everything the characters could do in the scene? Which objects could I use, etc… But I also think about working effectively and not spending too many hours thinking, so this part must be also quick. If I find the idea which is most exciting to me, I switch to digital. First I draw the basics: composition with characters, then details and patterns, at the end the colours – because here you still have so many options!
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
My inspiration comes from everyday life, situations, relationships, music, memories, from talks and meeting people, observing the world around us.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
Like probably many of us, I also love to draw since I was a child. I used to attend to the art and music school, which introduced me to the world of art and shaped me a lot. But that time I never thought about becoming a professional illustrator. However, art was still part of my life and it developed stronger during my studies. Being an art student showed me how to see the world in a critical way not just as a consumer but also as a creator. And this is most important for me. It is more than just work, it is part of my identity.
7. Where did you study?
I studied printmaking and visual communication at the Academy of Arts in Slovakia. After graduating I moved to Prague and started to work as a graphic designer. While working at the agency or studio I was trying to figure out how to start my professional illustration career (I had no idea that time). After meeting other designers at work or at creative conferences (Pictoplasma, etc…) and sharing with them different experiences, it started to be much more clear. I finally knew what to do, so I just start to work on it. You have to be pretty disciplined, patient, work hard and trust yourself and it will work!
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
I want to be a full-time freelance illustrator.
9. What about in ten?
The same but with a nomadic lifestyle.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
First, I want people enjoy my illustrations, make them laugh, cry, express their emotions and also make them to think about the things which we are doing, about our life, nature and society. The second is to be able to pay my bills from that.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
Slovak dumplings with sheep cheese and baked bacon or anything from my mum’s and grandma’s kitchen.
12. Favourite book?
Definitely “Lady Xanax, Mr. Snow White and me” written by Slovak writer and dramatic Peter Krištufek, which is an ironical story on recent history of Czechoslovakia and contemporary lifestyle. I love that. Actually, I am not sure if is translated into English or some other languages. I also like Murakami, Palahniuk, Woody Allen, Daniil Charms, etc…
13. Favourite genre of music?
I like to explore and listen to the different genres, it depends on the current mood. Mostly it is electronic music ( local or international) or some experimental, eclectic genres.
14. What are your hobbies?
Drawing, animation, dancing, festivals, walks, talks, reading, art, culture, languages, design, traveling, yoga, roller skating…
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
Maybe I would be an interpreter because I liked a lot of learning languages, especially Spanish.