Our second artist spotlight is the lovely Silvia Raga, a cut-paper illustrator, graphic designer, blogger and crafter from Italy. She does a wide range of work. Silvia creates illustrations for various publications, teaches workshops, publishes children's books, makes stop-motion videos and even runs her own stationery line, Gusto Menta. After friending each other on Instagram for a few years now, I was so excited to have a conversation with Silvia to get a glimpse of her work and life in Italy.

 1. Where did you grow up, and how did it influence your journey to becoming the artist you are today? 

I grew up in Italy, near Milano, where I took illustration courses and started working as a freelance illustrator. Milan is a very exciting, trend-setting global city. You can breathe good interior design, beauty, fashion and ideas. It is known as the city of "work". This has been very inspiring in building my career because I have always been led to make and try new things.

But there are other things that have been very important for my training and growth which were my summers in Sardinia. This beautiful island was where my dad was born and raised. It was also where he married my mom, who is from Milan. My sensibility with color is influenced by the colors of Sardinia and its amazing sea. My favorite color, mint, represents the color of the water of that sea! Milan taught me how to do my job well and Sardinia taught me to love nature. These two things are my constant source of inspiration.

2. Where are some places you like to visit in Italy for inspiration?

Yes, of course! Italy is a peninsula, and I'm fascinated by all the little beautiful islands like Ponza, Capri, Ischia and all the the other small towns and cities by the sea. I like to visit botanical gardens and city parks, too. All these places make me feel serene and help me to get in touch with myself and my inwardness.
3. Congratulations on your beautiful new stationery line, Gusto Menta! How did it come to be called Gusto Menta and what does it mean?

Gusto Menta sounds like "Mint Taste". When Federica, who is the co-founder of the brand, and I, were thinking about names for our line, we thought about the colors we loved most. It also had to be representative of our concept, "vintage". Then we thought of what is recognizable as an Italian product, and we were immediately drawn to gelatos. So Gusto Menta, Mint Taste, is a play on words that combine these two ideas!
4. You've done all kinds of work–cut paper illustrations, children's books, workshops, blogging, packaging, stationery, stop-motion videos, etc. Is there a "dream" project you would like to do next?

Yes!! There is another product I would like to do, which I think would be meaningful. And that's a book with my creative projects! :)

5. What does a typical day look like for you?

My dream typical day would involve drawing or folding papers all day. No phone. No social network! :-P
In reality my daily journey always include my family (I'm a single mom of two children) and work: illustrations, blogging, paper projects, etc. I always think that I would want to dedicate more hours for my creativity, but sometimes it is not enough to "do things." You also need time for planning, phone calls, emails...

6. What does your studio look like and what is your view while you work?

My studio is a room full of light, pretty objects, different kinds of paper, and most importantly, full of thoughts! Some become a reality, and some are still waiting to become something... My view is always in front of my Mac or on my work table.
7. If you had to do any other career, what would it be and why?

If I had another career, I would work as florist because nothing make me feel better than to be between flowers and natural elements!
8. What is your favorite kind of stationery and why?

I love stationery of all kinds. To me, stationery means details, little things, and care. They are really the things that make a difference. They are unique and special to our lives and others.
9.  If you can be pen pals with anyone from the historical past or current present, who would it be?

I'd like be pen pals with Anna Bond, Johanna Basford and Geninne. They're some of my favorites artists!
10. What books or resources would you recommend to aspiring artists?

The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron


Thank you so much, Silvia! 

Be sure to follow her amazing creations: 
Gusto Menta

xo, Christina



I’m very happy to be here!
Thank you so much, grazie! :)

Dec 01, 2015

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