EXCLUSIVE: Our Interview with Alessia Landi

Photos courtesy of Alessia Landi Alessia Landi: scientist by day; fashion blogger, illustrator and photographer by night. What a multi-ta...

Photos courtesy of Alessia Landi

Alessia Landi: scientist by day; fashion blogger, illustrator and photographer by night.
What a multi-talented lady!

Read on for our exclusive interview with her!

Hi Alessia! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Uhmmm… Well, I am just an Italian girl that moved to Belgium to pursue her scientific career as a researcher in Molecular and Cell Biology (at the moment I’m doing my PhD in Molecular Virology: I work in an HIV lab) but still doesn’t know where she wants to be and what she wants to do in the future… Surely she knows very well a few things: she loves fashion, music, art, drawing, science, her boyfriend and has a passion for cats. And an insane fixation with Japan.

Oh, and I’m constantly on a diet! And usually without much success… This is something really important to know about me haha.

Where do you get your ideas and inspirations from?
I am a real observer so I usually get inspirations from basically everywhere around me. I usually get a lot of power from music and memories of my past. When I draw sometimes I can even be pushed by a particular smell or taste, a glimpse of life in the streets, the feeling I have when I’m on a plane alone between Belgium and Italy and don’t understand very well which of the two is my home.

I am still looking for a personal, signature illustration style so I browse a lot through art works and other illustrators to see what has already been done and what kind of styles I like the most. And since I do fashion drawings I try to keep really up to date with runway shows and trends. I really don’t want to calculate how much I spend in fashion magazines or I’ll faint!

My most recent wave of inspiration came from the visit of Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam (you have to go there!) and the discovery of Daniel Egnéus work.

What do you have to tell from your illustrations and paintings?
This is difficult to say, probably because I’m still on the search for my own style. I’d like to express a sense of beauty and glamour and to convey the emotions and the inspiration I have while drawing, but I don’t know if I’m doing it right ahah! My goal would be to get to a point in which who sees my drawings actually “feels” something. I put a lot of energy in them, so I’d like this energy to come out of the paper somehow and communicate a sense of style, a taste, an idea of beauty and probably a bit of my own personality and tastes too… It’s really difficult and I think I have to wait until I am a more matured illustrator until I actually manage to do something like this.

You are a full-time scientist but have ventured into painting, photography and blogging. How on earth do you manage everything?
Oh I hoped you had an answer for this, because frankly I don’t know! :D
Let’s say that I started to draw again around one year ago (I started almost before learning how to speak and stopped at around 18 for many reasons) because I felt the powerful, compelling and almost physical need of doing it. So even if I’m tired and maybe I’ve spent 12 hours at work on some experiment that didn’t work for the 10th time, I will probably still find a moment to draw or write something for the blog. If I have the inspiration I might go to bed at 3 AM just to finish that particular drawing (and very often then at 7 AM, when it’s time to wake up, I risk not to hear the three alarms I keep by the bed haha).

Surely I’d like to do have more time to draw and paint, especially because I still have a lot to learn. I would also like to be able to post everyday on the blog but as things are now it’s just not possible :-(

For photography, I’m so sorry not to have the possibility to spend more time on it: I leave home when it’s dark and come back way after sunset most part of the year. But I like to exercise a lot during my trips (especially to Italy and Amsterdam, where my boyfriend lives for the moment). I also attended Paris Fashion Week recently. It’s an incredibly inspiring environment and one of the best occasions to play with the camera!

Of course this kind of routine is really tiring, especially when I have also to compose collages or translate long-text posts into Italian for the blog. Sometimes I think that if the passion to do it is so big then I should do it as a job. But on the other hand, the strength to go to the lab on a Sunday if an experiment requires it, or the happiness for a (even if tiny) scientific achievement or result still make me believe that I love to be a researcher. I feel divided in two, probably one day I’ll become schizophrenic! But I know that one day I’ll have to choose. Right now I just want to live day by day through it: for exhausting as it can be, it’s still what I am right now.

If you could only work with one colour, which one would it be?
Red, of course! I love it in watercolor and in ink, it can acquire different shades depending on the amount of water and the technique you use, but I also like the more creamy textures of oil-based paints: when I was a teen I used to work a lot with oil pastels and oil paint, and I always added at least a red element to my paintings. It’s also the colour that attracts me the most in other artists’ work.

Where is the one place on the planet you have dreamed of visiting?
Japan! And I was lucky enough to have the chance to go there two and a half years ago. I hope to go there again very soon. If I could have the chance to go to Tokyo Fashion Week I could die happy, seriously.

What would you do if you've won a million dollars?
Uh, that’s a tricky one. I don’t want to think about it too much, so right now on a whim I’d say that I’d use half of them to auto-fund my research and the one of my colleagues on HIV, in order to be free to explore things as we’d like to and not how pharmaceutical companies or government (or even our boss haha) would. I’d consider it a donation to research! :D

With the other half I’d buy myself a wonderful bag (probably a Givenchy Antigona bag or one from Céline), a nice statement necklace (finally something very cool, like Shourouk or Tom Binns… No wait, Tom Binns is still too expensive!), I’d leave for a nice travel with my boyfriend, I’d make a gift to my family and I’d put the rest (not so much remaining, I guess) aside to… I don’t know, maybe be to survive for a few months in case I decide to pursue the (difficult and not very rich) road of the illustrator, or maybe buy a house one day. I wouldn’t buy one immediately because I still don’t know where I want to live after Belgium, and how long I’ll stay there. Probably I’ll settle only when I’ll be 60 (my boyfriend is not that happy about this though)!

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