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Get to know the wonderful, Ane Arzelus

This Pride Month, we’re all about uplifting and spotlighting our favourite LGBTQIA+ creatives. To not only give them the platform that they deserve, but to also raise awareness for the communities around us. 

 

We had the great opportunity to collaborate with 3 extremely talented creatives to create our Awesome Pride Pack, which will be available later this week to purchase. In this post we’ve had the opportunity to get to know the talented Ane Arzelus and find out more about her and her creative journey.

 

 

 

 

Who are you and what do you do? 

 

I am an illustrator who’s in love with visual communications. With the effectiveness of editorial illustration and the “less is more” approach of the design world, my pieces aim to communicate ideas and concepts in a witty way. I like using my work to talk about topics that are dear to me, and being a nonbinary bisexual as I am, queerness, feminism and mental health are amongst those topics.

 

How and when did your creative journey begin? 

 

I knew I wanted to be an illustrator since high school, so I pursued a career in Creation and Design which is where my local university provided Illustration studies. Thanks to that I learned about graphic design and that informed the way I understand illustration: as a tool of communication. From there I worked several design jobs until I went full time freelance at the beginning of last year.

 

What made you want to start your own business? 

 

I had been working as an in house designer and illustrator in an advertising agency and I felt like I didn’t have enough time nor energy to produce the things I really wanted to produce. I was lucky enough to publish my first book and got a grant from my local government for it, which made it possible for me to take the risk and leave my day job to focus on my illustration career full time.

 

 

 

What equipment is vital for your business? 

 

All of my work experience has been digital, so my main tools are my computer and some sort of graphic tablet (I currently have a Kamvas display screen that works wonders!). Before jumping into digital, any piece of scrap paper is enough to get the doodling going!

 

What would you say has been your greatest achievement since starting your own business? 

 

Since going full time freelance, I have published two picture books, I have been a finalist in the Bolonia Children’s Book Fair illustration exhibition and have been signed to be represented by two agencies. I am still starting, but I feel like I am taking huge steps in the right direction to establish myself as a stable illustrator!

 

What’s your favourite project that you’ve worked on? 

 

Definitely my first picture book, being the passion project that it was for me. It’s a book about the etymology of the basque language (my mother tongue), illustrated with conceptual illustrations that show the contrast between the meaning and the etymology. The second book, which was on breast cancer, is also a super dear project of mine. 

 

Are there any other makers that you look up to / gain inspiration from? 

 

Oh, we don’t have enough space to fit them all in here! I gain lots of inspiration from conceptual creatives such as Eva Vázquez, Victo Ngai, Javier Jaen… Graphic illustrators such as William Santiago (rip), Adamastor Studio, Gosia Herba, Tania Yakunova… Classic artists such as Tamara de Lempicka (fellow bisexual!), Alphonse Mucha, Leyendecker… The list goes on and on!

 

What would be your dream project? If you could work with anyone, anywhere in the world. 

 

Honestly? I have been reeeeeally itching to illustrate any kind of book on a feminist revision of classical myths and female mythological creatures! I don’t know who I’d like to collaborate on this one, but any kind of feminist writer knowledgeable in gender theory and a sense of humour would be the PERFECT match for me. If you know someone like that, do send them my way hahaha

 

If you could give any other people any tips for starting your own business what would they be? 

 

Be extremely patient. Turning your passion into your profession means you are turning it into your primary income source, and that’s a very stressful thing to do and a lot of pressure. Fight the imposter syndrome that will make you question if your art is good enough when business is not going super well – it’s not your work’s fault, it’s a very difficult and competitive market out there! It’s important to be patient, set goals and work towards them. It will get rolling. Be patient, and always have savings for the lows of freelance life.

 

 

How do you feel to be a part of the LGBTQ+ Community? 

 

It is an integral part of myself and the way I view the world. I am an extremely open and proud queer person, and I love all the questions that being in the community generates around gender, sexuality, identity, what is “normal” and why it’s worth challenging. I have been very lucky to have the community be a very safe space for me and the people that surround me are brilliant, empathetic and kind. It’s been very liberating on a personal level.

 

Why is pride important to you?

 

My piece for the Awesome Pride Pack plays on the concept of “Pride” being a capital sin in our christian culture, and proclaims it as a capital virtue. I aimed to reclaim all the negative experiences us queer folk have gone through with a witty play on words, using the concept of “Pride” in its queerest sense. It is important to me, on a personal level, to be able to feel empowered by our queer identities despite the oppression they carry and the shame they have made us feel. The issue is not within us, it’s with society towards us. Which honestly sounds like a “you” problem to me, and I choose to embrace myself and be proud of who I am.

 

 

What is Awesome to you?

 

Choosing to be kind. Communication. Comfort food. Cats. Naps. Letting small things make you happy. Having a community that supports and understands you. There are so many Awesome things out there!

 

We’re really thankful to Ane for the time taken to collaborate with us on both this interview and our Pride Pack. 

Check out here instagram here

 

 

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