Q&A WITH FRENCH ILLUSTRATOR CATHERINE CORDASCO

I discovered Catherine Cordasco whilst I was browsing one of my favourite apps – Kuvva wallpapers – on my phone. Kuvva is a great, simple app to discover some of the worlds leading designers and illustrators and I’m always excited to see the work of new artists featured each week.

I instantly fell in love with Catherine's very unique and emotive watercolour illustrations, which draw inspiration from nature, animals and flora. Catherine’s illustrations formed part of our inspiration board when we started working on the concept design for the Special Care Nursery at Sydney’s Mater Hospital. The more we developed the design, the more Catherine’s illustrations became perfectly relevant, so we decided to contact her and invite her to come on board the project.

And I am so glad we did! Catherine’s artworks have become the signature of the Special Care Nursery identity and capture the spirit of the space perfectly. From such humble digital beginnings, it’s amazing to see her artwork up close and personal in real life. Speaking of humble, we have also been very lucky for one of the most modest creatives we know, to take time out of her busy schedule for a Q&A with AKD . . .

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THREE WORDS THAT BEST DESCRIBE YOU?

Most people say that I'm a smiling, funny and enthusiastic person.

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE GROWING UP?

I wanted to be an adventurer, such as an oceanographer. I dreamt of a life on a boat defending environmental and animal welfare. The team from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) still makes me dream of this life! I'm truly impressed by their mission and campaigns.

HOW DID YOU EARN YOUR FIRST PAY PACKET?

The very first time I was paid was for work I did as a freelance textile designer. I designed prints for an American label and was very proud! 

BEST LIFE LESSON?

From an artistic point of view, it has been to believe in my work, to be persistent and never distort my style.

YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR?

Each project is an achievement I think I can be proud of. People approach me for work because of my style so it's always a pleasure to begin a new story.

The project with Alexandra Kidd Design for the Mater Hospital in Sydney has been a wonderful artistic experience, but also a very humanely and emotional journey. It allowed me to express all of my creativity. Oh, and it was actually the first time I had the opportunity to illustrate on such big walls! 

WHO INSPIRES YOU?

So many artists inspire me every day. Photography, illustration and graphic novels are my predilections. Most of the time, I'm interested in works or moods very different than mine.  I am especially amazed by the photographic work of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre. They are both passionate about contemporary ruins. Their book The Ruins of Detroit is absolutely wonderful. The framing, light, composition and tones in their images are beautiful. I also truly appreciate the very different style of British photographer Martin Parr

YOUR BIGGEST VICE?

I'm pretty grouchy! Haha! But a smiling grouchy ;) 

DO YOU FOLLOW TRENDS OR ARE YOU A TRENDSETTER?

In my opinion it would be very pretentious to assume I am a trendsetter! And to follow trends is not really my thing. However, as I'm naturally curious about everything (news, art, society . . .) I think that’s my way of subconsciously following trends. Haha!

WHAT DREAM DO YOU STILL WANT TO FULFILL?

Working on the Special Care Nursery project with Alexandra Kidd Design was truly inspiring because right at the centre of it all was such a human story. I would love to collaborate with some associations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) or the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) because I also care deeply about animal welfare. 

WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT WORKING WITH ALEXANDRA KIDD DESIGN?

Firstly, it was great working with Interior Designer Jessica. I really appreciated the collaborative way she worked with me and also the way she respected my style of work. Again, it has been a wonderful opportunity to fully express my creativity on a large scale. I can't wait to see the images from the photoshoot and the opening, to see the hard work of everyone as an accomplished whole. I also hope to have more opportunities to work again with AKD and Australia, before I come to visit you in Sydney! 

Catherine's illustrations in the Special Care Nursery at Sydney's Mater Hospital.

Catherine's illustrations in the Special Care Nursery at Sydney's Mater Hospital.

Catherine's illustrations in the 'nest' hospital rooms.

Catherine's illustrations in the 'nest' hospital rooms.

Images 1 - 4 via © Catherine Cordasco / Images 5 & 6 via © Alexandra Kidd Design