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Olimpia Zagnoli’s “Heartfelt” | The New Yorker

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This week’s cover, a tribute to Pride Month, was done by the artist Olimpia Zagnoli, and marks her first appearance at the front of the magazine. Zagnoli lives in Milan, and her work tends to feature vibrant color and a playful sense of shape. We recently talked to her about that style, and about how she came to some of her central themes.

When did you start drawing? Was it your dream as a child?

I’ve enjoyed making marks on paper for a really long time. Both my parents are artists, and as a child I would always have a pencil with me—or a wooden stick to write my name in the sand, or one of my mom’s lipsticks to trace a face in the mirror. That impulse hasn’t left me. I doodle when I’m on the phone, I try all the pens at Muji, and if a restaurant has paper placemats then I’m a happy camper.

How did you arrive at your style of bold colors and flat shapes?

I wasn’t looking for a specific style. I just tried to find a language that would be a good synthesis of all the things I love, an approach that would feel comfortable. I’m quite introverted, so I always find it easier to communicate through images than through words. I’ve chosen a vocabulary of shapes and colors that hopefully resonate with people. Meanwhile, I’ll be in my Milan apartment, sipping a glass of Cedrata Tassoni, being a snob.

You’ve also designed plates and clothing. What other mediums interest you?

I’m interested in almost all mediums. Even a cheese wheel can be fascinating! A client just sent me photos of some drawings of mine that have been transferred onto the froth of a cappuccino. Every surface has its peculiarity.

You often present images of strong women. Why is that important to you, as a theme?

My job is to interpret what I see and translate it into images that evoke not only the subject but also the culture around it. Drawing two women kissing as colorful, strong, unapologetic, and free individuals is my way of contributing to a more honest representation of people, in the media.

See below for other covers that celebrate gay pride:



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