Tag Archives: illustration

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?

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Artist Feature: Ángel Rams

We’re excited to welcome Valencia-born and Leipzig-based comic book artist and illustrator Ángel Rams to the LIFESTYLE collective. Angel sheds light on the roles of Reflection during the process of interpreting an author’s scene and Response as the illustrator’s goal to tell the story through that interpretation. He goes in on the importance of telling a story without sacrificing the narrative for superfluous illustrations that only aim to impress readers. Ángel showcases these different features of the creative process using dope examples from his portfolio. He also sheds light on exciting future projects such as serving as the artist for  Alfred Ngubane‘s book Shaka Zulu, the upcoming release of a graphic novel set in post-WWII, and his participation in the 2014 Egmont Graphic Novel Contest with his graphic novel Cayuco. Check out the dialogue below accompanied by samples from Angel’s eclectic collection and links to various projects he’s got going on.

Ángel Rams


One of the main rules of sequential art is that you are here to entertain people, telling them a story throughout panels, not to gather a bunch of cool pin-ups on a page. A good comic book page can be understood without the dialogue on it, because it responds to the script.

– Ángel Rams

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

AR: My name is Ángel Rams. I´m a comic book artist and illustrator born in Valencia, Spain. I currently reside in Leipzig, Germany.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

AR: I consider myself a comic book artist that takes occasional illustration commissions. The bulk of my artwork is what we call “sequential artwork”, in plain English: comic book pages. So I guess I should respond as a comic book artist. I believe Reflection and Response are a great part of a comic book artist’s work.

I would say Reflection describes my intention when I draw a scene, an object or a character. I try to capture on paper how I conceive that scene, object or that character. I try to reflect my perception of reality through my artistic skills. Of course that reality doesn’t really exist; it’s a reality the writer created. My task is to read, interprete and reflect. And that leads us to the next question: Response.

I understand Response as the artist’s level of commitment and efficiency toward the story. Rule number one is: tell the story. The closer my drawings are to the writer’s initial idea, the better Response I provided as a professional. In my opinion, a good comic book is the one where art and dialogues work along so well that it makes you wonder if it was made by a team or by one single creator. For this to happen you need a collaborative effort between writer and artist, or such a complete, well written script, that it gives the artist information enough to provide a good Response. Luckily I’ve been in both situations.

One of the main rules of sequential art is that you are here to entertain people, telling them a story throughout panels, not to gather a bunch of cool pin-ups on a page. Sadly, many artists focus their efforts on showcasing lots of boobs, muscle and plasma beams in cool postures rather than telling the story effectively. They adapt the story to the art and it should be the other way around, and that creates divergences. There’s nothing worse than divergences between artwork and dialogues. Seeing a character doing something or showing a body language that doesn’t match what they say, drives you out of the story and makes it less believable. A good comic book page can be understood without the dialogue on it, because it responds to the script. You don’t really know what they are saying but you know what’s going on.

Ángel Rams - Tunnel, page 9

Ángel Rams - Tunnel, page 10

How does your work fit in with that definition?

AR: When you look at the pages [from Tunnel] above, even with no lettering work on them, they convey the defenselessness and vulnerability the wounded character is feeling at that point of the story. His posture laying on bed, the martial mood of the military character that’s talking to him, the dark empty infirmary room, how the doctor approaches step by step with his apron stained with blood… All of this is telling you that wounded dude is in trouble. My task as an artist is to convey that idea throughout the page, to respond to the writer’s idea. Even the page layout imitates the shape of the window’s grid. All these elements subconsciously affect the reader, they create a mood and make the story believable. They all work together to tell the story.

At the same time, I have to reflect on the look of the room (it’s not a civil hospital, but a camp hospital), the ethnicities of the characters (the doc is Japanese) and every single object in an effective way. That means hours of documentation and study before even picking up the pencil. How many amateur comics did you see where cars look like shoe boxes? That happens because they don’t reflect real objects properly.

The next scene, below, [is] pretty much the same. The female character has the sensation of being observed, and so does the reader, because  the position of the statues, the deer head and the empty library convey that feeling.

Ángel Rams - Tunnel, page 23

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

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Feature: Frédéric Bussière

It´s Friday, which means we welcome another voice to the continuing diologue over at the LIFESTYLE´s Feature series. Frédéric Bussière uses primarily visual mediums to practice Reflection and Response. With experience that spans many places around the globe, Fred’s perspective is aided by difference lived and learned. He is also our first Collective member who currently resides in France. Peep the dialogue and links below to get to know the Craft behind the person that is Frédéric Bussière!


