Who is Clara Ilena and what do you do?*
Officially I am a Graphic Designer but secretly I prefere the term “Artist”. I try to create work that goes beyond the normal requirements of a Graphic Designer and create works of art instead. I also am slightly obsessive when it comes to acquiring knowledge. I’m going back to university next year to study digital / multimedia design simply because I find it fascinating that in a world where we know so much and have done so much, the digital realm is still relatively unexplored. I love taking risks and rarely have a fear for failing.
How would you define your style or art?
Recently I’ve developed a personal brand / style titled “Welcome the Wilderness” which focuses on a personal metaphor for creativity (I had to find a way to explain creativity to my largely uncreative family)
Creativity is like living with a wild animal in your house.
When you call on it, it won’t come.
When you try and force it it will bite you and hide for days after.
It takes work and a lot of trickery to coexist with it.
The only real way to live with this wild animal, is to feed it.
Who knows you might become friends and that,
has been said to be one of the greatest rewards ever.
I grew up on a game farm in Namibia so this ‘definition’ made the most sense to me and as a brand it just worked perfectly with my love of portraying wildlife. Welcome the Wilderness is still in it’s early stages but it is already moving towards the mysticism of the natural world. I believe there is more to nature than meets the eye and I want to portray that through my work.
What are you currently working on?
Patterns. It sounds silly, but when i went country hopping in Europe earlier this year I picked up on a trend that’s slowly developing over there which involved a lot of native american / mexican patterns. Since Africa is king of the pattern I couldn’t just let them get away with it. I had to counter the trend with my own mix of African pattern designs.
What advice would you give young creatives looking to do what you do?
Don’t stop experimenting. Seriously, everybody was young once, everybody had to develop their style over time simply by doing. Even if it’s the same thing over and over and over again. If you don’t believe me go to the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. Even someone as great as him started out doing what everybody else was doing at the time – and his work was pretty average back then. It’s only after a lot of experimentation he developed his own style, which was not only brilliant but also completely unique.
Where can our readers follow your work?
I have a tumblr portfolio but my favorite stuff goes on Behance.