Italian illustrator Vanessa Branchi shares her passion for yoga
Berlin based illustrator Vanessa Branchi takes some time out to tell us about how she balances working from home, her passion for yoga, and her plans for the future.
Originally from Parma, in the north of Italy, Vanessa Branchi studied Graphic Design in Florence where she lived for two years before moving to London in 2012, then on to Berlin at the very beginning of 2018.
“My first taste of the industry was working with clients on various graphic design projects, however drawing has been a great passion of mine ever since I was a young child. It took me some time before I realised that it could do it professionally, and make it a part of my everyday life.”
I currently live and work in Berlin, mainly work from my home studio which I use as a base to work out of and liaise with my clients around the world. The serenity, comfort and familiarity of my own space helps me strike a good balance of being productive and relaxing; plus I do yoga when I want to take a break. I enjoy walking around my local area which I often find inspiring, helping me form new ideas or allowing me to refresh my mind and re-focus on a project I’m working on. As much as I enjoy creative spaces and a sense of an artistic community, I find that this current situation suits me and my creative flow the best. Other benefits of course are unlimited coffee and a bottomless biscuit cupboard!
I like to be surrounded by some small souvenirs from my travels, plants (that sometimes get neglected) and my coffee, sent to me from Italy for a little home comfort. Music is mandatory and bad singing is too!
Over recent years my visual identity has evolved a lot. It’s been a very interesting and fun journey even if sometimes the direction I was taking wasn’t always clear…even to myself. The change of location, from Florence to such a big city as London and then Berlin, exposed me to meeting artists and having more access to art in general than I had before. This really helped me to express myself and be able to experiment with the message I wanted to convey.
With time I decided to slowly “abandon” the graphic design world and learn to develop my own visual identity. Gradually, and with a lot of practice, I moved from a more hand drawn and rough style to a more harmonic and clean one, where my execution of shapes and lines became more refined, getting closer and closer to the visual style I had set out to achieve. At the same time the colour palette that I’m currently adopting emerged naturally.
The serenity, comfort and familiarity of my own space helps me strike a good balance of being productive and relaxing; plus I do yoga when I want to take a break.
I’ve become a bit obsessed with Yoga, I really like the positive effects it has on my daily life, and my creativity. I’m also ‘experimenting’ with my Italian heritage and cooking dishes that my grandmother has attempted to show me. I love to travel and in recent years I was lucky enough to explore incredible places like Cuba, Japan, and Mongolia. I’m always planning the next adventure! Closer to home, I love to spend my free time around live music, eating pizza (really!), and watching horror movies I know I will lose sleep over.
I’ve become a bit obsessed with Yoga, I really like the positive effects it has on my daily life, and my creativity. I’m also ‘experimenting’ with my Italian heritage and cooking dishes that my grandmother has attempted to show me.
Being a city person I’ve always loved the thought of combining my illustrations with architecture and space. I would like to see my work in large scale, possibly in the form of decorative panels or shapes that become an integral part of an urban experience. I like the idea of my work being educational and functional within a city environment.
I’m was really impressed – for various reasons – with Lorenzo Quinn’s sculpture called “Support” for the 2017 Venice Biennale. I particularly admired this project for it’s innovative and striking visual approach, given the theme of climate change: its simplicity in representing what’s happening to the city of Venice these days doesn’t need any further words to describe it. When I saw this sculpture for the first time I immediately felt really inspired and close to it as it represents perfectly the role that I would love my illustrations to have one day.
I’d say some of my most read and treasured books are; Busy, Busy World by Richard Scarry (for a jump back into my childhood); 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (I love the atmosphere and the sense of absurd of the whole story); Herbarium by Caz Hilderbrand (I think the plants have never been so beautifully represented in flat colours); and Il catalogo dei giorni by Luca Tortolini and Daniela Tieni (I always need a piece home around me).
I’m currently working on several projects, from designing silk scarves to creating editorial and website illustrations for articles. In some cases just simply adding some colour and fun to a webpage. I have small bits and bobs around for clients that definitely keep my days very busy.
Alongside my client based work I am always working and developing my personal portfolio. I’m currently focusing on some geometric pattern designs that I would love to see printed on ceramic tiles. I’m also designing my own collection of silk scarves that I want to see printed on Italian silk.
I’m spending time discovering Berlin, and getting involved in the artistic scene. Coming here has been a complete change of surroundings. All of this and a fresh pair of eyes will no doubt influence my illustrations. I feel ready to accept this exciting new challenge and work on new and exciting collaborations.