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My inspirations: Pietari Posti

Pietari Posti created this season’s cover illustration for SHOP Milan. Posti’s elegant, expressive and colourful artwork has previously been commissioned by Omega, American Express and the New York Times among others. We speak to him about his early influences, where he gets his inspiration and what his dream commission would be.

Feature

by Dorcas Brown

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Pietari Posti Portrait

Photograph: Pietari Posti

Pietari Posti Portrait

When did you know you wanted to be an illustrator?
I’ve been drawing since I can remember. Comics such as Asterix and Tintin were my first inspiration, but until I started to study graphic design I didn’t know anything about modern illustration. During my studies it came clearer and clearer that illustration was my thing.

Where do the ideas for your illustrations come from?
As I said above, comics have always been a huge influence on me. Part of my daily routine is looking at fine art, illustration and design blogs, and I love to visit exhibitions and galleries when I get a chance – luckily Barcelona, where I live, has a great selection of museums and galleries. In general I need something visual to stimulate my mind and get inspired.

Which materials do you prefer to work with and why? Do you have a favourite pen or paper?
I love pencil and paper, but because of my hectic schedule I prefer drawing with a tablet computer, a 21-inch Wacom Cintiq to be exact. When I do personal projects or sketching, my favourite tool is my Pentel brush pen.

What attracted you to where you are based? Do you think it’s influenced your style?
I’ve been living in Barcelona for the past seven years and really love the city. I don’t think it has influenced my style directly, but the rhythm of life and sun gives me a lot of energy and helps on those hard days.

Do you have any great memories of visiting Milan?
I can’t say I know Milan well. I’ve changed trains there and taken a quick walk around the railway station, which is very impressive. I’m looking forward to going there with more time to explore.

Where did you start when designing the cover for SHOP Milan?
I did lots of research on peacocks and looked at Milan street photos. After that I did a couple of loose sketches based on the reference photos of Milan and peacock feathers. After the sketch was approved I did the final illustration – which was actually quite close to the original sketch.

Did it turn out as you expected?
Yes, I’m really happy with it. The biggest challenge is to try to maintain the same energy and looseness as in the sketch; you don’t want to lose the movement and flow of that in the final illustration. The best part was probably the research work; I was hugely influenced by one of Elvis’s peacock show costumes.

What should SHOP readers not miss when they visit Milan or your home town?
If you come to Barcelona, take a walk along Passeig de Gràcia. There are a lot of shops; one of my favourites is Vinçon design store at the end of the street. Its shopping bags, which have been illustrated by names such as Javier Mariscal and many other well-known designers, are collectors’ items. Vinçon is just next door to Gaudì’s famous apartment building La Pedrera. Further down you can find another Gaudì building, the beautiful Casa Batlló, and a beautiful Apple store which has just opened.

What five items will you never travel without?
Phillips electric shaver, Nexus tablet, dental floss, headphones and an extra bag for dirty laundry. I try to keep clean underwear in my bag always.

And finally, what would be your dream commission?
I would love to collaborate with a big fashion house on, say, patterns to be printed on to bags and clothes. Prada, are you listening?

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