Hi Piu-Piu, first of all congrats again on winning the 15K Contest. Would you like to introduce yourself?
Hi, my name is Amandine Piu, I live in Strasbourg and I have been an illustrator for 4 years now – which means I started to orientate my work towards youth 4 years ago. (And it’s important to know that physically I’m a small woman with curly hair and a light moustache, I’m half Italian…)
Tell me about the idea behind Elefant Gum?
In fact, I’ve had this idea in mind for a long time. It is the result of my work on postcards which I use for advertising and try to transform it with my own ideas. My goal was to create something funny and not so pretentious… and as I do sometimes, I decided to do it for… fun :)
What are your sources of inspiration?
I’m inspired by many things!!!! Comics, books, children’s books (many), paintings, movies, animated films (many! many!), television series, advertising, I also flip through mon cherie’s drawing books… To sum up, everything can become my inspiration! I observe, I think about it and then I try to translate my imagination! (It’s not that easy…)
There’s a certain sense of humour and word-play in your work, for example in the fake adverts you do (I especially love the ‘loup mouiton’). Seems like the interaction of image and words is important for you? Why?
Uncommon and kind of strange for an illustrator, I often begin with words and then the drawing comes … (but sometimes it’s the other way round). I spend a lot of time playing with words and finding very stupid ideas that make me laugh (plus, amazingly, it can make other people laugh as well which I like :) ). I also like the gap between what is written and what is drawn… maybe that it is what makes me laugh! Who knows?
I admire these old advertising posters, the composition of text and picture: here the text belongs to the drawing. (Plus, they were totally mad, they did everything by hand!)
Can you describe your work process?
That’s a difficult question… In my personal work, as I already told you, I often begin with words to obtain an image… The same with children’s books: The editors give me a text, and I have to finish or try to interpret it with my drawings.
And I enjoy to wake up in the morning with a wonderful idea as if by magic – because I‘ve never thought about this idea before, but it suddenly comes. Unfortunately, this is rare… and that’s a pity!
I really like your use of colours, it has this ‚old-fashioned’ aquarelle touch. When I see your work amongst the other contest designs this is one of the features that makes it stand out.
Oh! Thank you very much! I like working with colours, for me it’s a very important feature of a drawing…
Is there any difference between doing a design for a shirt and for books?
The difference (in my own opinion, because I’m not a real pro!) is mainly due to the fact that a shirt has to be worn. It is a single image and the message or the story it spreads must be clear, quickly understandable and maybe a little bit easy-to-wear, don’t you think?
And have you done any gallery exhibitions before?
I’ve already exhibited my book illustrations, but that was in libraries. This exhibition at West Berlin Gallery was my first step in the world of galleries!! (Rhoooo, that’s really posh!!)
Haha, I hope you liked your start – we are very happy to show your work here! And how does it feel to see your work in such a big format? Do you like how it works?
It’s really pleasant to see your own work on a huge canvas! (Even if though we can easily see our mistakes…) But for me the best was to see the other finalists’ designs in the gallery, as I was able to appreciate some details which are not possible to see on a screen… (And drinking some delicious cocktails was also a pleasure!)
And it was a pleasure to talk to you!
You will find more info and her portfolio on Piu-Piu’s website.