Alexandra Zutto is a Russian artist based in Brooklyn, working as a freelance Illustrator and Designer since 2009. Her style is very interesting. She uses vibrant and contrasted colours, flowing shapes and puts an impressive amount of tiny details in each work. Cute characters or creatures are also an important part of her visual universe. We sat virtually together and had a pleasant talk about her career path and interest in NFT what you can enjoy below
What was your path to doing what you’re doing now?
I wasn’t sure from the beginning that I could become a successful artist and it’s been challenging sometimes even now. It’s a way of finding your own original style, which can be endless. I’ve spent more than ten years finding myself, I’ve started from an office monkey in a design studio in Moscow and found out that it doesn’t fit my own comfort zone at all. So I’ve returned to my homeland and spent a year without any money just trying to become “original”, and I can see a huge difference from 10 years ago pictures to this moment. And it still changes.
When you were growing up, was creativity part of your life, and how did you decide to focus on animation?
Drawing was always a part of me from an early childhood, my elder sister made nice hand-drawn girl characters and landscapes and I took her drawings to admire and copy them, which made her angry.
I first copied some nice illustrations from my books and then started to create my own. Then I met my boyfriend Dxmiq who was great with 3D and was also in the very beginning of his career as me. In some way we helped each other to define a style and survive among our very sceptic environment. He introduced me to Matt Pyke, a founder of UniversalEverything studio, and they invited me for a couple of projects requiring animation skills (I had zero experience with any animation). So I learned hand-drawn cel animation techniques and processes in one month. That was my start of making loops and some videos.
Did you feel different at the time you realised yourself as an artist?
I don’t remember that moment maybe because it was in the early age. Or it was always a part of myself.
Did you have an “Aha!” moment when you knew that illustration was what you wanted to do?
I did! I had a moment when I decided to earn a living doing what I really loved or die from hunger. Sounds extreme but it’s true.
As a creative person, do you ever have those moments where you feel like everything you create is just shit?
Definitely I have those moments. Sometimes I feel like everything I did ever is a shit, artists pay for their creativity with emotional instability and depressive conditions of varying severity. Yoga and meditative practices helped a lot with overcoming the negative aspects (and all the hearts and comments from other artists and people), but it still comes sometimes.
Are your family and friends supportive of what you do? Who has encouraged you the most?
My friends are very supportive! And my mom of course. But for a long time I didn’t tell anybody that I work as a freelancer. In my previous Russian environment it was believed that drawing (digital one) is such a hobby, not a real profession that can feed. I am so happy to observe how this situation changes in my homeland, especially in the big cities, and I know many super-talented guys that become international stars.
Have you taken any big risks to move forward?
Yes, moving to the USA was a big risk for me. It’s still risky with all the Covid mess 🙂
Did you have a mentor?
I don’t have a special education and can say that my friends mostly helped me with finding myself.
Is it important to you to be a part of a creative community of people?
For many years I underestimated the meaning of promotion, having a blogs, etc etc, but it is definitely a necessity to be a part of the art community. It increases the chances of being seen and highly appreciated
You’re already a successful and well established artist, what made you pursue NFT art as a medium, and what inspired the work in your first drop?
It looks like an awesome possibility to earn with personal projects, which artists did anyway.
My first drop “Molecule” is deeply connected with the feeling of being a really small part of the universe. Even a small part is important and can influence other parts because it’s a source of everything. source of energy and happiness.
What are your short plans for the next NFT drop?
It’s finished and is called “Dark Matter“. When I started this project with a rough idea, it changed about 6 times. So it could be a different 6 projects haha. I was so overwhelmed with more than a year of constant commercials and switching to something different was now that easy. Like you have lost your magic wand and maybe can’t create anything new ever. There’s a bunch of sketches on my table now, about two hundred of them as a creative process.
I had also a magic moment – the video was not so perfect without sound and the day before drop I’ve got message in my Instagram from NOIZLAB, he created a music background for it. So the universe always helps!
In some way this subject connected for me with many other things. Like freelancers are “dark matter” of the design world. Cryptocurrency is a “dark matter”of the economy. It’s really fascinating to observe how hidden things influence the whole world.
If you could go back and do one thing differently, what would it be?
I’d learn 3d and after effects. And started making animation much much earlier.
Do you have any unrealised or unfinished projects?
Tons of them. Mostly because I can have a bunch of commercials and don’t have time and energy for everything.