One thing is clear: Olimpia Zagnoli doesn’t shy away from color. Her graphic illustrations rely on bold contrasts and dramatic color palettes, attracting clients like Fendi, the Guggenheim Museum, and even the New York subway system.
Like most creative types, she discovered her artistic spirit early on. Born into an artistic family in Milan didn’t hurt either. “I started drawing at a young age; it was a good meditation for me,” she recalled in an interview with The Great Discontent.
“There were so many personalities and egos in the family because we’re all artists, so I needed to find my own space to make. In the beginning, it was the floor in my room where I would lay down and draw and invent stories for hours and hours.”
She quickly outgrew her humble beginning, and since graduating from Istituto Europeo di Design (the European Institute of Design) she’s been hard at work. “I did do some very small works, but at some point, I decided I needed to try getting work somewhere else,” said Zagnoli.
“That’s when I went to New York for the first time. I only had a few contacts in the US and somehow, I got the email of Brian Rea, who was the art director for the New York Times’ Op-Ed at the time. I emailed him, but was sure he wouldn’t respond. He gave me an appointment to come show him my portfolio and that’s how it started.”
Now back in Milan, she drives a Vespa and wears large round glasses – clearly embracing her artistic persona. “Unfortunately, what I do is create images and images don’t literally feed anyone, but perhaps they could feed someone’s eyes, which is a pretty big responsibility for a bunch of lines and colors,” she says. “That’s why I always try to put my heart into my work and preserve my vision without compromising it.”