The Beauty Is In The Details — Interview With Christina Gliha

The Beauty Is In The Details — Interview With Christina Gliha

The Beauty Is In The Details — Interview With Christina Gliha

If we could take a trip with any illustrator, we’d love to travel with Christina Gliha! Not only because she is a fun-loving, meticulous planner, but also because her appreciation of the quotidian aspects of life brings joy and extraordinary perspectives. A unique amalgam of the nostalgic and the modern, Christina’s work is nothing short of exquisite and inspirational, inviting viewers to experience the world with an eye to enjoy every detail. Here, the Toronto-based illustrator shares how growing up in a renovated old Victorian house influenced her style and her upcoming creative adventure in a beautiful chateau. She also takes us on a visual tour of her studio covered with paints, fresh flowers and candies in colourful packaging!



AWW: What do you want to explore and bring to people through your work?

Christina Gliha: The joys of life. Noticing, appreciating, and savouring the quotidian aspects of life. Charles and Ray Eames once said, “The details are not the details. They make the design.” That is how I see everything that surrounds me. I want to celebrate the beauty and details in the ordinary and extraordinary in equal measure.



AWW: How did you find your passion for illustration and develop your current style?

Christina: I have always been someone that creates art since I was a child. It's a part of everything I do — be it writing a letter, decorating a room, getting dressed or wrapping a gift. I spent all of my spare time drawing, and my bedroom wall as a 10-year-old was covered in portraits of family, friends, and fashion croquis.

My artistically inclined and encouraging parents came from Europe and arrived in North America truly embracing the ‘80s aesthetic, so I grew up in a very cool, modern house that my father and step-mother designed within an old renovated Victorian home in Toronto. This contrast of pairing old and new fascinated me. In my fully ‘80s preppy and new wave neon outfits, I trolled local antique markets for art, pocket watches and old travel and beauty ephemera. I was then, and am still, very obsessed with antiques and vintage packaging and incorporate these nostalgic cues into my work by referencing Georgian, Art Deco and ‘60s colour palettes and typography. This unique pastiche of influences results in a tension between the modern and the nostalgic in my work.



AWW: Can you walk us through your creative process?

Christina: I deeply love the research phase of any endeavour. To illustrate this in another vein, I'm the person who has meticulously read about and planned every restaurant, art gallery, park and shop before I even step foot in the holiday destination. This joy for planning and detail extends to my work as well. I start by surveying the competitive landscape, using the product or service myself, doing tons of visual research and sketching, and then I synthesise that information into a unique perspective that a client's brand can present. In my personal work, it comes down to imbuing the piece with my love of the subject.



AWW: How do you stay motivated?

Christina: I stay motivated by endlessly seeking out newness. This comes pretty naturally to me. I just look for new experiences, ideas, places and people, while at the same time I always try to challenge my own belief systems and assumptions about those things. This curiosity keeps one young, open-minded and flexible. I think if you want to create something interesting as an artist, you have to be interested in life. The world is a treasure trove and there's no shortage of amazing things to be inspired by. The key is to pay attention to what subjects ignite a spark in you. Take notes, take photos, and create a little curio cabinet in your mind that you can draw upon anytime.



AWW: Can you show us your studio or work desk? What are the 3 things that have inspired you most?

Christina: My huge desk is covered with paints, brushes, sketchbooks, artbooks, products from clients, all kinds of candy in beautiful packaging and fresh flowers. I love to be surrounded by inspiring things and really favour this maximalist approach versus the austere mandate of many corporate environments I’ve worked in before. Whenever I feel blah, I will deliberately wear something joyful to snap me out of it or I’ll eat some fruits, crudités, or chocolate or go for a walk in nature. I also make a point of hanging my own work around me, so that I feel good about what I’ve accomplished and to motivate me to make more. Besides, having my puppy Birdie near me at all times provides endless joy and comforting hugs.

In the spring, I’m going to do a three-week painting residency in a beautiful chateau in France. I often have a fantasy that I could work uninterrupted for a long period without the need to run errands, eat or sleep so that I could just ride the wave of my flow state. Being in a magnificent and historic environment will provide an anchor and open my mind as well. I will be sharing a space with other fine artists for the first time since being in art school and I look forward to what that creative ricochet effect will bring to my work.




To find out more about Christina Gliha, please visit the artist’s IG account | @christinaglihaillustration
All images provided by Christina Gliha.


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