If you’ve been on Pinterest or opened a magazine lately, you’ve probably seen Amber Vittoria’s work. The New York City-based illustrator is no stranger to big brands—her client list includes companies like Condé Nast, Atlantic Records, Gucci, The New York Times, and Instagram—but she’s also a fine artist with a booming shop of her own.
We love Amber’s work because it’s the pinnacle of intersectional feminism, showing the female form in all its realness: curves, body hair, and double chins included. She cites art as her most natural form of communication—and we can’t wait to see what she has to say in 2019 and beyond.
You’ve previously said you chose design because “it was the only path I felt OK with failing on.” Tell us more about what you meant by that and why it drove you to this career.
When deciding what I wanted to pursue career-wise, I started to take close note of which activities I enjoyed purely for the sake of the process. I learned that in areas like math and science I solely enjoyed excelling, whereas in art I enjoyed the work, even if the product wasn’t as successful.
You’ve collaborated with mega brands like The New York Times and Adidas. What’s a company you’d love to work with in the future and why?
I’d love to work with Everlane and Rothy’s’ both brands have a heavy focus on eliminating plastic waste within the fashion industry, which is incredibly important to me.
What advice would you give to young artists and designers who are struggling to support themselves with their work?
I was very fortunate that my family could financially and emotionally support me when I first graduated college; I moved home for a year, and my parents were able to help me pay for majority of my schooling. I like to be transparent about this privilege, as it enabled me to save, take time to find full-time jobs that could support me as I freelanced on the side, which then enabled me to stably go freelance full-time.
It’s difficult to give out blanket advice for supporting oneself on their art, but my path involved holding several full-time design jobs as I illustrated on nights and weekends; this allowed me the ability to save as best I could, slowly grow a client list, and get my freelance/full-time balance to the point where I felt the most confident about taking the jump to self-employment.
Also, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I can always do my best to give more specific assistance/advice in this area, as it is so different for everyone.
Where does your passion/drive come from?
My work is inspired by women I’m fortunate enough to know, to pass by in the world, and to read about. Making work they can resonate with is so important to me.
What keeps you up at night?
I aim to pack my days with as many art projects, ways to help others through my art, and ways to change the narrative about women, and how we are perceived societally, so I can be tired enough to sleep through the night.
In a world where likes and follower counts are so coveted, how do you stay authentic and true to yourself/your brand?
Becoming obsessed with the vanity of a high follower count is natural, so I try to view followers as a new individual interested in the work I make, and not as a number.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work? How do your hobbies influence your art?
I love to visit National Parks, taking travel photos, and eating new foods. The ability to mentally focus on aspects of life that aren’t art focused helps me stay balanced.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
In times of stress, focus on your breathing. My Apple watch likes to remind me of this, haha.
When you hit a bump or hurdle in your career, how do you find new roads + switch gears to find success?
I try to take a break from making - going for a walk, grabbing a coffee, calling my parents, all help to distract me a bit from the creative block I may be having.
What are you most excited for in 2019?
Meeting and working with new people who help me and my work grow, that’s what I’m most excited about!