I first came across Bernadette Pascua a while back now after discovering her beautiful blog
- decade diary- which is a homage to over a decade of Bernadette living in New York.
What I find special about her work is the way in which she uses watercolour to create texture & movement… & of course because fashion is infused in my blood I am obviously drawn to her subject matter.
(Bernadette has created illustrations for Vogue, W, & Glamour Magazine along with Dior, Tiffany & Co to name a few)
She is also an absolute delight & amazingly talented, this is why Bernadette is in my opinion one of the most sought after illustrators worldwide.
Please check out the interview I did below with Bernadette !
How would you best describe what you do? Finding beauty in ordinary things.
What do you enjoy most about your work? That I'm doing something that I truly love.
What has been your most creative/rewarding or fun project so far? The personal projects that I've been working on my own are definitely the most creative, rewarding and fun. When I'm working on a project with a client it becomes more theirs than it is mine, I'm simply just the medium channeling what they want the finished product to be. That's why all of my client projects look so different, because they were all conceptualized by different people. So I really enjoy when I am in full control. The things I make on my own tend to be more abstract because it’s like taking a break from all of the specificity. It feels really rewarding.
You do the most beautiful illustrations, is fashion something you are drawn to as a subject matter because you studied Fashion illustration & Textiles or do you also enjoy other types of illustration? Growing up I've always been drawn to Fashion because of my mom. My mom came from that time when women still had an old fashioned approach to dressing where you took the extra care to always look your best. But she also had a side to her where she liked dressing a bit edgier so she learned how to sew so that she could make her own clothes. She instilled those same sensibilities in me and my sisters, always making sure we were well dressed but also letting us be creative with what we wore. My mom would make clothes for us if we couldn't find it, so it went from her making me little floral prairie dresses I imagined for myself in fourth grade to homemade skinny leather pants in high school. My older sister's copies of Sassy magazines and music bands I liked really inspired me with clothes at a young age. But living in a small town, there weren't many cool places to shop at so my mom would take me to thrift shops. We'd find the most beautiful vintage pieces from decades past. That's when vintage was good. So it was never about "designer" fashion, it was just a pure attraction to a kind of self expression. It wasn't until I got to the city when I discovered Fashion Illustration at FIT, like it was meeting of two great worlds and I've been into it since. I originally intended to study general Illustration, so I do enjoy other types of Illustration, I hope to get into Illustrating my own Children's books one day.
What do you like most about using watercolour?I like how capricious it is. No two strokes are ever the same. There's a real spontaneity to it and even though its nature is to appear really delicate and light, you can make it bold.
Do you have any hobbies/interests? Or collect anything? Illustration and Painting is pretty much my biggest hobby, but I also enjoy reading books and watching old movies. Listening to music and Rocky, our Shiba Inu. Gardening and cooking with Andrew. Andrew is a Photographer and has a small cache of all kinds of cameras so I love taking photos. Andrew also funnily enough got me into basketball, so just like knowing models names, I somehow also know all of these NBA players names. I hate sports but being active has also become a regular interest for me, I workout at the gym five days a week. It's become a ritual and I enjoy that I get to turn off my phone for those two hours.
The reason why Andrew and I had to move out to Brooklyn where the apartments are roomier is because I collect so much stuff! Right now I collect Art and Photo books, vinyl records and vintage hand painted china pieces. I love collecting things, it's always been something I loved to do. When I was little I used to collect stamps, rocks, pressed leaves and flowers. It's not so much about the value the collection accrues but more about collecting a memory. So even if I know a photo book I'm guessing is going to be worth something someday, I'll also remember that I got it on a Sunday, with Andrew and that the sun was out.
Favourite places in the world? Paris. Being there is the same feeling I had when I first moved to New York City. It will always be that lover city in my mind, like when New York's treating me bad I always say, okay there's always Paris. Even the sunlight is different there. Living in New York you get spoiled with having everything at your fingertips so Paris is the only other city I've been to that can give New York a real run for its money. The cultural achievements that Paris holds is so incredible, to walk the same streets as some of the greatest old artists and writers is inspiring. I also like that Paris respects that, that it takes pride in keeping its old roots in its architecture and structure. New York has a tendency to tear down the old and build something disgustingly modern. I've always been attracted to old souls and Paris is the most beautiful one I've met.
Do you feel that living in New York inspires your work in anyway? & Is there a good support network of creative types? Even when I wasn't living in New York City it inspired me because it was that place I would dream about living in. It made me want to work harder so that could come true. When I did move to New York, I was still very young — seventeen, so my formative years in the city have totally shaped me. Just like Woody Allen says in Manhattan, New York is a place that has made me tough but also a romantic. I think that same combination can definitely describe the style of my work.
It's funny because readers of my blog always send me messages and ask me how it is that I get work with Illustration. And my answer to them is to step away from the computer and actually meet people. The majority of projects I've gotten were through word of mouth, people I've personally met during my eleven years here in the city. When I first moved to New York, there was zero social media and it was all about face-to-face interactions. I would go out a lot, go to a lot of parties and work with cool people at little shops. I loved being in the same social circles as a lot of young kids also hungry for anything creative. A lot of those people ended doing some really incredible things and getting great positions in Fashion, Art, Music, Food, etc. Everyone in those industries in New York is definitely connected somehow, there's no real support network because everyone is so busy, but it is nice when that web comes back to you and creates something good.
Favourite Book? Favourite movie? I have too many favorites. But if I had to narrow it down, it would be Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte just because it's got a little bit of everything, from true love to ghosts. Favorite movie would have to be La Collectionneuse by Eric Rohmer because I've never watched any other movie that causes such a visceral reaction that is not based on shock value but something beautiful, like you can literally really feel the summer on your skin.
What inspires you? Great artists from the past and daily life. I love going to museums, galleries and the library for quick inspiration. The real challenge is being able to find inspiration in the everyday, design is everywhere and I always keep my eyes open for those moments.
Favourite Places in NYC? Another answers where I have too many favorites to name. Though my all time favorites would have to be: Film Forum, Diner/Marlow and Sons, The Neue Galerie, The Met, The Morgan, The New York Public Library, Sprout Flower Shop, under the oak trees in Central Park, Dimsum in Chinatown, Barneys 4th Floor Shoe Department, and now that summer is here the Van Leuween Ice cream Store.
Thank you Bernadette !♡
To check out more of Bernadette Pascua's work please check out www.bernadettepascua.com