CATERINA BIANCHINI: ALWAYS STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF
At Us by Night, the design and creativity festival in Antwerp for creatives all over the world, we met up with Caterina Bianchini, an ambitious graphic designer from London. She runs an award-winning design studio in London. Caterina already worked with big brands such as Levi’s and Diesel. In three words she would describe her art as charismatic, colourful and bold.
TiA: Hi Caterina, what makes Us by Night so special?
Caterina: “Us by Night is so different. I am used to giving presentations for big audiences. I spoke at a conference with a mainstage four times as big as this one last year. That’s like two thousand people. But these conferences are so formal and serious. Us by Night feels a lot more relaxed. I came here and got a beer before I went on stage. That’s so nice! Well… then everything went wrong and that wasn’t so nice (laughs). I had some technical difficulties at the beginning of the show, but that didn’t stop me.”
TiA: What makes your work really you?
Caterina: “The bold typography is our trademark. It is something that I have always been playing around with ever since the beginning of my career. Even to this day it is something that keeps on developing. Our typography is influenced by all five of us, over at the studio.”
TiA: How do you stay true to yourself when working with big brands such as Levi’s, Reebok, Diesel,..?
Caterina: “I always try to put my vision and personality in the things I create. I am not just trying to sell. In the studio we only work with people who understand us. We like to work with brands that trust us and allow us to have fun with what we are doing. This allows us to always be evolving as designers.
We don’t do any project that you don’t see on our website. For instance, really big studios sometimes do ‘bad’ projects and won’t tell anyone about it, like a cigarette brand or something. We really pride ourselves and anything we make will be put online. We’re not trying to pretend.”
TiA: What inspires you?
Caterina: “Everything inspires me. I know, that really sounds crazy (laughs). What inspires me the most is art, books and music, but also daily life. You walk in the street and you might see a fly and it’s got a really interesting colour combination. One particular project was all about the way a spider moves. For another project we got inspired by anthropomorphisms. This is when you see faces in everyday objects. By the way, the scale behind you looks exactly like a face!”
TiA: You’ve created a poster to protest the Irish anti-abortion laws in collaboration with activist group Room for Rebellion. Is it important to you to spread social or political messages?
Caterina: “I think it’s very important that when you’ve got a platform, you also use it to stand up for what you believe in. As an artist I have the ability to create things that touch people. From far away, an artwork might look like something really beautiful. But when you get closer, you see the real meaning behind it. The ability to talk to people through art is something really powerful to me. It’s certainly my passion project.”
TiA: What do you think defines the creative scene of Antwerp?
Caterina: “People in Antwerp are very aware of fashion. It’s so cool! I was strolling down the city today and everyone was well dressed or had a specific style true to them. People here really seem to have a natural understanding of art, fashion and design.”
TiA: Did you already discover some hidden gems in Antwerp?
Caterina: “It’s my first time ever in Antwerp. I made a little stroll today and I really love the vintage and second-hand shops. When the talks are over, I am going to do some museums, bookshops and buy memorabilia to take home. Also, I’ve heard that the chips here are really good. Why is that such a thing?”
TiA: That’s not a myth! You have to go to a real Belgian ‘frietkot’.
Caterina: “A what??”
TiA: We have shops where you can just buy chips.
Caterina: “Whoa! So you have shops specifically for chips?? I have to check that out!”
Text and pic by Anella Sepp