Meet Amber Vittoria, a New York-based artist, known for illustrations that redefine the female form. Her figures are brightly colored with physical features such as limbs and hair in sizes, places and colors not typically represented in art. While her bright colors invite you in, the roundness of limbs and location of hair, traditionally unladylike, facilitate conversation around the question, “What does ladylike even mean?”
We sat down with Amber, wearing our Poof Dress in Orange Hibiscus, to talk about how she began illustrating, why her art now takes the form it does and how she thinks about renewal both personally and professionally.
When did you begin to draw and how did you decide to pursue your art full time?
I started coloring, then drawing, when I was around five years old. I loved how I could accurately express my thoughts through art. I studied fine art leading up to college and, for college, I went to Boston University's College of Fine arts to study graphic design. In hindsight, the combination of fine art application and design thinking led me to my style of illustrating. I’ve been working full-time as an illustrator for almost two years now.
How has your work changed over the years? Is there one thing in particular that has always inspired you or are you finding inspiration in new places?
My work has definitely changed with time, but my interest in form has remained the same. I’m inspired by the female form and creating work I could see myself in.
As a relaunch, Coco Shop is interested in the idea of taking something old and making it new again. How does renewal place a role in your work?
In a literal way, being thoughtful with my artistic resources and materials is incredibly important to me. I often swap materials with other artists and reuse as many pens, paints and papers as I can.
Your work is known for its beautiful images that redefine the female form. Renewing common notions of beauty by challenging the status quo is a big and wonderful undertaking. Was this always your goal and where do you hope to take this next?
This slowly presented itself as an important goal. As I went to galleries, museums and shows featuring art, design and advertising, I never felt like I could relate to the women depicted within the art. Moreover, a majority of the work presented was created by men, making it more difficult to even see myself as a professional artist. Because of this, I decided to create work I could see myself in and, with luck, it has evolved from there. In the future, I see my work slowly abstracting, like many artists, to encompass a more inclusive depiction of gender and humanity.
Being an artist demands big and constant creativity. Is there anything that makes you personally feel renewed or refreshed and ready to take on the next project?
I love to travel, even if it is a simple walk outside. That always inspires me. Outside of visiting my family in upstate New York and Boston, my favorite place is New Mexico. White Sands National Monument and Chaco Culture National Historical Park are incredible, especially for stargazing. Second would be Iceland, another breathtaking place to visit. I'm hoping to travel to Seychelles, Morocco and Japan in the next few years as well, which may jumble up my favorites list a bit.