No Day Without a Line
Who influences you graphically?
My way of drawing and using a fluid line just comes from a natural tendency to reproduce reality in a distorted and personal way. Certainly I have been unconsciously influenced by Saul Steinberg, Picasso, Klee as I keep feeding my mind looking at their work. But it was studying carefully Le Corbusier I really discovered the way to represent architecture: his drawings taught me how to condense the idea of space in very few lines. Last but not least, my professor Franco Purini at IUAV (Istituto Universitario di Architettura Venezia) was a real master for all of us.
‘Nulla dies sine linea’ (No day without a line’) he kept saying to us: his meticulous and almost ritual habit of drawing, beside his attitude to consider it just a means to reach the final solution of the architectural project, were a fundamental references for my future work.
What is your work process? (hand drawing, photoshop, bamboo tablet?) and what is your preferred tool?
The process is always the same: ink pen on paper and hand drawing. I cannot give it up and I have been filling notebooks with black ink for years. When the drawing needs to be published I scan it, rework it or colour it in Photoshop. I use a Wacom tablet.
To what extent has the Architectural Association had an impact on your artistic vision of architecture and our environment?
The years I spent at the AA were the most stimulating and gratifying of my whole student life. I moved to London after studying Architecture in Venice. London and especially the Architectural Association were a different world, totally distant from the micro universe I was living in in Venice.
I was struck by the natural freedom of thought I could feel around me, the way students and teachers just communicated, the mutual exchange going on everywhere at any time at school: on the staircase, in the corridors, at the bar, and of course in the classrooms. Coming from the old Venice school this was for me totally revolutionary.
The clear and simple tasks we were given at school could be easily transformed into unexpected projects: crazy ideas would just keep developing and we were just pushed to go further and further, to realize drawings, sculptures, models that no one would have ever thought could turn into something real. But they did, and that was the clue: make possible whatever seems impossible.
While keeping us very focused and committed on our projects no other teaching could be more stimulating, almost liberating I would say. That changed my vision of the arts and led me to seek for broader boundaries within architecture as well as in any other field I ever worked on. The impact was enormous, both in my way of looking at contemporary architecture and on the attitude towards history, and history of art.
What dictates your colour palette and the lack of it in certain images?
The colour palette changes every time and is newly created for every single image. Sometimes colouring an image takes as much time as creating the black and white drawing itself. It depends on the mood that image has to communicate, and on the subject it is about.
What is the purpose and subsequently effect of using colour for the background of your images?
I have always been very fond of black and white and many of my images are two tone. This is how I picture the idea of space, in my mind. Sometimes though, especially when the image has to be published on a magazine or it has to be seen from afar, the background colour makes the black lines and the white gaps between them even stronger. This gives more depth to the image, it makes it more alive.
Anna Sutor graduated from the faculty of Architecture of Venice (IUAV) in 1998. After a Master at the Architectural Association, in London, she worked as an architect first for Rem Koolhaas, in Rotterdam, then for Norman Foster, in London. In 2001 she moved to Milan, where she currently lives and works between architecture, illustration and film making. Her drawings have been on newspapers, magazines, books, records, advertisements in Europe, U.S.A. and Brasil.
Her work has been selected by the New York Society of Illustrators, the Italian Association of Illustrators and awarded by the Creative Quarterly review.