a few questions for Chiara Pasqualotto
What is your favorite illustration in The Suitcase, and why did you like painting it?
I especially love the one with the tablecloth and feathers, because I think it leaves the reader a free imagination beyond the words of the text. I also have a neat memory about the moment I was painting it: I got bad news about a close person who passed away. I remember I was painting the blue of the sky. I went out to the terrace and I looked up at the real sky; it was the same blue.
You live in Rome! What is it like living there, and being an artist in Italy?
As you can imagine, this city is very stimulating for its art richness and architectural beauties, especially relative to ancient art. There are so many interesting places to discover that time is never enough! Unfortunately, there is not a good policy for art and culture in this country, for example only biggest museums are well kept, and lots of beautiful places are neglected and forgotten. Being an artist is not easy: as art and culture are not considered so relevant, and it is not easy to find good jobs and commissions.
What is your favorite kind of gelato?
Ahah! I do not like gelato so much, it makes me cold! :) I eat it only a couple of times in the summer when it is very hot, and in that case I get blackberry and lemon. Or hazelnut and black chocolate.
How long have you been illustrating children’s books?
I was in the high school when I started illustration, and I wanted to go to an art school afterwards, but finally I went to university instead! As a professional illustrator, it is more or less 10 years since I’ve been illustrating. I have published mainly with English speaking publishers: my first book was for Boxer Books in 2009 and then I made some books for Oxford University Press. Now I am working quite a lot with American publishers.
What did you like best about The Suitcase?
I like that Thomas is sweet and kind and thinks of other people while he puts all the objects in the suitcase. He is really connected to his family and also the community. I think you can really see this in the last illustration of the book, when he is in the happy atmosphere of the community meal.
Do you listen to music when you’re making art?
Yes, I do! I sometimes turn it very loud and get lost in it! But I sometimes also like to be in total silence. It depends on what I am doing: if I am planning the illustration, or doing the storyboard, for example, I need silence. I sometimes would like to live in the countryside because I need concentration, and do not like the noise of the city.
Do you have any advice for young artists?
Yes, keep on fighting for your passion, despite the difficulties you will run into!