Zooppa Highlights: Featuring Illustrator ShutUpClaudia

We're excited to share an inspiring and uplifting interview we had with Portuguese, Milan-based illustrator ShutUpClaudia.

This post is also available in: Italiano

Nowadays, it’s more important than ever to stay connected with each other. At Zooppa, we’re experts at connecting with our creatives all across the globe and from all walks of life and social distancing won’t stop us from being inspired by you and your creativity!

We’re excited to share an inspiring and uplifting interview we had with Portuguese, Milan-based illustrator Claudia Alexandrino aka ShutUpClaudia. She gives us a peek into her life as a freelance illustrator in the current creative climate of the world, how she started Ladies Drawing Night in Milan, and how her creative community and passion inspired her to take the dive into the freelance world!

We’re feeling so very inspired and can’t wait to share her work and story with you. Read on for ShutUpClaudia’s interview!

Portuguese, Milan-based Illustrator Claudia Alexandrino, ShutUpClaudia

What inspired you to become an illustrator/designer?

To start, I have always been drawing ever since I can remember. I never had a hard time thinking about the road ahead. At first, I thought of becoming an architect… and then I discovered design, how a good designer solves problems and soon realized it was the perfect path for me.

Over time, I also realized that the best skill/tool we have as creatives is to draw. Wherever we are in the world, if we can explain something by drawing, it’s a sign that we know how to communicate. That is why I find myself halfway between design and illustration. All of this inspired me to become an illustrator.

Can you tell us about some of the influences of your illustrations?

Initially, my inspiration came from notebooks that I always carried with me. I was inspired by and drew all my memories of everyday life from conversations with friends to songs I liked and more.

Growing up, I had this immense desire to scream—the need to assert my voice through strong messages and express all these feminist concepts. Even over the years, these concepts are still seen in my illustrations but now, they are more positive. They are about moments or people that bring me positivity, moments about women who rise above the struggle in their daily lives.

Tell us about your journey from a designer for a studio/agency to becoming a freelance illustrator!

It was a great, eight year journey before becoming a freelancer. I learned a lot in all of the places I worked. I always thought that my place would be within an agency, working on a team. However, over time, it became clear that working in an agency wouldn’t allow me to dedicate myself fully to my two strongest passions—illustration and design.

With the start of Ladies Drawing Night Milano, I was introduced to other girls who were freelancers who made me realize that freelancing could be a good path for me. I would have the freedom to decide my own schedule and dedicate myself to my two great passions without having my head wrapped up in a job that was not only mine, but also my boss’s. Now, I am my own boss.

Do you have advice for someone who wants to move into full time freelancing?

Before becoming a full time freelancer, it is best to gain some experience working in agencies. The more varying experience you have here, the more you’ll be exposed to different valuable creative processes.

One of the most important pieces of advice is to start networking by attending events that talk about design and starting to create a network. I think it is a slow-paced process and it is not always easy. There are so many positive things to being a freelancer but there are also so many difficult things that you can’t forget. It’s important to think long before taking the big step. But do not be afraid, just think about it a bit more 🙂

How has your life changed/been impacted by the Covid-19 Crisis? 

Because I was already working from home, my situation did not change much. But in terms of meetings and new contacts I made while looking for new collaborations, one after another, were all cancelled. Thank goodness for the internet—I managed to continue to collaborate with other people. Although it is not with the same intensity, I can’t complain. I am very positive that when this ends, there will be many new, good opportunities for us freelancers.

Claudia’s Workspace

Tell us about the Milan chapter of Ladies Drawing Night how you have built this community over the last year?

Ladies Drawing Night Meet Up for Illustrator
Ladies Drawing Night Milan—Then

To start, I’ve lived in the city of Milan for eight years, which is, for all its excellence, a design capital. Over the years, I attended a lot of design and illustration events where I met a lot of people. My partner in crime, Martina Cecchi (who is a designer too), and I are in the middle of the creative Milnaese scene so word of mouth was extremely effective.

In Milan, there is a huge female network with so many creative and beautiful women who want to be a part of a community where they can express themselves. Anyone who comes to our meetings knows that they can say whatever they want because we are here to listen and support each other.

How are you leading Ladies Drawing Night in Milan now that we are all quarantined and practicing isolation?

Our format is unlike others in that we always invite a Special Guest to guide our meetings. In this very special moment, we continue to do the same but we try to invite illustrators or women in the creative world who are Italian but do not live in Milan. We want to have another view of what it’s like to be an Italian illustrator who lives abroad.

Ladies Drawing Night Milan—Now
Ladies Drawing Night Milan—Now

We have already had three digital meetings that went very well. Of course, it is not the same as seeing each other in person but the girls who participate seem happy with the results.

What are some of your favorite artists currently?

At this moment, I’m in love with Egle Zvirblyte, Elda Broglio, Vola Noemi e Cinta Arribas.

Tell us about your all time favorite piece of work you have created!

All of the pieces I created last October for the “Just Women” exhibition in Milan! It is a series of 10 hand-painted table telling some of the most intimate and special moments that only a woman can fully understand and appreciate (but that men should also learn)

Stay Home drawing by illustrator ShutUpClaudia
By illustrator ShutUpClaudia

Do you have any advice for how to stay creative in everyday life and in quarantine?

This quarantine is forcing us to do everything and so much, in order to keep ourselves busy at all times. Sometimes, it seems like I have a busier life now than without the quarantine. My advice is to slow down. Take time to reflect on your personal and professional life. But if you feel okay and want to improve a skill, my advice to you is to participate in an online contest or learn a new skill (but without any pressure on yourself!)

We’ve compiled a list of creative resources for you during these strange times. Check it out on the Zooppa Blog here and let us know if you have anything to add to it!

Have something to share as well? Let us know! We love talking about you.

Until Next Time!
Zooppa Community Team

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