Not a lot is known about the mysterious artist MILK (a.k.a Chiara), yet people across the net seem to want to see more and know more about the artist behind the brilliant and mystifying designs. Here is your chance to learn more about MILK and how she is inspired to create the beautiful art that she displays on her MySpace page.
VECTORVAULT: Tell us a bit more about your background. How did you get started as an artist/designer?
MILK: I’ve always been interested in graphics and design. When I was a little girl, I wanted to work making 2-D animated movies. As a teenager I gave up on the idea when I found out the huge amount of work behind those kinds of projects, and then, 10 years after I changed my mind about my dream career, I started working as a graphic artist/designer for a daily newspaper (the night shift, six days a week). I have to say that after my first year in the newspaper business I did change my mind again, and now I think that being an animator is a (beautiful) dream job.
I’ve been an editorial artist/designer since 1999, and I’ve always worked for newspapers. When I started, I just wanted to make a living making illustrations, and newspapers pay for it, so it was a good deal. 10 years later, I can say that sometimes it’s stressful and you’re always working on a very short deadline, but I just can’t see myself doing something different. It’s some sort of Stockholm syndrome.
Give us a little more information about your work. Did you go to school to study? What or whom inspires you the most? Are there any particular websites that you frequent to find inspiration?
I went to college and I have a degree in Graphic Design.
I’m inspired by a lot of people, especially those who are constantly looking for innovation and always giving their best. I’m inspired by music, (I can’t work without my headphones on)… but mainly, I’m inspired by stories. If I’m looking for inspiration, I read a short story. I love to read.
… and yes, there are some websites that never fail to help me get through a work day, they inspire me and make me happy, I check them every single day,
here’s my top 5:
What is your typical work day like? What tools do you use to help the design process from start to finish?
A typical work day for me would have at least 1 meeting with designers and editors to discuss and brainstorm an illustration idea, lots of sketches, and a bunch of hours working on the computer and 2 or 3 cups of coffee.
Tools: Sheets of paper, pencil, eraser, ink, ink pen, watercolors, acrylics, scanner, Freehand MX, Adobe Illustrator, QuarkXpress, and Adobe Photoshop.
What are the most difficult challenges you face when making your art visible to the world?
Well, there’s a big difference between my personal work and the one I make at my full time job, so I’m talking about my work as a editorial illustrator when I say that the main challenge/responsibility would be to create the right visual message(s) transmitted by the images I make, since they support and represent information, ideas and opinions.
And last but not least: the timelines, daily due dates, and the constant need to find new graphic styles to keep the visuals fresh.
What one mistake has taught you the most in your design career?
I wouldn’t call it a mistake, I think of it as a life lesson:
It is well known that in an unconscious way we all put a little of ourselves on everything we do (personal taste, ideas, favorite colors, etc), that’s just perfect when you’re working on a personal project, but when a work project involves a client, you stop being an “Artist” to become a service provider.
Designers and illustrators around the world (especially freelancers) know this: the client is always right.
What advice would you give to an up and coming graphic art designer?
“Don’t emulate, innovate.”
Looking forward, what kind of impact would you like to see as a result of your work?
Speaking of my full time job, I would say that I’d love to know my work was functional. As for my personal work, I hoped that one day all those thousands of pixels and vectors would give me a slight chance to listen to Ilka’s heart.
We might still have to settle for the mysterious side of MILK, which to me, makes her work so much more moving. I love sitting and looking at all the little details that are meticulously placed throughout the designs. What I find most inspiring is that even though she has opened up a little to us on VectorVault, there is still something that she keeps to herself that makes us want more. If you haven’t ever taken a moment to check out her designs, go and have a look. Maybe in her esoteric way, she will inspire a creative light in you.