Our series of interviews with creative people in Brussels continues! This time we present Andrea Morass, illustrator and graphic designer who tells us more about her work, inspirations and life in our city.
Hi Andrea! First of all, how did you move to our city?
I came to Brussels at the turn of the millennium together with my husband. He had just passed a “concours” to enter the European Commission and I was lucky to become a blue book stagiaire (trainee) for the MEDIA programme, supporting the European audiovisual industry. Although we both loved Vienna, it was also exciting at the time to start something completely new in Brussels.
Tell us a bit about your career and your work as an illustrator & graphic designer?
I worked in EU affairs and as freelance journalist and frequently wrote newsletters for clients, focusing on content – but at some point – I thought it might be useful, to also learn about designing layouts. Someone recommended the RHoKacademie (RHoK Academie Beeldende & Audiovisuele Kunsten) in Etterbeek and so I started studying graphic design. Since I have always loved drawing, I put an emphasis on illustrations. Recently, I have published my first children’s book – “Herbstbesuch” (autumn visit) that I have written and illustrated myself.
You can find “Herbstbesuch” also in some bookshops in Brussels (such as Filigranes, Avenue des Arts, 39-42 in 1040 Brussels, the German bookshop Gutenbergbuchhandlung in Rue d’Argile 26 in 1950 Kraainem and Librebook in Chaussée de Wavre 128, 1050 Brussels.
What are the things which inspire and influence your work?
For my digital illustrations, I use photoshop and procreate, sometimes illustrator, when I need to vectorize an image. Vectorizing allows for scaling up infinitely without quality loss and is ideal for something like a logo.
After researching my idea, I usually make sketches by hand or in procreate, sometimes I also start out directly from a photo – or I take a photo as basis for the composition. Then I choose my colors, textures and add light and shadows, using using a mixture of techniques – pencils, watercolor, ink etc.
I am inspired by nature – the change of the seasons, but also by people, moods and everyday situations. But on my website, you will also find patterns and flowers and some mock-ups to display my designs in real life.
You can have a look at my website: www.andreamorass.com to check out my style and contact me for every kind of project you would like to realize. I am also designing postcards, posters, brochures, business-cards, TShirts or mugs.
Brussels is of course also an inspiration and I would like to remind all expats, that for most of them – even though it may seem to be eternity – at some stage – their “Brussels-time” could come to an end.
Many people stay here for a couple of –years, some until retirement – and then normally consider moving back to their home countries. Most of them live quite a stressful life, especially when they combine their busy careers with family – and yes, they will frequently remain stuck in the EU-quarter and see the main sights of Brussels when family and friends visit. I believe that everyday situations may also be interesting and maybe more so compared to yet another picture of the whole family in the year xxxx with friends on Grand Place or in front of the Atomium. So – I recommend taking pictures from spots of the ‘commune’ where you live. Making an illustration based on a photo opens up another way of recreating memories – and I am also offering to do such illustration work.
Even ugly spots can be inspiring and yes, the EU quarter is maybe not really charming and it is in danger of becoming an even more deserted place, since return to the office will become different than what it was before Covid and small restaurants may have been forced to close their business during COVID19.
Personally – I also enjoy some parts of Saint Gilles, or Ixelles or the area around Place Flagey which feels different to Woluwe – where I live.
What are your plans & hopes for the coming period?
I hope that things will gradually go back to normal after the pandemic so people can also enjoy the benefits of living in a busy city again – I really missed going out to theatres, concerts, exhibitions and the cinema. In this spirit – I am also happy to work on a poster for a documentary on the revival of the arts after COVID19.
You also made some Brussels-inspired illustrations – what are the things that catch your eye in the city?
I recently made an illustration about a part of Schaerbeek (Square Eugène Plasky), where I usually try to pass during the cherry blossom (and on the way to my excellent tailor “Les Ciseaux family’s Elegance”, Avenue Emile Max 109, 1030 Bruxelles). This year I came by exactly the day after the first restaurants and cafes were allowed to open their doors after Covid – and it was so beautiful, to see people again sitting outside and enjoying themselves.
Your perfect day in Brussels? (you can share places you like and usually visit, favourite cafe, bakery or other stuff you like doing in the city…)
On a perfect day I would sleep longer and later have breakfast with my family enjoying croissants or magnificent patisserie from Patisserie de Baere, Avenue Heydenberg 20, Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, and then would read the papers and play the piano.
Since I have children, there is normally the family shopping on my list at Delheize or Carrefour – but also the usual things like bringing kids somewhere for parties or activities – such as playing football in Tervuren (Wezembeek Wanderers FC). I do a lot of my shopping in Rue des Tongres – not a very long street, but quite charming – sometimes I make an exception and buy myself something nice at EXCEPTION, 45 rue des Tongres, 1040 Bruxelles. I also love their quote on the wall: shopping is cheaper than therapy.
In an ideal world I would probably head to the gym at ASPRIA Royal la Rasante in Woluwe Saint Lambert where I can also use the indoor pool or play tennis and when the weather is nice enjoy a drink on the beautiful terrace outside.
Still, in summer I always miss outdoor pools in the city. In the afternoon, I would love to stroll around Place Sablon, do some window shopping in art galleries and maybe pop in to Flamant or go to place Chatelain/Brugmann in Ixelles for design and books. But usually there is less time – so I prefer Cook and book at Wolubilis.
On some special occasions, we would probably choose a restaurant in the evening around Sablon. I am also curious about Sanzaru, which serves Japanese/Peruvian food in Avenue de Tervueren 292, so, I might try that one soon.
Some of Andrea’s illustrations are now on display in GC Kontakt, Avenue Orban 54 in Woluwe Saint Pierre until the 1st of October 2021.