Sometimes creativity thrives best under limitations. “I usually get overwhelmed by the variety of colour choices I can make so telling myself I can only use, let’s say, five colours at a time makes my work easier and decisions quicker,” Vilnius-based illustrator Kissi Ussuki tells It’s Nice That. “I don’t really know how to explain my love for pink, it’s just a very uplifting colour and I really loved the pink shade of acrylic paint when I was choosing those first paint bottles at a local store.”
Focusing on big shapes, flat colour and off-kilter portraits, Kissi’s work often draws on humorous moments with women, either with a touch of humour or swag. “When I do my personal projects, which is the best thing in the world because I just get to sit and paint and relax, the process is quite spontaneous,” says Kissi. “I either choose the colours I want to work with and just draw whatever that comes into my head at that particular moment, or I refer to some older sketches I made before and just pick out the ideas I like.”
The self-taught illustrator started on a more “serious career” studying English philology, relegating art to a hobby. “I soon realised that this was not the right path for me and when I didn’t go to a second job interview at a translation office, I bought pink, purple and turquoise acrylic paint instead.”
Now armed with more than three paint bottles and a host of international clients, Kissi splits her time between editorial illustrations, record covers and personal work. A recent project for Sun365 Juices tasked her with illustrating the cover of the brand’s newspaper, combining sunset hues with illustrations of health food – quite different to her normal portraiture-focused work. “The colour palette ended up being one of my all time favourites so I come back to it in my other drawings too and now I’m way more into drawing meals and snacks! I like it when people can laugh, relate and find details of their daily lives in my drawings. Or just get their eyes tickled by the colour combinations I use.”
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