With their pursed lips, rolling eyes and folded arms, you can almost hear the exasperated sighs of Alessandra Genualdo’s characters through the screen. Largely focussing on women, Alessandra is an expert at capturing the internal world of her subjects, whether they’re showing a moment of vulnerability, contemplation or distinct disapproval.
“The female figure is my main source of inspiration when drawing my characters,” says Alessandra. “The way I portray them sometimes reflects my perception of myself, as well as the women I walk past every day. I try to convey a sense of intimacy in the way the characters are often alone, but also the strength and fragility of these women.”
Originally from the south of Italy, Alessandra moved to London to undertake an illustration MA at the Camberwell College of Arts. “I originally studied graphic design but soon realised working on a computer made me feel detached from what I was making,” says Alessandra. “When I moved to London I started reconnecting with creating things with my hands, drawing in a sketchbook and doing some paintings.” Now settled in Hackney Wick with her dog Kira, she combines her own illustration work with teaching at the Chelsea College of Arts.
Alessandra’s illustrations are hand-painted in gouache with coloured pencil details. She tends to use a limited palette and muted tones, decorative floral patterns and everyday objects. “I am widely influenced by the aesthetic of Ingmar Bergman and Godard’s films and characters,” says Alessandra, “plus Scandinavian interiors and botanical illustrations.”
Alessandra has built quite the following in the fashion world, collaborating with Gucci, Show Studio, Prada Eyewear and Erdem on illustrations inspired by their fashion shows or the patterns and silhouettes of the latest collections. The opportunity first arose after she was picked up by Instagram’s fashion team, which selects and promote creatives whose work staff find interesting. “I have always been inspired by fashion but never considered myself a fashion illustrator, so it was quite a surprise to be contacted for these projects,” she says.
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