Claudia Toran – a name you’ll know quite well after this interview. Having studied Fine Arts at UPV and Leeds University you’re currently living in London as a freelance illustrator, how have you found the transition between education and work?
I’m still in this transition. I finished my Masters last June, so although I’ve been working in illustration with comissioned works and projects from about 5 years ago, it is less than one year that I started to understand that this could actually be my profession.
Like every start, I’m finding it hard and so exciting at the same time. To me is being a bit hardest because I was clear that I wanted to move to London, and the standard of living is so high here.
I came with all my savings and even that I’ve needed to work a lot here, serving food and cleaning dishes, to pay my studio and find time to dedicate to illustration. Combine these two things has probably been the most complicated. But when you know that it is your objective and it is what you want to do, you find time anywhere, and all the sacrifices worth it.
As an Art Curator at Espacio Inestable and coordinator of Inestablilizarte Project, you clearly focus your work on illustration. How have you found these two projects to act as positives in your work?
Espacio Inestable has been a good opportunity to me. I was in my second year of Uni when they proposed me to be Art Curator…I thought: Oh my God! Are you sure? But I understood that what they were looking for it was someone close to the artistic concerns of students; illustration, street art, fanzines, someone young…and I was so young.
Altough now I’m a bit more unlinked of the project, because the distance makes more difficult everything releated with activities and exhibitions organisation; I really enjoy this work, I’ve got the opportunity of meeting many interesting people and be close to the work of other artists and also actors.
A part of the exhibition project Espacio Inestable it is a contemporary theatre, so all this art enviroment has always been positive and inspiring to me.
Souvenir – talk to us about the process of this project and how it came about? Beautiful project that explores your usage of characters and bold colour.
I really enjoyed that Project! It was absolutely free. They just asked me to do a personal interpretation of Valencia, an alternative souvenir of the city. I was already in London when they propossed it to me, so my personal vision of my lovely city it was even more nostalgic. From distance I guess it was more easy to me to work on it.
Also I don’t know if I was hungry that day or what happened but I remember that the idea came so fast, I tought instantly on food. I thought in dedicate my souvenir to mediterranean gastronomy, probably one of the things that I miss the most.
The process was fun; I wanted to improvise and experiment. I had drawn a lot of food, different people eating and enjoying life. Then I started building this kind of lighthearted, festive and timeless scene. I think food is very important in spanish culture, it makes us socialize and makes us happy. I tought in the idea of many different characters interacting around the subject of food.
I wanted the composition to be so colourful, naive and painterly.
How do you find Spain receives your illustration work?
I’m not too sure…it is my home, so I always feel like home. I had some really cool comissions from people I admire and I participated in many projects, publications, festivals…and that’s always so gratifying.
Valencia is a city with a lot of movement, there is many talented people and illustrators and we all know each other; we are always doing things. Now that I’m here, I can say that I’m quite happy with the feedback I’m getting in London, because they don’t know me and it is nice to hear good reviews and see that there is people interested in your work.
Anyway both in Spain and London I can’t complain about the feedback, they contact me for many projects, but being honest it would be good these nice feedbacks to be transformed in more paid work.
If you were to pick three objects out of your working studio, which would they be and why?
A pencil, a piece of paper and scissors. Rock-paper-scissors (I’m quite basic in terms of materials to do things and have fun – I don’t need much)
When not illustrating, what are you other passions and interests?
I love music, I think it is probably my biggest passion after art, or in the same level. It’s one of the most important things to me. So everything releated with music is always a pleasure, whether it be listening to music, collecting music, see people playing music. And that’s something I can easily find in London. It is great!
Something I love and I can not find here is the beach, the sea. I realised how much I need it and I miss it. And probably my favourite hobby, something I try to do always that I can is travelling. I could spend all my money and all my life travelling!
What is next for Claudia Toran?
I have few exciting projects at the moment…I’m collaborationg with a publication, as well as creating product work, and editorials for a really cool magazine. I will start showing things soon.
And what I would like to be next. Just carry on with some projects and comissions, work with a band maybe and with time and luck publishing my own book.
We aim to keep an eye on Claudia and what she applies her characters and bold illustrations to next! Make sure you check out her website for a whole lot of goodness…