Interview with MiAL Artist Beatriz Sanches
This week’s interview features the talented Beatriz Sanches. A freelance designer, art director and illustrator originally from Brazil. She is fascinated by different places and cultures, having lived in Barcelona for a number of years and now being based in London. She is passionate about telling stories, especially by using design, illustration, type, printmaking, binding, publishing and handmade techniques.
You had quite a few obstacles to tackle before you came to study at LCC, can you tell us a little about them and why you wanted to study here so much?
When I decided to study design I had UAL as my first choice but it was very expensive to come to London and afford both studies and living costs I ended up going to Barcelona, where I did a masters and worked for 2 years, but my London dream wasn’t over yet. I kept following the updates from the schools and 7 years later, I got a scholarship and came to study at LCC.
How did you find your time at LCC and how will you remember it?
When I entered LCC, it was the first time I was able to experience a university just focused on arts. All the environments built to create dialogue, and all the students with the same subject in mind, was something amazing to be part of. The most surprising thing for me at LCC was to realize that we were part of a very big multicultural group, where different people from the most diverse backgrounds had come together sharing the same interest in graphic design, allowing us to learn with and from each other.
You were working as a designer in Barcelona before you came to study in London, did you have to adjust to life in London?
Barcelona is an amazing city, flooded with a great sense of design and aesthetics. From Gaudi’s architecture to small shops’ brand identities. It was the most wonderful experience to be part of this creative scene. Barcelona is a very warm and lively city, London doesn’t have the same luck with the weather! It took some time to adjust to the more reserved and formal ways of British people but London is probably the main cultural centre of Europe. There is this feeling that everything related to art is possible around here. You can be in touch with all the last trends before everyone else. You can go to a different concert or exhibition every day. All these cultural inputs are fantastic and inspiring, you become you eager to be part of it.
How has being in London influenced you as a designer?
As I come from a digital based background, it was at LCC that I first could experience different analogue processes. The workshops were essential for my research. I spent most of my time learning different techniques, especially in print. Screen print, engraving, embossing, letterpress, risograph, were all techniques that I have brought to my personal practice. Also the specialised visual arts library is something that I took full advantage of. The access to special sections, like the zines collection from the 80’s for instance, is something that influenced my work a great deal.
The ‘analogue’ aspect to your work is important to you, have you always loved to draw?
Having worked as art director and designer in the advertising industry, I felt I spent most of my time working on digital based platforms. I suddenly felt the need to develop more handmade and analogical based projects. I also realised that many aspects such as tactile, tangible, D.I.Y., crafts and handmade illustration were being used more frequently by the design community and that these terms started to be firmly debated on specialised media.
It seems to me that the more digital a communication process is, the more it moves away from the readers’ language reality. Whereas analogue methods are usually more unique and so are perceived in a more personal way. There is a personal touch and warmth to something made with analogue tools.
Were your series of postcards in ‘My London for You’ inspired by your experiences in London?
‘My London for You’ was definitely a very personal project. Once in the city, I soon realized that London was much more than what we see on TV, travel guides or Big Ben postal cards. London is massive and yet full of little peculiarities. The book is a collection of what I think being is London is really about: finding small things. I also wanted to make use of the new analogue techniques that I had explored throughout my year in LCC. My intention was to invite people to start exploring London with a fresh view.
What surprised you most about London?
One of the things that impressed me the most is how the city and the citizens keep contact with nature. London is full of green areas, little animals everywhere (the biggest urban population of foxes!), there’s a great use for the canal and its paths. Everything seems to be incorporated into the city and people work to keep it growing, like the community gardens. I really think that is something to be proud of, and I really didn’t expect to see it in a big metropolis such as London.
You are originally from Sao Paulo, what do you miss about life there? Do you think you will be heading home to work as a designer there in the future?
São Paulo is a huge city and there are many things I miss on a daily basis, from yummy pizzas to family and friends! I try to be connected with what is going on in São Paulo and to keep active within the arts scene there. Even from London I keep working for clients in Brazil, collaborating with other artists and projects. Hopefully in the future years I’ll be able to help to broaden the horizons of graphic design and illustration there as well.