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

FB: Hey, my name is Frédéric Bussière, I’m Franco-Portuguese. Concerning where am I, that’s a bit harder. Right now: Paris, but I just came back from Sydney and I lived in Bonn, Germany and Buenos Aires before.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

FB: For me Reflection brings me directly to an image of myself, as an artist. It is the assessment of critiques from those whom I work with and from the public. It is then a mirror, generated by others. In a general manner, I take a selection of these judgements from my peers, the others videographers, motion graphics designers and animators. I work most often for these critics, and my friends, than my clients.

Response, for me is the physical phenomenon. It rains, you are wet. It’s the response in the most obvious sense, the law of cause and effect. In French I would say: Under the budding poet hides a mathematician. I have no idea how to translate that in an English expression however.

How does your work fit in with that definition?

FB: My work, what I film and edit, what I draw, are my Response. I could not, not do what I do. It’s almost therapeutic. It is very much a need; to create, to tell stories, use my hands to realize something ambitious. I do not respond to the public, I respond to myself.

Reflection is only the manner in which I do things, my style, and my artistic direction.

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

FB: At this time I am making a lot of commercials for fashion brands, and lingerie, as well as producing animated sequences also for advertising. These projects are short and varied, which allows me to really experiment in several different domains: video, stop motion, traditional animation, and 3D.  But what I really start to miss is fiction. I really tried as much as I could to bring a story to my commercials, but it still remains advertising, and their goal is to sell a brand image, a product, and not to tell a complex story.

In Sydney, I started to film electronic parties. My old flatmates were DJs and really brought me into the nocturnal life (even if the Australians begin their nights at the beginning of the afternoon, lol). After that moment, it became clear that I wanted to produce music clips. I hope to be able to start my first music clips in early 2013. However, the competition is really tough, and it will be much harder to set my foot in the door, especially here in France. That’s why I look towards the US.

At this time, I am finishing a live-action short feature, and I will try a new concept of narration this winter in Sri Lanka: a short interactive feature. But I can’t say more…it’s a secret. ^_^

In the end, two years ago, I founded with four other friends, a film and production studio: tadaaam-studio.com that allows us to finance animated fictional projects that are in general, very complicated to make feasible without a structure that a studio can provide.

Who or what inspires you?

FB: (for the free beer ^_^). Classical painting, photography. All these works of art tell stories, and going into museums is like going to the movies. It’s a passive inspiration I would say, and that orients my work at the written level.

Similar to that, there is a fast-growing technology that allows me to regularly create something that would have cost thousands of dollars a few years earlier. So the ever transforming domain that I work in also serves as my inspiration. I love video effects, like those of Michel Gondri (a French director who made music videos of the White Stripes, Killie Minogue, Daft Punk, Bjork..) and I “borrow” quite a few ideas from experimenters who you can find on the internet, but I won’t say their names so that I can keep my inspirations secret (evil laugh).

At this time and for several years, I have been fascinated by the work of Merlin Bronques. He is a photographer from New York who photographs the craziness and the women in huge international parties. The entirety of his collection creates a sort of documentary on the world of hipsters, of the youth who party as much as their bodies can take, of free women, of money. He is always where he must be, when he must be.

There is also those areas that I feel are rich in ideas, but that I have not yet explored, or haven’t dared, like contemporary dance.

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

FB: Contemporary art, when it’s about watching a pile of rocks on the ground, and when you must read four pages to understand what it’s about, that annoys the hell out of me. These artists should become either intellectual writers, or take drawing lessons.

Shout out to…?

FB: To all my friends who I have met during my travels around the world, and who I fear I will never see again.

A big thank you to the Lifestyle!

personal work: http://www.fbussiere.com

my company: http://www.tadaaam-studio.com

Reflection and Response.

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Feature: Olmo Rodriguez

We are proud to bring out another chair to join the LIFESTYLE’s feature series. Coming out of Madrid, España Olmo Rodriguez’s fascination with images began at a young age as he beganto scribble his first drawings in the margins of books he would read. After completing studies in illustration at Academia C10 in Madrid, he began a career in putting color into the world through comics, logos, and other images. Olmo also has a keen eye for the photographic lens and his work has been featured numerous times in the LIFESTYLE’s Snapshot of the Week features.

Olmo Feature

Para empezar con algunos puntos básicos, de dónde vienes? Dónde estás? 
Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

OR: Estudié periodismo, pero siempre he tenido mi lado artístico. Desde pequeño me pasaba horas dibujando en mis ratos libres y nunca he dejado de hacerlo.Hace 3 años comencé mis estudios en una escuela de ilustración llamada C-10. Aquí aprendí mucho a desarrollar mi habilidad como ilustrador y me especialicé en el color. Ahora, trabajo como colorista de comics, es decir, me encargo de dar luz y color a las páginas que me llegan llenas de dibujos en blanco y negro. Creo que el cambio es total y el dibujo gana mucha fuerza y vida gracias al color. Todo lo trabajo digitalmente con mi portátil.

