Meet

Giulia Palombino

Where are you from and where do you reside?
I’m from Caserta, a town in the south of Italy. I live in Berlin.
What’s your favorite part of living in Berlin?
I came here after my studies without a big plan; I just found the city charming, and I still do! I like the lifestyle, it’s quite relaxed.
When did you begin your current practice?
I’ve always been drawing, but got really serious about it in my early twenties.
How has your work developed in the past few years, and how do you see it evolving in the future?
My drawings have become more refined— I spend more time on each piece and get lost in thin layers of graphite and colors. Maybe I will bring back some of the more cartoonish, gestural elements, the kind of things I doodle on a napkin when I am thinking about something else. When you work quickly, the lines turn out expressive. I am also working on a new animation, which opens up a whole new world of ideas.
Do you prefer expressive elements, or keeping your work more subdued?
The style is subdued, but drama is still allowed.
How important is spontaneity in your art?
There is always a tension between spontaneity and control. Sometimes the process feels effortless, other times I’ll start all over again because something just doesn’t feel right.
Do you remember the first work of art that captured your attention?
Probably Japanese cartoons on TV.
Any in particular?
I used to watch all the popular ones, like Hello! Spank, Galaxy Express 999, and The Rose of Versailles.
Are you influenced by any artist that does something completely different than you?
Lately, I’ve been reading Clarice Lispector, who writes as if she were inventing language and the world as she goes. She leaves me confused, in a good way. I am struck by her intelligence and air of mystery.
What necessities do you require when making your art?
Paper, pencils, and a sharpener. I sharpen the pencils very often to obtain crispy lines. Lately, I have been using an interactive pen display for digital drawing; it’s fun.
How do you choose your materials?
I stick with the same materials more or less. Might be my bias towards the old-fashioned, but I feel there is still so much that pencils can give me!
Do you favor any special brand of pencil?
Yes, I like Faber Castell Polychromos.
What’s one of your favorite objects you own?
A grey jumper with a painting of the earth; on the earth there is a heart with eyes and legs, a house, a pond with fish, flowers, sun, rain and snow. I got it for my birthday from one of my best friends who made it himself. I wear it all the time.

Elegantly mechanical woman

What’s a typical day in the studio for you?
I work from home. My drawings are small so I don’t need a lot of space. I draw while listening to music and take breaks for tea or to go out and buy something. Then draw again, tea again, repeat. Sometimes until very late.
How has your work as an illustrator inform your work as an artist?
The line between illustration and art is blurry—both are about image-making. I find that any skill I learn while illustrating is transferable to my personal work and vice versa.
How do you incorporate chance in your creative process?
My way of working is associative so chance definitely plays a role. I juxtapose different sketches until I find my subject.
What do you look for when finding a subject?
An open-ended story and a feeling of surprise.
Do you see your works as unique or as part of a series?
They work as single pieces, even when they are part of a larger story.
Slant
My way of working is associative so chance definitely plays a role. I juxtapose different sketches until I find my subject. — Giulia Palombino
What themes or motifs are you consistently drawn to?
Dreams, love, women.
Do you reference your own dreams, specifically?
It’s more about imagination and creating the atmosphere of dreams than documenting my own.
Do you find that your location strongly influences the direction of your work?
My work is not directly related to my surroundings. It’s more about the things floating in my head, reflections on my life. Of course, those things are shaped in part by my actual environment, whether I plan it or not.
Do you tend to work on one piece at a time or move between a few works at once?
Sometimes I switch between different pieces to give myself time to think about the next steps.
How does your choice of color inform the final piece?
I have my favorites, but it’s also accidental. At the moment, indigo, yellow, orange, red, pink and blue are my friends.
Did you go to art school?
I have a BA in Visual Arts from Iuav and an MA in Illustration from Central Saint Martins. My illustration tutors were Andrew Foster and Gary Powell. They were really great, both at making art and teaching.
Is there any artwork on display in your studio?
Above my desk hangs a beautiful watercolor painting of a girl hugging a mannequin, both in wigs. It’s by Katrine Storebø, an amazing painter I studied with.
How solitary is your art-making process?
I’m surrounded by talented friends. I sometimes collaborate when I do commissioned work, but mostly I love working on my own.
What’s next for you?
Endless hours of sitting at my drawing desk, which is not as boring as it sounds.

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