Artist – Illustrator
It’s nearly Christmas when Taddea and I open up Skype to have our conversation. And as she’s sitting in snowy, forested Austria and I in England on a rainy Tuesday, I can’t help but feel like she’s better positioned for the festive feel.
She’s spending the holidays back at her family home in Graz, Austria’s second city. She modestly plays it down as “not very big and exciting, compared to London”, but pictures show red tiled Renaissance and Baroque architecture and pine forests surrounding the city. Not a bad place for the holidays at least.
Architecture instantly turns us onto where Taddea’s artistic and professional journey started. Her father is an architect, and at 16 she went to work for him alongside school. Taddea’s main medium, illustration, stems from a clear interest in the precise drawing and design that she started practicing as a child, and was part of her father’s technical craft.
However her biggest interest became fashion. The illustrations she could make of striking fashion photography, focussing on the model’s faces, the way the clothes fit their bodies, the designs of the prints. It wasn’t an easy area to study or find work in however. Upon leaving school, aged 18, still in Austria, Taddea found there was only one university in the whole country, The University of Technology in Vienna, offering a Fashion Design course, with an intake of only 7-10 students a year. Hopefuls can apply for several years in a row, but with such a competitive atmosphere a backup that still allowed her to create was essential.
Deciding that to have a foot in the door at this school and keep trying for Fashion Design was better than going elsewhere completely, the most obvious other course choice was Architecture, so she continued to hone her illustration and design skills through this. However Taddea admits that as much as she has a love of architecture as an appreciator, beyond that she knew she wasn’t passionate about working in it, and was always looking for other areas to practice her artistic skills in.
This led her to find opportunities in Graphic Design including for British jewellery company Anna Lou, where she was both able to work in web and computer based graphics, as well as producing illustrations of the jewellery itself.
But with her focus still on the goal of mixing illustration and fashion she had to get out of the limited Austrian market, which brought her to London, and UAL’s London College of Fashion, to study Fashion Illustration. At the time of this interview she was preparing her final project. An interesting blend of themes, content and mediums. Taking stories from traditional fairy tales such as Grimm’s tales, and female stereotypes of witches within them, Taddea intended to create illustrated fashion prints, and design clothing around these prints.
Looking at Taddea’s various artworks, she clearly works from an attention to detail and her inspirations are numerous. Whatever source, whether a fairy tale or what she sees on a street corner, Taddea sees a style of illustration that fits the content, the feel and a message within this. Talking of inspiration on a street corner, Taddea discusses the project that brought her and E L A Films together.
She had created a series of work for new creative agency We Shape London, with simply ‘London’ as her brief. She found scenes and people from different areas and communities of London and created montages or the people and places, using her distinctive pencil, ink and watercolour style to make defined illustrations awash with colour, both realistic and interpretive. Each piece evokes a different mood, the bright, brash colours of a food market compared with the solemn blues of a quiet city street.
It was at the We Shape launch that Eliot Ash saw her work and he and Taddea got talking. Out of this Taddea has created new artworks, combining Eliot’s ideas around his short film Twisted, and her artistic interpretation of scenes, stills, character and mood. These then became posters, Blu-ray covers and DVD covers for the film. Click here
For me, Taddea’s work, both on Twisted and in her work in the fashion industry, captures something individual in people’s faces, and has both a bold yet intricate form, giving an instant impression but leaving lots for the eye to keep discovering as I look at it more. The use of colour is often surprising, bold pinks and yellows alongside the blues in a poster for a brooding thriller. However it works completely, showing multiple interpretations on a theme without lessening its essential tone.
Since our talk, Taddea has worked for many clients, from big fashion companies to individual artistic briefs, and continues to inject her work with new inspiration and the attention to detail and tone distinctive of her pieces. Of herself Taddea says “I’m an artist, who happens to use illustration most”, and I can see this clearly, even in branding briefs. Each new project brings something unexpected and new, but is still clearly hers. I’m excited to she what she draws, makes and creates next.
Written by Alex Cordrey
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