DPI Magazine Interview

Thursday, April 15, 2010 · 9 comments

I had a great time being interviewed to DPI, the Taiwanese design magazine, which dedicated its last issue to the Bologna Fair. Well, the English text is very small, but I like their attitude of prefaring pictures upon words! And I love the wonderful graphics of Chinese letters and how it goes so well with the illustrations.
Nine questions, nine answers, I talk about technique, inspiration and work process, and for your convenience there is a “text only” version if you scroll down…
dpi : Would you please share with us the philosophy in your art world?
Amit : I think my attitude to illustration is quite introvert. When I read the text, I ask myself what does the character feel, rather than what does she/he/it do. I prefer moods upon facts. That is, I try to express feelings, thoughts, inner world and subjective point of view, rather than show the outside world from an objective point of view.

dpi : What are the materials you prefer to use? Also, why is the material attractive to you? Would you please also describe your general process of creating?
Amit : I use acrylic paint on a smooth textured paper or wood board. First I cover the surface with a thin layer of paint, usually some kind of brown. I sometimes use a piece of white candle as a sort of a “transparent crayon” to create a layer of wax on top of the thin paint. Then I start to work with heavier paint, that I can peel off to have glimpses of the underneath layer. I like this technique because the paint doesn’t absorb into the wax layer so I can easily fix mistakes by just peeling them off… I also like the depth and richness of color and texture that can be achieved by this technique. I prefer to work on a smooth surface because I want to have control over the texture I create.

dpi : Would you please also share with us the work selected by Bologna Exhibition 2010? What’s the most impressed for you in the process of creating?
Amit : In this work process, for the first time, I worked without preceding sketches. I always do some pencil sketches and even a fine rendered final sketch before the painting process, but this time I decided to release myself from the limitation and commitment to the final sketch. I wanted to work as freely as possible. The result was, I think, more minimalistic images, with a more minimalistic color palette. It was like putting away all unnecessary stuff, leaving only the essential. It was a very interesting process to learn from.

dpi : How would you describe your style? And how’s this style established? Who or what affect you the most in the establishment of your creating style? And as an Israeli artist, how does the culture and tradition from your country affect you?
Amit : Well, in Israel I am considered as a “European style” illustrator. I believe many good Israeli illustrators are inspired by the bright sunlight which is so dominant in a country such as Israel, therefore many artists here use a light, highly saturated color palette. Eventually, my choice of color palette and the somewhat dark atmosphere of my illustrations are not typically Israeli. This is also related to your first question, about my philosophy: I think that the fact that in my work I concentrate in abstract subjects such as feelings and moods, makes my style more universal and less related to a specific culture.
The question about inspiration is a tricky one: I could say I am inspired by some great artists I admire, but this would be only partly true, because I believe people are inspired by an uncountable amount of experiences, and each experience affects the following experience. It could be something very meaningful that happened sometime in my early life that affects anything I do or say, including my artwork, it could be a film I saw today, it could be something that a character in that movie said, or the way she stood when she said that, it could be music I’ve heard, an old lady I saw on the street today, or the way the light fell on her wrinkled hands holding her cup of coffee. The thing is, that you are aware only of a small part of the things that inspire you, and most of the time you are inspired unconsciously. To cut a long story short: I am inspired by LIFE.

dpi : In the composition of your works, we can notice sometimes you draw the horizon lines of the images with curve, like the sixth images of “The Princess Filly” on your website, or the eighth images of “Grandpa cooked a soup”, or the first images of “The Hens and the Fox.” Why do you prefer this composition? What’s the message embraced in this arrangement?
Amit : I am not sure I can answer this question. It is very interesting to me to explore the limits of an awkward composition and how it affects atmosphere. In “The Princess Filly” it might suggest cheerfulness and continuity, in “The Hens and the Fox” it is probably fear. I don’t know why I draw that way – sometimes I try not to draw this way but I can’t help it.

dpi : In some of your personal project, you re-create some very well-known Fairy Tales like Snow White, Little Red Cap. These stories are re-drawn for many times. What’s the point of view you would like to show in these works?
Amit : A long time ago I created the Little Red Cap series, when I was just establishing my style. A friend of mine saw it, and said that she gets a sense of claustrophobia, instability and fear from these pictures. I said to my friend: “Of course, Little Red Cap felt fear”. My friend said: “No, Little Red Cap is happy and has no worries from the beginning to the end of this tale. She is not even once afraid or worried about anything”. I realized she was right, and for the first time I realized that I have the tendency to prefer “fear” as a subject of my work. I think the stuff which fairy tales are made of has endless possibilities to explore fears.

dpi : Would you please talk about the work “Movit Sunny”? What’s the story about? How do you conceptualize to illustrate this book?
Amit : “Movit Sunny” is a beautiful rhymed story, written by Dafna Ben-Zvi, about an energetic, hyperactive dog named Sunny and a lazy, sleepy cat named Movit, who live together. While Sunny does all the housework and always wants to play with Movit, Movit prefers to sleep. One day, Sunny disappears and Movit, beyond all expectations, finds the strength to get up and hurry to rescue Sunny, and proves her friend how much she loves her and cares for her. I love this story because it is about the different states of mind: energy and liveliness against passiveness and depression, it is about relationship and how it is balanced, and how a crisis can bring an exchange of roles, and of course, it is about love as a driving force.
The visual concept of this book goes along with the opposite types of the two friends: Sunny is painted with warm, high saturated colors, she is skinny and jumpy and always in motion. I tried to make her look not too cheerful but also a little bit sad because Movit never wants to play with her. Movit is a heavy looking cat, painted with grayish, low saturated palette, and is always placed in the exact location on every page, to emphasize her unwillingness to get up. When they switch roles, Movit becomes very active and I tried to illustrate her in a way that reminds us the hyperactivity of Sunny on the first pages. I would say that visually (and textually) this book has an opposite symmetry.

dpi : Which work is the most special or the most favorite for you? Would you please talk about the work and the reason?
Amit : In most cases, when I look back, I never like my works as much as I used to like them when I was working on them. Therefore, most of the time, the work which is most special for me is the project I’m currently working on. These days I am working on a story by Chekhov, which is very interesting to me.

dpi : What’s your future goal? Or would you share your dream commission with us?
Amit : I really wish to continue developing my own voice and exploring new ways, I never want to get stuck in the same place, but to move on. I wish I could teach illustration one day, I think I would really enjoy it, but I am too shy…(:

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