OR: I studied journalism but I’ve always had an artistic side. When I was young I would spend hours drawing in my free time and I’ve never stopped. Three years ago I started studying illustration at C10 (an art school in Madrid). I began to develop as an illustrator, focusing on color. Currently, I work as a comic colorist, a job that involves giving light and color to pages that I receive that are covered in black and white drawings. I believe this change from black and white is total and the image becomes stronger and more powerful thanks to color. I work digitally using my laptop.

Qué quiere decir “reflexión,” y “respuesta,” para ti?
What does Reflection and Response mean for you?

OR: “Reflexión” para mí significa pararse, transportar tu mente a otro lugar y otro tiempo y viajar hasta una escena en tu imaginación. Puede nacer improvisadamente, de pronto, recordando un momento o un sueño o mientras ves una película o lees un libro. Y “respuesta” sería dar una forma a esa reflexión. Captar esa imagen o escena y reflejarla en un papel (o pantalla).

OR: “Reflection,” for me means to stop and transport oneself to another place and time, even to travel to a scene one imagines. This transformation can be born suddenly out of a moment through remembering the past, a dream, or while watching a movie or reading a book. “Response” would be when a form is given to this reflection through capturing it and represting it on paper (or on screen).

Cómo se mete tu arte en esta definición?
How does your art fit with this definition?

OR: Pues consiste en plasmar con un lápiz sobre un papel esa reflexión que nace de mi imaginación.

OR: (My art) consists of giving form to this imagined reflection through pencil on paper

Que más estás haciendo actualmente? Que proyectos estás pensando trabajar próximamente?
What else are you working on? What would you like to work on next?

OR: Actualmente estoy trabajando como colorista en un comic llamado “Apocalíptica”, creación del dibujante José Antonio Bravo, que saldrá a la venta a finales de año en Reino Unido de la mano de la editorial Markosia. Además, realizo encargos como diseñador gráfico diseñando logotipos e imagen corporativa asi como camisetas e ilustraciones, experimentando diferentes estilos.

OR: Currently, I’m working on a comic titled “Apocalíptica,” as a colorist. Apocalíptica is a creation of illustrator José Antonio Bravo and will be publiashed by the end on the year in the United Kingdom with publisher Markosia. Additionally, I work as a graphic designer and complete orders for logos, corporate imaging, T-shirts and illustrations, all while exploring new styles.

Quién o que te inspira?
What are you inspired by?

OR: Muchas cosas. Desde una fotografía hasta una película. Creo que hay que alimentar la imaginación con cine, libros y viajes de manera que tu mente esté activa y en movimiento hasta que de pronto te llega la inspiración. Cuanto más tiempo trabajas en el arte, más opciones de inspiración. Además, es muy importante rodearte de gente con una imaginación poderosa que comparte contigo esos momentos de inspiración y los potencia.

OR: Many things, from photorgaphs to films. I believe one has to feed an imaginintion with films, books and journeys such that the mind is active and moving until inspiration comes. The more one works in art, the more chances to find inspiration. Additionally, it’s so important to surround yourself with people who have strong imaginations that share and empower these moments of inspiration.

Hay algo más que quieres que sepa el Collectivo?
Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

OR: Creo que el arte en todas sus facetas es un trabajo muy valioso, importante y diferente, y debería ser más reconocido laboralmente.

Mis trabajos están en mi web: www.olmorm.daportfolio.com

Gracias y Saludos LIFESTYLE

OR: I believe art, in all it’s facets is a very valuable, important, and unique trade and that it should be recognized more so as such.

You can check out more of my work on my website: www.olmorm.daportfolio.com

Thank you to the LIFESTYLE!

-Reflection and Response.

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Patchwork: Questions

I’ve always been interested in the aesthetics of words and lettering, and Samuel’s “Questions, Take 2” from a couple weeks ago inspired me to explore this interest in a new way. I built this piece similarly to how one would build a poem word by word, line by line, but I looked at re-interpreting several visual characteristics such as font, color, size, and placement. Starting at the beginning of Samuel’s poem, I gradually wrote down each line,  but without a linear structure. Lines that were successively linked in the original writing were separated, and other lines were either layered over them or woven through them.

To me, breaking down and re-creating the original poem opens up the text to multiple new meanings and readings that may have been submerged previously. Words and lines that are woven together or placed near each other can be read separately to retain their original meanings but can also be read together to form new sentences with expanded meaning. This is another example of what I think of as “visual sampling,”  where the viewer’s interaction with the piece is a central part of the process of visually breaking-down and reconstructing Samuel’s powerful words!

Lets have a running dialogue in the comments section considering patchwork phrases and meanings that resonate with y’all! Looking forward to your input.

Reflection and Response


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