Artist Feature: Michela Buttignol

Michela Buttignol is a visual artist that we met up with through Maryanne Ventrice. Born and raised in Sacile, Italy, Michela has been based in New York City since 2009. She now focuses on her craft as a freelance illustrator, often switching between client projects and media work. She highlights an interesting version of Reflection as legacy, in that all reflections come from ideas that have previously existed, and Response is the unique style in which an artist creates work. Throughout the interview she discusses her experience growing as an artist working for the New York Times Op-Ed Page, an exciting upcoming show at the Bushwick Open Studio alongside dope artist Andrea DeFelice, and the journey curating visual components of her husband’s band Libel. Her unique style shines through the prints presented next to the dialogue below. Peep the talk below!

Michela Buttignol

Working with boundaries, if well defined, helps me move out of my comfort zone and find new solutions for better results.

– Michela Buttignol

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

MB: I am originally from Italy, born and raised in Sacile, a super small town in the northeast, not too far from Venice. I moved to the United States almost three years ago because of love. Back in 2009 while in New York, I met a guy who’s now my husband and makes me very very happy.

Since I’ve moved here I’ve been working solo as a freelance illustrator but art, drawing and creativity have always been central in my life. I decided to embrace a hard but beautiful career in the arts when I was very young; leafing through children’s books, I fell in love with the magic world of illustrations. Through the years, my passion has shifted from children’s books to editorial illustrations, which became later my profession.

Today I switch between media work and client-driven projects. I always try to find new inspirations, experimenting and pushing myself forward to improve and grow as a designer.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

MB: Reflection is to recreate. Deliver a new point of view on something that already existed but appears differently every time someone builds or creates a new identity with it. I love to recreate what I see; for example, when I draw people, I tell a new story about them, attaching a new vision and a new identity. The response is in the style, in the world that you create with your art and how the audience recognizes and captures it, understanding the process behind the artwork.

How does your work fit in with that definition?

MB: I love to work on commission. That’s why I don’t recognize myself as an “artist” but as a designer. I like the pressure of the deadline and the exchange with the commitment. During this past year I’ve had the opportunity to work for The New York Times Op-Ed page, and the experience made me understand how important a challenging topic is, as well as the urge to give it a new meaning with your design. Working with boundaries, if well defined, helps me move out of my comfort zone and find new solutions for better results.

Michela Buttignol - The Tonic of Wildness

Michela Buttignol – The Tonic of Wildness

Michela Buttignol - NYT

Michela Buttignol - NYT

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

MB: Today I am working on my next exhibition for Bushwick Open Studio. I will open my apartment and my studio during the festival weekend and share my space with friend and extraordinary artist Andrea DeFelice.

Michela Buttignol - Jump

Michela Buttignol – Jump

Also, I am very happy and proud to curate the visual identity and everything related to my husband’s band Libel. Creating posters, album covers and animated videos for this band is a joyful ongoing project that constantly gets more challenging. Since I started (almost three years ago), with Gavin’s direction and the inspiration from the music, I’ve created a large collection of gig posters that is going to grow in the future along with other video projects I am going to jump on soon for the band.

Michela Buttignol - Gig Poster

Michela Buttignol - Gig Poster

Michela Buttignol - Gig Poster

Michela Buttignol - Gig Poster

Michela Buttignol - Gig Poster

Who or what inspires you?

MB: Beyond numerous design gurus from the past (in particular, Saul Bass), I am inspired a lot by everything that affects my aesthetic and my idea of beauty. I love beautiful things, they always have a meaning; even if something just looks pretty, it means something just for being beautiful. As subjects, I am manly inspired/obsessed with swimmers from the past; dancers; and portraits with large-scale emotional expressions.

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know? 

MB: I’d like to dedicate these words from Italo Calvino – The Baron in the Trees – to my husband Gavin, who has supported my career as nobody else has and made me recognize myself and my creativity in a brand new way.

“And she knew him and so herself, for although she had always known herself she had never been able to recognize it until now”

Hit the following links to see more of Michela’s work:

Reflection and Response.

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2 thoughts on “Artist Feature: Michela Buttignol

  1. […] thrilled to be doing Bushwick Open Studios in Brooklyn with awesome visual artist Michela Buttignol. I’m also working with another great artist, Jennifer Murray, on getting an upcoming show […]

  2. […] Definitely my wife, Michela – she has become a fifth member of Libel via her artwork and visual consultation. A former member […]


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