For years, details on artist Chiara Bautista, a.k.a Milk have been leaked in dribs and drabs and her interviews are not legion. But she exceptionally accepted to answer some questions for beautiful.bizarre…
But first, let’s introduce her and her amazing art.
At 38 years old, Chiara Bautista is one of the most fascinating artist that has ever been revealed by the Internet. What fascinates is of course her work first, from sketches to digital art and painting, with recognizable gracious lines and elements that connect her to pop surrealism and graphic novels. Indeed every piece of Chiara’s work is inhabited by mysterious and poetic creatures borrowed from fairy tales and released into the modern world. But it’s her story that makes Chiara’s work unique and spellbinding. Not especially her life’s bio, a bachelor’s degree in Graphic design and a long career as an illustrator for the Arizona Daily Star, in her home of Tucson, USA. No, it’s her out-of-this-world, romantic relationship with her muse, nicknamed Ilka, met online and never in real life (as far as we know). The art of Chiara is a real conversation with her muse that we are able to witness, without having the keys of understanding, we are still caught up in all its magic and romance. No need to add more. The artwork and Chiara’s answers will give you a special insight into this enigmatic and fascinating artist.
Where do you find the inspiration for all the lovely creatures that inhabit your drawings (the wolf, mermaids, teddy bears, skeleton birds, etc) ?
The characters and their ongoing stories are made as gifts for people I love. They are usually born from conversations, most of them from a single sentence said at the right time.
There are some references to religion and martyrs in your art : is it an inspiration, and what meaning do you see behind it ?
I’m Mexican, born and raised in México, and religion is a big part of my culture. Religious icons are found and seen everywhere, not only in churches, so I grew up with that imagery as part of the background. The meaning I see in it, varies, and the only thing that never changes is that I’ve always thought they are very beautiful.
You often depict love stories with a sweet melancholy and irony : do you believe in love ?
Of course I believe in love. I’m in love. And even when I’m not in love, I still believe in it.
Do you think that pain is more beautiful to draw than happiness ?
I think everything can be beautiful if presented the right way. It’s all about perspective. You know what they say… for every downside, there’s an upside.
Music is really present in your artworks : how much is it important when you are working ?
I love all kinds of music, I listen to music all the time. Not as much lately due to headphones being banned at work, but hey, I can always sing while I draw. I don’t need music to work, but working is definitely a lot more enjoyable with music.
Have you ever considered doing comics or books ? What are your projects ?
I have a lot of projects and never enough time to work on all of them. On top of my list, comics and graphic novels are something I’d like to try but I’d have to learn and practice a lot first. Telling a story frame by frame requires a lot more than just being able to draw. My admiration goes to all comic artists out there.
Your drawings are often used for tattoos : what do you think of it ? Are you connected with tattoo art?
I find very flattering that people like my work that much and I think it’s really sweet that they find a personal connection to the characters and their stories. As for myself, my only connection to tattoo art are the pictures people share with me when they get my illustrations tattooed on them, and the huge respect I have for tattoo artists.