Don’t call her artist. Eleonora Treppiedi, aka Elenoiret, is a graphic designer and illustrator from Palermo. She studied design of visual and multimedia communication in Venice at IUAV. During that period, she discovered her passion for this field even if visual language had always been one of her primary interests. Sicilian Secrets interviewed her for you.
Q: How did you begin your career as an illustrator?
A: Greek and Latin art had inspired me when I was at high school, but then I decided to study Industrial design to give a chance to my creativity. Thanks to the Master of Science in design of visual and multimedia communication at IUAV in Venice, I literally fell in love with the art of illustration even if I can say that visual language had always been one of the primary interests of Elenoiret, maybe because I was born in a colorful land – in Sicily. It’s a place that I like to describe through my illustrations.
Q: For Elenoiret, where does the inspiration come from?
A: Often people think that those who do this job have some random inspiring moments in which you can solve any problem. Actually, most of the times this is not true. Behind each illustration there are both a long study and an accurate research. Inspiration is not in what surrounds you but in how you see whatever is around you, in your personal way.
Q: What are your favorite subjects? Is there an author, maybe a cartoonist, that you feel close to your style?
A: The illustrations by Elenoiret represent mainly women with their strengths and weaknesses. I prefer them because I want to underline their value but also because as a girl, I’m pretty good in being empathic and feeling what they feel. Moreover, another ‘protagonist’ of my illustrations is the bond I have with my homeland. I like to tell its traditions and language through colors, shapes and common sayings.
Among the contemporary illustrators, the ones that in a certain way influence my style are Olimpia Zagnoli and Malika Favre, two real champions of the art of illustration. I appreciate their essential language and how they match colors and graphic composition.
Q: How do you express your ‘sicilianity’ through your work?
A: Sicilianity, being Sicilian, is a part of me so is often present in my illustrations. Sometimes it is very clear, other times there are just some references. I dedicated a series of illustrations to some traditional elements of my land, another one to some regional common sayings that I tried to translate through images, to make them immediately explicit and understandable. I strongly believe that our hometown characterizes our personality and who we are and leaves a cultural and traditional background that cannot be ignored during every creative process.
Q: Elenoiret and Sicily, what is your relationship?
A: I would say that my relationship with Sicily is Odi et amo. Some years ago, I couldn’t wait to leave because sometimes the idea to live on an island makes you feel isolated. But I believe that right in this separation I found the magic of this land that was able to save a little bit of all traditions and cultures that passed through over the centuries. Nowadays I live and accept 100% the contrasts of this unique place and over the years I learnt how to take advantage of its contradictions and turn them into one of the strengths of my job.
Q: Who’s your ideal customer? You have many followers on Instagram…what’s your ‘secret’ to be so successful?
A: I turned the Instagram profile of Elenoiret into my virtual portfolio and discovered that through my illustrations I can ‘give a face’ to some thoughts and shared emotions. I currently work with some spare customers, but my aspiration is to illustrate for publishing companies or for apparel industry.
I don’t have a secret to reach so many people. Over the years at university and during my professional life, I understood that it’s fundamental to find a personal style to be recognizable. So, it’s important to know your field, to study some ‘tricks’ and learn the rules that then you can break!
Q: What’s a result that made you truly proud of yourself?
A: Positive feedbacks really gratify me; at the beginning it was unexpected because I didn’t think to reach so many people with my illustrations. And every time I post a new one, I’m always surprised by the feedback I get.
Q: Look forward: where will you be in 5 years?
A: I’m not good in looking forward and making plans, but I hope to improve my skills in this job and make it my main activity. The present is full of uncertainties, so I prefer to go on step by step and enjoy the moment.