Q&A with Solange Costa
Solange Costa is an illustrator and fashion designer based in Porto, Portugal. I discovered her art through Instagram (how incredible a time is it to be alive as a creative person!) and knew straight away I need to know more about this woman and her art. Art transmits the vibrations of the artist, and Solange's work truly shakes me to the core. Her style is unique and puts the biggest smile on my face; and the woman behind the illustrations is just as magical as I suspected she would be.
Q&A with Solange Costa
1. what time is your alarm set for?
2. what did you have for breakfast?
A bowl of rice milk with oats, banana and blueberries
3. what are you currently working on to better your Self?
I’m learning to let go of inside and outside judgment, by accepting myself the way I am without being too hard on myself which leads we to another wip: patience
4. what book do you think everyone should read?
The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle
5. what is your favourite way to sweat?
Dancing like there’s no tomorrow
6. who is one of your biggest inspirations?
Art wise, Klimt. I love the way he portrayed and adorned women.
And on a daily basis, People. I learn a lot through every person I meet or contact with. Their experiences is true inspiration.
7. what is the last thing you purchased?
A solid shampoo and a solid day cream. I’m traveling the plastic free journey.
8. what is best advice you've ever received?
Well in English it won’t sound as good as in Portuguese but it goes like this “não te PREocupes, ocupa-te” ...Basically “don’t worry, occupy yourself” As long as you get busy doing things you love, your brain monkey will be still.
9. what is something you cant live without?
The ability to draw and music
10. what does a typical dinner look like for you?
Picture this: Bridget Jones on her couch, eating unhealthy food. I’m not far from it, just replace Celine Dion’s all by myself song with a good Netflix show. And yes of course I have a cat.
11. what is on your night stand?
Lise Bourbeau’s Listen to Your Body book.
12. if you could only have one (for the rest of your life): chocolate, or avocado?
Chocolaaaaaaaaaaate Dark please.
A Deeper Dive
1. What does love mean to you, and how does it influence your art and your life?
For me love is acceptance. Is to be able to accept life as it comes, people with their bright and dark side without trying to change them for our benefit. It’s doing good without expecting something in return. It’s allowing yourself to fail and be compassionate if it happens. It’s to smile for no reason.
Through the women I draw I want to make a love statement; we are all good the way we are, there’s something in common that no bank account, no race, no fashion or religion can change: we are humans and deserve the best life has to offer.
2. Which of your creative accomplishments are you most proud of, and why?
At the moment, my Diversity project, because it reaches directly people and the feedback I received is heart warming. A lot of people from the black community have thanked me because they are not often represented in the art world... even now and that strikes me; I haven’t thought about it because it’s so natural for me, but I have to say they made that point and it’s quite sad.
3. What do you do when you find yourself in a creative rut?
I try to relax by stopping what I’m doing and start another thing, or a play my favorite songs or simply go for a walk. If I still feel stuck I just try gain the day after and it usually work. Fresh eyes are magical.
4. What has been one of your largest struggles as a freelance artist, and how did you overcome it?
I’ve been a freelance for a year now. Better say it’s year zero. After 10 years working in the fashion industry for big companies, some health issues forced me to rethink my life. I think it’s what you call the "mid life crisis". So I took a sabbatical year, ending now, to reconstruct myself and find my purpose. I’m still working in the fashion industry. Going full steam ahead from now on. I want to help sustainable brands grow with what I learned all these years: a good identity and a beautiful print can take a brand to the next level.
The diversity project is a more one-on-one situation where I’m glad to do unique portraits and create a lifetime memory. I have been blessed with special commissions and it couldn't make me happier.
And last but not least I will release (next year hopefully) a sustainable fashion brand.
5. Your portraits with rosy cheeks have a beautifully distinct look, how did this come about?
Well thank you! I don’t really know how it came but since l’ve been doing it since forever. I think it gives a more delicate touch but maybe it’s a subconscious thing. I’m a shy person, could it be the reason why? I will ask my therapist!
6. What brought the importance of sustainability in the fashion industry to your attention? What have you done since to promote/ live a more conscious life?
Working in the fast-paced fashion industry. Mainly for the inditex group, Zara more precisely. I learned a lot about the industry and I’m grateful for that experience, it’s rewarding to see people wearing your clothes but everything has a dark side and. I faced it. When I became aware of it , it hurt. That’s why I want to work with sustainable brands. I know things are slowly changing in the fashion industry but it’s not enough yet. I’m transitioning the best I can in my work and daily life.
I talk about it as much as I can, and I don’t by clothes ( I must say I don’t need to buy more clothes, I have enough and don’t need to) but if needed I would reach for sustainable brands or vintage stores.
7. What advice do you have for anyone out there afraid to make their creative passion their full-time career?
For a long time I was afraid to step ahead. It’s mainly a leap of faith.. in yourself.
You need to ask yourself “does this job fulfills me? Make me happy?” If not, it no longer serves you.
The struggle is real because, like everybody, you need to make a living and the silly monkey within will bomb you with “what if I can’t get any clients? What if I can’t pay the bills” etc.. mine had a trance party in my brain for a long time, but the thing is just to believe in yourself. If others can, why won’t you? Try to connect with other freelancers and ask them how it was for them; you will feel that you are not alone and it will give you strength. Surround yourself with good friends and family who support you, and for the ones who don’t: it’s ok too. It’s your life, it’s your journey. As legit as theirs. Follow your instinct, your heart and engage as must as you can. A positive mind is halfway to success, the rest is work work work.