Roma RM, Italy
Mariaelena Caputi studied Fine Arts, Graphic Design and Multimedia in Rome, Milan and Salamanca. Her professional activity moves between Illustration and Design. Through a conceptual and multidisciplinary approach, she creatively blends different media such as photography, illustration and everyday objects, always looking for the best way to bring ideas to life.
The New York Times, Time, The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, NJ Monthly, Harvard Business Review, McKinsey Quarterly, Foreign Affairs Magazine, University of Miami Medicine Magazine, C&EN, NextGov/FCW, NYU Scope Magazine, Il Manifesto, PD – Democratic Party, European Union, Italy EXPO Dubai 2020, RISO – Museo regionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Palermo, The Foundry 360, Philip Morris, Moleskine, Wind-Tre, Amaro Montenegro, Monk Club.
INterview with Mariaelena caputi
How old were you when first realized you wanted to become an artist?
Deep down I think I've always known that. When I was a little girl, I nagged my mother to buy me any magazine about art or DIY. I liked to draw and paint, but mostly I enjoyed modeling and assembling objects so as to create new ones. I also loved to read whatever I could get my hands on. I was and still am eager to discover new things all the time. Making creativity a profession was a natural choice for me.
Do you still have any of your early artwork?
Needless to say. I'm particularly fond of my early creations. Also, I think keeping track of my work is very important because it allows me to realize if and how I'm progressing.
Have you studied art formally?
Yes, I studied Visual Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome and Salamanca. Later, I attended the Academy of Arts and New Technologies. During this period I specialized in Graphic Design, Advertising and Multimedia. Also, I took part in some illustration workshops at the Mimaster, in Milan.
Is there an artist whose work you admire? What is it about their artwork that intrigues you?
There are many artists, illustrators as and graphic designers that I admire. Among them are, for example, Marcel Duchamp, Armando Testa, Paul Rend and Bruno Munari. Their work has been and continues to be a source of inspiration in many ways. The aspects that fascinate me the most are the completely original way they look at the world, the sharpness of their minds, and the experimental nature of their artistic research.
Where do you find inspiration, concepts or images for your illustrations? Do you have a purpose, a key message about important topics you wish to portray through your artwork?
Basically everywhere! Movies, music, books or just everyday life are an endless mine of inspiration. I guess the most important part of the whole creative process is when the ideas are outlined. In my opinion, illustration is not just a beautiful drawing, designed to cover a blank page. It is rather a powerful resource. By means of it, it is possible to convey messages and information on which viewers are free to reflect critically.
What clues might you provide to help viewers understand your art?
If my audience needed clues, it would mean I didn't do my job right! I believe that an illustration should aim to be both original, understandable, and of course visually appealing.
Can you describe your creative process?
My creative process works much the same as a crossword puzzle, whose gaps need to be filled not with words, but with pictures. Just as in the game, multiple words might fit a definition, but in the end only one will turn out to be correct. Similarly, I begin by reading the text carefully and identifying key concepts. Next, I brainstorm about them and imagine possible visual solutions that could adequately represent them. Then, I start sketching all the ideas that came to mind until I find something that works well. Finally, I ask the art director for their feedback and, according to their advice and needs, I finalize the work or, if necessary, rethink the topic for better solutions.
What tools do you use most in your work?
My camera, Photoshop and, of course, my mind are my favorite tools.
How do you re-charge when a difficult assignment nears the deadline?
I try not to overthink it. This usually helps me reduce stress and get back the energy I need to complete the job.
What is your favorite activity when you take a break from the studio?
I don't have a favorite activity, but I always try to spend my breaks away from the screen, maybe visiting an exhibit, taking a walk, or just hanging out with friends.
What would be your dream illustration assignment?
I treat every project as a new and challenging challenge. That's why I always consider what I'm working on as my dream assignment and try to complete it as best I can.