Nowadays, “altering one’s reality” is a better answer than “mind reading” when it comes to the question: “If you had one wish, what would it be?” Although we still might be far from getting three wishes, guaranteed, Ana Strumpf shows us that it is quite possible to alter realities. With her stunning work on printed magazine covers, Strumpf transforms things just the way she likes to see them.
How do you begin your interpretation process of an image?
There are no rules, really. Sometimes I hang the image on my mood board in front of my desk, and it stays there forever until I find an inspiration. Sometimes I know already what to do as soon as I see the image.
Has re-creation been a part of your life since your childhood?
The idea to recreate, revisit, recompose is a principle that has permeated all my work for a long time. Since the time I owned my design store, I recycled vintage textiles from my parents’ fabric company and repurposed them as one of a kind interior and fashion product such as bags, cushions and furniture upholstery. Now I do it in the form of manual interventions on fashion magazine covers. When the printed press is going through such a strong crisis I find it’s a playful way to re-signify publications that would otherwise end up discarded. I also work for magazine editorials and commissioned works for brands.
When you do illustrations on magazine covers, how important is the original image for you? Do you tend to stick to what the picture is trying to convey or do you go on a tangent and approach it more personally?
Since I’m actually playing with other people’s work – photographers, models, stylists, art directors – I try not to take it too seriously. I’m not trying to make a beautiful cover on top of what’s already visually pleasing. Keeping a distance from the original cover idea was a measure that I found both interesting and respectful. Yes, it’s playful, colorful. I guess that’s the only way I know how to do it. Since it all started with a very organic process, I didn’t overthink it very much. So yes, in that sense, there’s less self-censoring
How does your creativity differ from New York, a city you lived in for a couple of years, to your hometown Sao Paulo, where you’ve been living most of your life?
I find both cities very creative in its own way. I think New York is more professional in a sense, where in São Paulo things usually happen in the spur of the moment. There is a lot of improvisation here. But in the end, we also managed to have a great final result. New Yorkers can’t do anything without planning. I try to combine the high level of professionalism in New York with the flexible Brazilian way of working.
When I’m in NY my radar is on full time, in São Paulo as well, but in a different way. It’s more personal; sometimes I get an inspiration playing with my kids, or just relaxing on the weekend.
You tend to work more on fashion magazine covers – how do you feel about the “glamorous” world of fashion?
I love fashion, art and design, and I like to mix all of that. I often get inspired by fashion to create an interior product, or an illustration, or a pattern or a color combination in a decoration. But it’s not the “glamorous” side of it that catches my attention, I get more involved in details – images, displays, shapes, patterns, mix of colors and prints…
What your favorite publications to draw doodles on so far? Which covers do you think show your best work?
The less titles, the better. I love Another, ID, Gentlewoman…
How long do you usually spend on a project from beginning to end?
It really depends on the project, sometimes one day, other times six months.
Some people think art is just about feeling inspired. Is there any discipline required as well from your point of view?
I think so, the more I draw, the more I get inspired. So I try to draw everyday for a bit.
What’s the best piece of advice you have heard?
In life? I guess it’s something very simple, that I try to do everyday, but is very hard for me, which is trying not to control everything.