Rebecca Daniella (@beccabythebay) is a 23-year old multi-media illustrator and animator based in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from Parsons School of Design in 2020 with a degree in illustration and has been freelancing ever since. Rebecca has a passion for creating evocative visual narratives, often in the form of comics, and colorful digital pieces, and short animated films. This week, Rebecca joined us for an interview here in Artleove!
Hi Rebecca, first of all, thank you for accepting our invitation to do this interview!
You’re very welcome, thank you for reaching out!
Although your works are consisting of illustration and animation, it presents a sense of reality as if we see true characters. How do you catch that sense of intimacy and truth in your works?
Some of my pieces act as a visual adaption of my thoughts and feelings, in which I simply try to translate myself in a way that I think others can understand. When telling the stories of someone else or my fictional characters, I like to immerse myself in the character’s world so that I can be as honest as possible when presenting their emotions and experiences.
I pay close attention to the storyline I’m working on and consider how someone might behave in real life if presented with a certain situation. Every detail drawn is included with a purpose, whether that be to hint at the character’s personality or their state of mind, and the color palettes are chosen to set a specific mood.
Inspirations to Rebecca Daniella’s Works
What are your inspirations? Can you give some examples of what motivates you to illustrate and create?
My family, friends, environment, and my own life experiences are all sources of inspiration for me. I find that even the simplest moments in time can be made memorable when captured and immortalized through art. I also draw a lot of inspiration from graphic novels, animated films, and fiction/fantasy novels.
It is a lovely feeling to see how a piece of work can emotionally affect me or sometimes even shift my perspective. The thought of being able to create worlds and characters then share them through my work is exciting to me. Sometimes I hear, experience, or create a story that feels like it needs to be told to the world and I feel an irresistible urge to push it through. My goal is to create evocative, thought-provoking work that encourages people to think about a new idea or lose themselves in a world that I’ve created.
You also create animated short films. How it is different from simply illustration? What changes in your characters when you decide to put them in a context where they speak and act?
When creating an animation, I’m allowed to add an extra layer to my work and give it a more exact voice. By that, I mean that I can quite literally choose the voices and other audio, as well as depict the exact movements that I want to rather than simply imply them.
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While animation leaves less to the imagination of the viewer, it gives the artist more of an opportunity to build their complete world. With my animated characters I can decide on a specific tone for them to speak in and show their personalities more through their body language. They become more defined by my own decisions.
Body Image and the Power of Art
You also focus on body image and how we are comfortable or not with our bodies and society’s expectation of us. How did you decide to create around these topics? What were the feedbacks that you had?
Spending most of my time at home during the quarantine period made me more aware of the disconnect between how I see myself versus how I see myself through the lens of society. I began to question whether the decisions that I made were based on my preferences or those that I had been conditioned to accept as the norm.
When talking to my friends, I realized that these thoughts were not uncommon and that we all felt pressure from outside forces to look or behave a certain way. I decided to create artwork about this in the hopes of spreading the word so that others who feel the same way know that they are not alone.
As I started sharing my work, I had people reaching out to me to let me know that my pieces, especially my comics, resonated with them. Some people were even thanking me for putting their discomfort into words. Those responses have strengthened my eagerness to continue exploring these ideas.
Art Affecting Our Perception of the Self
Do you think art has the power to affect how we perceive the world around us as well as ourselves? If so, can we also suggest that sometimes art also has a healing power when it comes to our discomfort of being?
Yes, I do! I think both creating and viewing the art of any media can work as a means of catharsis at times. In terms of creating, putting your perception of the world into an illustration can help you come to terms with how you feel and see things.
We learn about ourselves and what is important to us when we choose what details to emphasize, what to leave out, and what idea to focus on. Fictional work provides us with an escape and a chance to form our realities, while memoir work can help us let out our emotions and experience some relief.
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Being An Artist After COVID-19
You also created a series called “Life in Isolation,” how did you come up with the idea? Also, how did COVID-19 affect your art and inspiration?
Artists have documented times of uncertainty throughout history. When I realized that we were living through one of those points in time, I decided that I should journal my own experiences and include myself in the narrative. In a year when we were all so isolated, I wanted to share how I and my loved ones spent our time and kept in touch with each other. An unforeseen positive consequence of the pandemic was how much more time I had to explore my artistic ideas and develop my skills. Since I was no longer able to physically go out as much and seek adventure, I found that I was dedicating even more of myself to my work to gain that thrill of completing a satisfying piece of art.
That’s all! Thank you for answering!
To see more of her art, check out Rebecca’s website: here!