Born in Milan, where she later studied illustration, Anna Parini eventually moved to New York to pursue a career in editorial artwork. “On the three-year course I attended, it was an area that was hardly considered a possible profession because, in Italy at that time, there were few who dedicated themselves exclusively to it,” she says of her time in education.
As time went on, more and more success stories from this side of the industry began to emerge. One of which, had a profound impact on Anna: “I remember coming across an interview with Alessandro Gottardo, aka Shout, in which he spoke of conceptual illustration and how he started his collaboration with the US’s leading newspapers and publications,” she tells It’s Nice That. “I immediately wrote to him and asked for advice. He became my mentor and it’s with thanks to him that I was able to take my first steps in a world that was completely unknown to me back then.”
Guided by Alessandro, Anna moved across the world to New York, where her illustration career would soon begin to flourish, defying the attitude she experienced at university. Influenced also by intellectual, black and white, socio-political drawings, “like the ones published in the Op-Ed section of The New York Times”, she strove to create equally stimulating and challenging imagery. “I was drawn by the smart use of metaphor,” she explains to It’s Nice That, “the intelligent, challenging imagery and the authorial power an illustration could have.”
Using this initiative, Anna gives the illustrations that provided her initial inspiration a contemporary twist. Where her earlier editorial focused illustration “was an attempt to replicate that kind of thinking and heavy conceptual approach,” now the illustrator has found her stride, combining “those early influences combined with a pop, ironic, colourful and more modern aesthetic.”
Coupled with her boundless insight and vision, it’s a style that can not only counter darker topics with lighthearted visuals to make them feel accessible, but can also tackle complex ones with effortless ease. It also comes at no surprise that Anna illustrated her first New Yorker cover recently, and we only expect to see magazine shelves full of her illustrations in the months and years to come.
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