Spring, spring, spring! The season that truly brings in the new year. To capture that mood is no easy task. It’s no surprise then, that we partnered with the very talented, kind and creative Amanda Arlotta for our Spring 2020 Menu Art. Her work is vivid, ethereal yet graceful. It has a mesmerizing quality that grabs your attention and doesn’t let go.
We were so happy to get a chance to talk to her.
Hi Amanda, tell us a little about yourself and what sparked your interest in illustration.
My name is Amanda, from a young age, I’ve always loved art and I’ve always loved creating and storytelling really brought me to what I am today. Ever since I was younger, I was always writing stories and drawing, and music as well, and all those put together brought me into illustration. I loved the ability to create and being a storyteller.
What would you say is the hardest part of creating an illustration?
The ideation for sure. Really trying to create an illustration, something that hasn’t been done.
What was your inspiration behind this particular set of pieces with Demetres?
For spring, I really focused on blush tones and really tried to bring a new view of spring. I really enjoyed the process of it. I used fashion a lot to tell the story of Demetres. With her cover I tried to make her dress into an ice cream, I took fashion and incorporated it into Demetres. Even the tables, I tried to blend it all into the illustration.
Is there an element of Art you enjoy working with the most?
I really love drawing with any media, recently I’ve really been leaning towards the digital media. I feel like there is a lot you can do with it. I also currently enjoy it a lot. I also love painting with acrylics and oils, and I really love just experimenting with new media no matter what it is.
I first started off with acrylic in OCAD, I did that for four years and I towards the end I really got into the digital media for like the last couple of years.
How do you know when a work is finished?
That’s difficult. I guess when you look at it and see “okay I’m happy with it”. When you look at it and you’re happy with it, that’s when you know. For Demetres, I always wanted to add one thing or another, I even had different options that I’ve submitted. It was difficult because I wanted to add more to all, but I had to think maybe if I added a little more, that’ll be too much.
Do you have a ‘style’ and if so, how did you develop it?
I feel like when you paint from your passion, who you are, I feel like the style just develops on its own. My style is always going to keep developing. It’s never going to stay the same. The more I learn, the more I research, the more it’ll develop as time progresses. If you look at my website, you can see its going from acrylic it’s going to digital, from the nature and all the details are going more minimal towards the future. And as time progresses it will change.
But in every illustration, no matter how much it changes there will always be a part of me within that, that wouldn’t change.
Do you have a favourite piece of work that you’ve made?
I love them all in their own way. The cover for Demetres is definitely really fun to do. I really enjoyed it. I would say that’s a favorite of mine.
In the process of creating your illustration do you listen to anything in the background- music, podcasts, tv shows?
Spotify. I really love making my own playlists, even when I was younger. It’s always different, I love every type of genre. In the background I also watch Netflix, any good movies on cable. I’ve been watching Better Call Sal right now.
If you could give a piece of advice to someone starting out in art, what would it be?
Trust your intuition, and never change who you are. Never feel like you have to change because you’re unique in your own way. And if you paint from the place of who you are, your passion, your work will be truly you and truly you.
Trust your instinct. Never feel like you have to change. Don’t feel influenced, your intuition is really important.
Is there anything that made you feel really accomplished?
When I first went to New York, last year. I hadn’t been there in a while. That was my first time back and seeing my work up for the first time in a gallery show for American Illustration was really cool so gratifying. I felt so happy there, in that moment. My family came as well, and I couldn’t believe. I didn’t think that was ever going to happen, and it happened right out of school. I just felt like my work wasn’t there and just getting that recognition, and knowing that what you’re doing is good, was nice.
Why have you chosen to stay with digital painting, even though people around you chose traditional media?
Just like I mentioned before, your intuition is so important. You need to just follow it, follow your passion, follow your heart. And never let other factors influence you and what you’re doing.
Did you struggle thinking about how you would do out of school?
I remember I was applying to Psychology in Ryerson, and I got in. I had to make the decision to go there or OCAD and I felt like I trusted my intuition with Art. And I felt that it was risky at that time because I wasn’t too sure where it would go. But I knew that if I followed my passion and worked hard, I will accomplish that goal; to be an artist. To be an Illustrator. That’s the dream.
Have you always known you’d want to go into art?
Yeah, just creating in general. Ever since I was younger, I’d always hopped from one thing to the next. But Art was the one thing that always stuck with me. I think I always knew, even though I did other things. I think I always knew Art was my number one. It will never go away, no matter how much I try other things, Art will always be my number one for sure.
Do you have any role models you look up to?
I look up to so many artists and people. Nikola Tesla, he’s a scientist. I really look up to him. I know he’s not even an illustrator, but I really look up to people out of my field. I am very inspired by Architecture and Photography as well. Any mode or person that’s a creative I really love listening and learning from them. Because I find there is so much to learn from them.
How did the monkeys relate to the theme of desserts?
I thought they were really fun, and spring is all about when nature comes alive again. And I felt like the monkeys add onto that, that fun and that bliss. I felt like they were really fun. Especially when people come in and look at the menu, they bring the energy of spring to me.
Here’s our 2020 Spring menu cover
& the bill cards: