An archive of Interviews, Articles and Blog posts that I've conducted with a range of media outlets. Have a read through to discover more about my ideas, concepts and processes.
Sylvia has a very strong signature in her works: coloured in black and white and cityscapes. Here is her reason: “Architecture was a subject I always considered studying instead of graphic design. Every building, whether it cost £100million or is made of mud, has a structure, a design, and is beautiful in it’s own right. They’re integral to the shaping of my designs and illustrations.”
Diversity, Necessity and Capacity are works all discussing different social themes that the earth is dealing with, such as overdevelopment, urban-expansionism and pollution. The circular shape of works mirrors the shape of the planet. “My surroundings take a vital part of my practice. It takes me time to realise who I am and what my strengths are. I have now accumulated years of work and I notice that I am influenced as an artist by the place and environment I reside in,” said Sylvia.
Her creative journey started in Austria at a young age. As a creator who had studied in three different countries, she took the best part of each country and each country has had a great impact on her path of creativity.
“In Austria I learnt the basics of design: life and perspective drawing, art history, colour systems and various areas with the design industry; England allowed me to play, experiment with new techniques and also handmade techniques; America was extremely encouraging, very ambitious. It made me believe I could become anything I wanted. I was surrounded by highly motivated people and we all shared the American Dream. Everything felt possible.”
In the generation of technology and digitalisation, Sylvia has an open attitude towards the difference between computer-generated graphics and handmade graphics.
“Printmaking is more instinctive, the mistakes you make are irreversible and become part of the art. With graphics, too many cooks can spoil the broth, there’s a lot of nudging around and endless perfectionisms being applied that dissolve the fun
With her delicate drawing techniques, it is inevitable to make ‘mistakes’ since one can never guarantee all strokes made on the paper are correct. Sylvia transcends her possible mistakes into a higher level of creativity. “I never saw them [mistakes] as a problem. Mistakes make us as people, and it’s always part of the art. It’s like if an actor forgets his lines at the theatre – only he knows his mistake, and everyone else goes along with it. My art is generally very detailed and very imaginative, so mistakes just become the start of a new element that I simply hadn’t foreseen. It’s innovation.”
Sylvia’s next project is launching her own brand of urban-themed stationery, gifts and accessories called The City Works. Continuing her rich, intricately detailed illustrations, the first collection of the brand ‘Lost in London’ aims to capture the maze-like nature of the old city. Expectedly, her dream project is related to the city too.
“I always dreamed of seeing my cityscapes covering a large wall in the form of a mural design, and as we speak I’m currently working on two separate mural designs for the University of Arts London and their student housing buildings. So perhaps this is a dream that’s going to come true soon!”
Your Citysphere series deals with issues of overpopulation and urbanisation.
Are you hopeful for the future of our cities or is your work more of a call for change?
Cities are places of amazing unpredictability, with negatives and positives constantly outweighing one another. So in that respect, I like to think of this series as more of a mode of commentary rather than criticism, documentation rather than dramatisation.
What do you think attracts you to intricate detail in your own work and others?
Quite simply it’s an appreciation of craft and labor intensive work. Detail equals involvement. It acts as a gateway that allows onlookers to get totally lost within images. Patience is a lost trait, and it’s visible in the amount of simplicity in today’s creativity. While this can be very beautiful, I believe there needs to be more muscle in modern art.
Can you see your work continuing to grow in physical scale like the cities themselves?
While I’d love to make even larger etchings, ‘Capacity’ is a half meter square, so that’s a lot of metal to be inking up and winding through the press all day. That said, I always end up drawing beyond the sketchbook. I once wallpapered an entire room with a friend, and together we drew every wall, floor and ceiling with marker pens. The project was called Disappear.
Did you grow up in a city in Austria or more rural surroundings?
Unlike my drawings, I grew up in very rural surroundings in eastern Austria. It’s one of those towns where everyone knows everyone, with quite conservative viewpoints. So it definitely acted as a trigger for me to leave and visit big cities.
Can you describe what you love about the etching process?
I’ve definitely inherited an appreciation of hard physical labour from my father, who is a mechanic. We’re never shy to roll up our sleeves when needs be. In most art forms, whether painting onto a blank canvas or digitally printing onto inkjet paper, the gift of having white
Do you enjoy the unpredictability of the process or is it a battle to keep to your original vision?
