At Outlier, we love telling the stories of creative women who go out and make things happen for themselves. But sometimes, the women we admire most are located oceans away, which makes it pretty hard to document them face-to-face.
That’s why we’re launching Fast Five, a mini Q&A interview series with some of our fav female-identifying movers and shakers from around the world. It’s like the usual Outlier features you know and love, but in a quick and tasty snack size.
Illustrator Amber Vittoria is taking back the female form.
It‘s not something you‘d necessarily expect from a self-described lover of fashion, an industry notorious for its extremely narrow view of what constitutes the ‘perfect‘ body.
But through her simple and colourful illustrations, New York-based Vittoria quietly challenges the traditional idea of femaleness. Featuring rounded forms, body hair and exaggerated limbs, Vittoria’s work both celebrates the power of women and sparks a conversation around what it means to be one, particularly in a post-Trump world.
Working full-time as a digital designer at Avon by day, Vittoria‘s downtime devotion to illustration makes her the personification of the side hustle. And it‘s paid off handsomely: she counts publications like Lenny Letter, Refinery 29 and Teen Vogue among her growing credits, and has also had her work featured on renowned design blog Its Nice That—which, as any illustrator can attest, is high praise indeed.
Vittoria‘s passion also extends to fundraising projects, having worked in collaboration with various other artists to create and sell charity pins (we LOVE the Product of Immigration pin, which gives all profits to the American Civil Liberties Union). It‘s just another manifestation of Vittoria‘s clear annoyance with the current state of the United States in particular—as is her vocal Twitter presence—and it couldn‘t make us like her any more if we tried.
With all that in mind, we asked Vittoria five quick questions about her practice and career.
1. How did you get your start as an illustrator?
Attending Boston University‘s College of Fine Arts program, I was immersed into painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture in addition to my design major. Because of this, the integration of design thinking and drawing came together to create my passion for illustration.
And as for how I began to get clients, I cold-emailed publications I loved.
2. Is your illustration style a conscious evolution?
The development of my style is a combination of a conscious and subconscious evolution; certain elements, such as the facial features, have always lived in my sketchbooks, whilst the progression of my linework has been more of a front-of-mind experiment.
3. How do you think being a woman has influenced your style and career in general?
Women influence my style and the content of my pieces; the volition to break the stereotype of a woman and the female form has had a major impact on my career and trajectory.
4. How do you overcome self-doubt around your career or your work?
When I‘m not feeling confident about a piece in progress, I try to examine what about the piece isn‘t working—if I can edit or redo it for it to work, or if the insecurity is driven by my current state of mind. If the former I make the change, and if the latter, I walk away or go outside to take a break from the piece.
5. What advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue a creative career?
Allow yourself the confidence to experiment, the will to share, the strength to fail and the open-mindedness to learn.
Image credit: David Zhang. Illustrations by Joana Partyka.