When we put the call out for artist submissions for our latest Typography zine, we were excited to see how different artists would interpret their given letter. Adriana Bellet of JeezVanilla blew us out of the water (pun very much intended) with her homage to the letter "O", with a woman contemplating the reflection of the moon on a psychedelic night swim; the outline of the moon forms an "O". We wanted to find out more about her work and her approach to her submission.
Tell us about yourself and your work.
My name is Adriana and I'm an illustrator based in Stockholm, Sweden. I've been illustrating full time for a couple of years now, working mainly on editorials and self-initiated projects that always end up in my Society6 shop in some shape or form!
My work tends to be filled with bright, bold colors (I blame my Spanish roots for that) and I definitely have a soft spot for female portraits and lush vegetation. I mainly work with ink and acrylics, but I recently discovered felt pens and can't seem to get enough of them.
How did you approach creating your letter for our Typography zine?
I knew I wanted the letter to play hide and seek within the illustration. I was assigned the letter "O", so at first I thought it was going to be pretty easy, but I must admit that trying to get away from the obvious turned out to be quite a challenge!
How does it feel to see your work in one of our zines?
When I first discovered Society6, I was overwhelmed by the huge amount of talent featured on the site. So when I chose to open a shop, I had a bit of a "what have I got to lose?" attitude. But I quickly received really encouraging feedback from the community, and Society6 became one of my favorite platforms for sharing work. However I would have never imagined that I would get the chance to have my work published alongside some of my favorite artists!
I guess the short answer is: it feels pretty damn amazing!
What other Society6 artists do you admire?
How did you go about finding your unique style? Did it evolve over time?
I'm self-taught, so if I have to be perfectly honest, my style is probably the result of polishing my own shortcomings!
When I started wanting to take illustration seriously I really immersed myself in the art world. I read graphic novels, watched animated movies, went to museums, bought art books, drawing books, children's books - you name it! Slowly, I developed a knowledge of my own taste, a mix of all the things that inspired me. Then, it was just a matter of practicing until what came out of my hand was as close as possible to the image in my head.
Describe the moment you felt like you "made it" as an artist?
Late last year I got selected by Uppercase Magazine as one of 30 up-and-coming international illustrators. That was a really nice, validating moment. But really, every time someone chooses to buy my artwork I get that happy feeling all over again.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever received about being an artist?
It's something I read in an interview in the very beginning of my illustration days. Sadly I can't remember who said it, but it was something on the lines of: "Always, always, finish a piece. When you get to that frustrating point where you think your work is not good enough, give yourself some time, but then go back and keep working on it. You never know when your work will turn around, and you owe it to the piece and to yourself to try to find that out."
At that time, I often found myself stuck and frustrated because I wasn't as good as I wanted to be, so that advice really struck a chord. Since then, I always finish every illustration I start, even if I don't work on it for months. Many will still end up average, but some of my favorite pieces are images that at some point in the process I wanted to tear up and throw away!
Pick up the latest Typography zine featuring Adriana and many more Society6 artists here.
Photos by: Annika Andersson
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