It is definitely a battle, a war zone at times. These unpredictable factors can really add character to a print, but when you’re producing a numbered series, and every print has to be identical, you work more like a machine than an artist
You describe yourself as primarily a graphic artist. Are you just as happy working on a design project for client or is your personal creative work where you feel most at home?
A lot of design projects have shaped my illustrative style and a lot of aspects of fine art prints now inspire my design work. I aim for a colourful future with multidisciplinary design and art related projects.
Congratulations on your BA in Graphic Design at Camberwell.
What’s next in line for you after college?
Thank you. CitySphere has recently been exhibited at the Affordable Art Fair in Hampstead, and of course the Camberwell degree show. Right now the dust is still settling on what has an overwhelming response to my work. I featured in Creative Review and have received very kind messages from a few art exhibitors.All of this momentum will hopefully lead to new artworks in the coming months. I’m currently finding a new intaglio workshop to print, now that I’ve graduated. Alongside this, I often daydream about the next part of the world I will visit and study.
Originally from Austria, Sylvia Moritz is now based in London working as a Graphic Artist. Her high intricacy and predominant attention to detail seal together a super distinctive style in her illustrations.
How would you describe your style of illustration?
I create very geometric, very meticulous drawings, but with an imaginative ‘escher-esque’ twist. Like blueprints of a city, my work is made up of tiny architectural lines. However my finished structures disobey reason and reality, with buildings stacked upon one another at impossible angles and unworldly dimensions. I aim to capture the detailed materials and textures of our environments. Hopefully, by paying this attention to detail to my work, viewers pay attention to the complexity of the world we live in.
The closer you look the more you see.
What tools/techniques to create these drawings?
My original prints are created using a printmaking process called etching, which consists of engraving fine line drawings into a wax-coated metal plate. This is then acid-etched, inked and rolled through a press to make editions. To make my hand-drawn illustrations, like East London Skyline, I use Rotring Isograph pens.
What concepts are these illustrations exploring?
I’m interested in work with both visual depth as well as a depth in meaning. Having lived in different cities in different countries, I’ve come to notice how layered these places can be, both in terms of their design, and the stories they tell. Cities are rich with intertwining moments, overlapping lives and overshadowing developments. Seemingly concrete and unwelcoming, cities are the vibrant, loving home for billions. They’re always moving, never sleeping, and swaying at an inconsistent step. I hope to capture such a performance in my Citysphere series, which studies urban expansion, from slums to megacities. The works have been described as observations of overpopulation, the environment, urbanisation and the urban sprawl.
What’s next for you?
Having recently taken the big leap into being a working artist, I’m rolling up my sleeves. I’ve got three mural commissions coming up, and I recently exhibited in the London Art Fair. I’m preparing new pieces for upcoming fairs and exhibitions, while also making special editions of previous work.
BA Graphic Design student, Sylvia Mortiz, gives us an insight into
her world of urban landscapes and the inspiration for her artwork.
Please tell us more about your practice?
After graduating at Die Graphische in Vienna, I was hoping to experiment in different areas within graphic design and illustration. Next to some freelance work and internships, I participated in an illustration course in Boston and a print making course in San Francisco before I joined UAL in 2011. Camberwell College has helped me to develop my work more conceptually, which is something I was really looking for. Now, I feel that my work is more meaningful. I’ve been really fascinated by the print making facilities at Camberwell and took that direction earlier during the first year of my BA. I have been working on prints around the subject of urbanization.
What are you preparing for the degree show?
I took a gap year between my school in Vienna and coming to London to study at Camberwell and I travelled to different cities in the USA. I felt really inspired by big cities and urban spaces. The different architecture, house styles and how poor and wealthy areas were differentiated got my attention. That is something that is currently discussed widely, the fact that all cities spread so fast with a growing population making the urban areas quite dense.
How are you doing that?
I’m sketching lots and using photographs. I’m also doing online research, especially about some of the poorer areas and about how they used to be. So far, I have three printed pieces of different sizes representing urban landscapes inspired by the USA, London and an almost futuristic fictional city.
What reaction do you expect from the viewers?
SM: I suppose I’d like to think that I’m making a statement about the current situation of urban cities. I’m not pointing out any positive or negative aspects about urbanization. This work is about the cultures that merge together in cities, but it’s also about how people often have to give away comforts and settle for less space and more social divisions.
Any word of advice for current and future students?
Be very ambitious with your work; use your time at university to ask all the questions you have that can help you find out more about your skills. Try everything, but it’s also very important to keep focused!