Interview: Natalia Podpora
Natalia Podpora is an illustrator and designer. I was lucky enough to interview Natalia about her work and career plans.
Hello! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?
I'm good thank you haha, stressed but coping.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
My background is that I was born in Poland and at the age of 9 moved to England with my mum. I was always encouraged by my family to be creative throughout all my years and I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for that encouragement.
What are your career plans?
My career plans are to ideally be a freelance illustrator or perhaps work in the music industry, or even film, or fashion! I'm quite open to anything life might offer me. But I want to design and create, and never give up, because I know it'd be a waste.
Have you always been into illustrations and design?
I was always into art and at a certain age I got into History of Art, then that progressed into interest in contemporary illustration. I feel like the older I got the better my 'visual eye' became, I started to recognise good design, good colour palettes, good cinema, good music combinations, and all this was wonderful to me. It made me content. I'm so in love with the beauty in the mundane, like a shadow, or a leaf, or a bunch of flowers in a supermarket. Wonderful everyday things. They all inspire me. there is not a singular influence.
I adore your work. What inspired you to start doing illustrations?
I love Japanese woodcuts, paper art, vintage fashion illustration, cinema, music, interiors and galleries. A little bit of everything in the world.
What equipment do you use for your work?
I often use a pencil for sketches and ideas and either colour them digitally or leave them as sketches. I also work with paper and paper cutting. For this I use a simple craft knife and normal paper. I usually let my mind wonder with no sketching. Just straight knife to paper.
What tools or materials could you not live without?
I could not live without the pencil and the paper cutting knife and the mat.
Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?
Social media has enabled me to find so many artists on a daily basis! It's truly amazing how quickly it's possible to find inspiration and influences. It's also made me feel closer to my favourite artists, by seeing their regular updates, processes behind their work, updates on exhibitions etc. It's also allowed me to get my own work out there, and it's given me the exposure and confidence I needed, from both people I know and from strangers.
Why do you use Instagram for your work?
I use Instagram because it's quick and convenient - i'm able to get my ideas out there in a minute and get feedback and opinions from my followers. It's both a visual diary and a moodboard for any future inspirations.
Do you have any favourite pieces of design work or illustrations that you adore at the moment?
Yes, the current works I've been adoring are the most recent designs from Tishk Barzanji and the portraits from Yuka Sakuma. also anything by Victo Nagai featuring the beautiful fish. My current artist inspirations are Henri Matisse (has been from the beginning of my interest in Art), By Seiichi Hayashi, Moonassi, Frédéric Forest and Yuka Sakuma! They update and change on a seasonal basis.
What do we hope to see in this up and coming year for your Instagram and your work?
This year, over the next couple of months, I am continuing to work on my zine about ‘The pleasure of red wine’, about the languid moments in which we might enjoy a glass of red and contemplate our own content with life.
What projects are you currently working on?
I also will be working more with paper cutting and shadows as well as working on my uni project about interiors/the mundane! Will all be posted on my Tumblr and Instagram.
Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to start drawing or creating illustrations?
My advice for anyone wanting to start, is to photograph the things around you that you love, or just get a piece of paper and draw it. DO not focus on making things 'realistic’, draw the lines and see where they take you. every artist has their own line that comes to them naturally, embrace it. embrace mistakes and don't be too hard on yourself. But make work! Draw! Paint! Document the things that inspire you and your mind. Watch the films that please your eyes and close your eyes when you listen to your favourite songs.
What's the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?
The best piece of advice I've ever been given is to never compare myself to another artist - be inspired, be motivated by others, but do not compare. Everyone has different tools, different creative mechanisms and techniques that are their own, and it's not worth trying to copy theirs and neglect the ones we've been gifted with.
You can follow this lovely lady on Tumblr ‘https://npd-illustration.tumblr.com’ and Instagram ‘https://www.instagram.com/npd_illustration/’. Natalia also creates animations using her illustrations and you can find these on her Vimeo ‘https://vimeo.com/user60698495’.