Eva Montanari is an author and illustrator. Born in Rimini, she currently lives between Rimini and Milan (Italy). Montanari started drawing and creating stories as a child. Since 2000 her books have been published in Italy, United States, England, China, Taiwan, Brazil, Spain, France, Germany, Japan and also translated in Portugal, Korea, Croatia, Finland, Turkey, Thailand and Argentina.
Montanari’s illustrations have been featured in calendars, magazines, covers, posters, wallpapers, and displayed in collective and personal exhibitions in various countries across the globe.
Q: Which is your favorite medium to work in?
A: I have experimented with several types of media: acrylic and oil paint, chalks, charcoal, colored pencils and I also used mixed media materials both for the illustrations and tridimensional sculptures. I started working with acrylic on different kind of paper (rice or banana paper) and in these last years I am working a lot with colored chalks which I like for their freshness.
Q: What was it like growing up in Rimini?
A: I like my city a lot, even though I spend most of my time in Milano. I think living in a such touristic city was a bit different from other childhood and teenager experience. The seaside was five minutes away, I constantly used to have the feeling that there was a big party just outside my door and I wished to grow up fast to be part of it. At the same time, at the end of summer, when the party was over, I loved the feeling of emptiness on the great beach, the big cloudy skies and even the fog.
Q; What about the residents?
A: I love the people in Rimini and in the backcountry; some of them conserved the same kind of “craziness” so well described by Federico Fellini in movies like “Amarcord” or in the character of “Saraghina” from the movie “Eight and a half.”
Q: Did you travel with your family when you were young?
A: My family used to have a patisserie and my parents worked all through the summer, so at the end of it, when the school already started we used to travel for at least 3 weeks generally in the South of Italy, staying in camping with friends and their children. We were big bands of children playing in places where all the tourists had already left.
Q: I understand that you also teach art?
A: Mostly I teach how to create stories through images.
Q: Do you teach adults or children?
A: Both adults and children
Q: Is there a fond memory of one workshop?
A: Yes. I taught a workshop for children organized in collaboration with “Scenica Frammenti” a theatre company who holds a theatre Festival (called Collinarea) in Tuscany. It was a series of workshops I held in 2012, where the children created drawings from observation of characters and spaces. I organized the situations and the children were invited to create their stories.
Q: Do you like to visit historic sites and museums?
A: Yes, I love it.
Q: What is a favorite historic site?
A: The one I love most remains the Roman site of Pompei, close to Naples.
Q: Which museums were your favorite and why?
A: I always visit museums whenever I go, but as a child I think the most beautiful thing I saw was the near city of Urbino. I did consider the town as a museum itself for the feeling of being in a fairyland also because of its landscape. When I was a bit grown up I discovered its legacy at Palazzo Ducale, center of the Renaissance as Federico da Montefeltro court.
Q: Who was the first artist who inspired your work?
A: When I was child I did have a book of collection of Italian fairy collected from the oral tradition (more or less the same Italian fairy tales also collected from Italo Calvino) and illustrated by Adelchi Galloni. I loved Adelchi Galloni’s illustrations – they inspired me and filled me with curiosity. By chance he became my teacher at the European institute of Design in Milano 15 years later. The second great discovery was the work of Lisbeth Zverger.
Q: Do you attend all of the openings?
A: If I can I like to go, especially if it’s a personal exhibition.
Q: Which country do you feel receives your work best?
A: It’s hard to say. I worked with publishers in USA and UK as well as in Taiwan for several years and my next two books are going to be published in France.