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Lilla Bölecz (HUN)​


1. Can you tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, where you study…?

I’m an illustrator and graphic artist based in Budapest, Hungary. My passion is to create peculiar, thought-provoking, mystical scenes, characters and worlds based on both imagination and reality. I got my graphic art and design degree here in KREA Contemporary Arts Institute. I work as a freelance illustrator and surface pattern designer, in the same time creating selfinitiated art projects and having my work exhibited throughout Europe. Currently I’m working on a richly illustrated kids book, a magical calendar and just started an exciting new personal project.

2. Why did you become an illustrator?

Illustration is mostly not about visuals for me. It’s more like an expedition of selfknowledge (diving to the deep) and self-development (ascending to the stars). An inner adventure to become my true self. On the other hand, it’s a meaningful connection with others who can relate to my works. I’d like to inspire them on their own journey to find treasures. Becoming an illustrator was nothing like a straight path to me. I’ve always been fascinated by visuals even as a kid, but first I studied social work in college. It was a great adventure and really fashioned my worldview, but I sensed I was missing out on something. When I was accepted to KREA I instantly felt that I’d finally found my purpose (at least one of my purposes :) ). Though I desired to be an illustrator, I started working at creative agencies and did everything from flyers to logos. It was a painful experience, but made me more determined and I learned a lot there. I could gradually move to full time illustration and build my own brand. These events made me more grateful that I can do what I love. It was something I had to work for and persevere with, and I really needed that.

3. What artists/things do you most admire and how did they influence your work?

My work is mostly inspired by mysticism, nature, spiritual experiences, mythology, archeology and literature. I find occult, alchemical illustrations and the symbolism of mythological stories fascinating. I’m intrigued by the process of visually expressing a concept not merely creating something decorative, so my art is often influenced by thoughts rather than images. Of course I love to look at art and some of my idols are Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington.


4. How did you find your style? Has it changed since you started?

In my opinion style is constantly evolving with our personality. I wouldn’t say that I found my ultimate style, but a direction I enjoy taking. I often feel it’s a mess, but I like to call it ‘visionary’, because I consider my art as a crucible of the spiritual and the material worlds and I’m looking for ways to express that there are whole universes beyond our everyday perception. Anyway, I think in order to find this direction, I had to both work on it and NOT work on it in the same time. I mean style is not only something I like the appearance of but something accumulated by life experiences and worldview. After quitting creative agency, I went to a hiking trip to Turkey for 2-3 months. I needed a real change. I was determined to finally draw a lot, to draw everything! Instead I hardly did anything art related, but absorbed every moment - and got rid of a lot of burden there. When arriving home, my art started to flourish rapidly. Many turning points like this took place afterwards.


5. Can you briefly describe your creative process?

When I get an idea, a brief or a book to illustrate I usually have a vision of what I want to do right away, but it’s good to just let it ripen first. I start daydreaming about it during other activities until I have more details. I usually do a lot of research on how stuff looks like and read about related topics (not to mention the unrelated ones!) to get familiar with a particular philosophy or mythology. This would take a lot of time because I want to know everything, but I hold myself back and start sketching, always on paper with pencil first. For example when I draw a character I often create several versions until there’s one that I like. Then it depends on the technique I want to use, but lately I work a lot digitally so I scan my sketches and start repainting them on the computer. It’s exciting as the work starts to take it’s final form and I can experiment with colours.


6. Best and worst part of your job?

One of the best parts is listening to interpretations of my personal works by others. I often create these images subconsciously and sometimes I wouldn’t even notice correlations without the insights of different people. I learn about my own illustrations and myself. The worst part is that I sit a lot at the computer.


7. Quick answers:

Favorite movies: Movies are great, for example I loved Bab’Aziz but I’m generally more into books. My favourite authors among others are Hermann Hesse, Alexandro Jodorowsky and of course Gabriel García Márquez. Favorite musics to work: Darkwave, medieval, goth and folk stuff but I really listen to a wide range of music and love to explore bands and styles. Sometimes the given work defines the music I listen to, but another time it’s totally unrelated. I’m able to listen to heavy metal while drawing a cute animal and feel totally normal. Favorite Hobbies: I love meditating, hiking, crystals, plants and DIY projects. Magic wish: I’d like to see behind the veil.


8. What is the best piece advice you’ve had, in regards to illustration or otherwise?

I heard the concept of lifelong learning back in college and I feel the idea really suits me. It’s never too late to start something new if we stay curious and open-minded.


Cover design and illustrations for ‘Of Love and Other Demons’ from Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Márquez.


The element Water and a magician working with it along with symbolic animals, plants, shapes and colours.


The element Water and a magician working with it along with symbolic animals, plants, shapes and colours.

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