Growing up close to Pratt University in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, illustrator and comic artist Olivia Fields’s life has always been saturated by art. “A creative career found its way to me through my curiosity and fascination,” she says. “Even though it was something I was always doing, I never knew the kind of art I wanted to make to support myself.” Studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the School of Visual Arts, she discovered the range of possibilities that the illustration field offers, including printmaking, silkscreen and Risograph, as well as editorial illustrations. “I was very fortunate to begin working with editorial illustration while still in school,” Fields recalls. “My very first job was with The Marshall Project, a digital news site that focuses on events and stories revolving around criminal justice. My now longtime art director Celina Fang reached out almost immediately after I completed the job to ask if we could work together again. I’m very grateful for the chance she took on me.” Now, Fields creates dreamy compositions brimming with symbols and vibrant colors, but perhaps what is most striking is her elegant, clean linework, a technique she describes as a defining characteristic of her work. “When I was a freshman in high school, my linework used to be super shaky,” she explains. “During this time, … [artists like Rosemary Valero-O’Connell and F Choo had] confidence and appeal in the quality of their linework that captivated me. I opted to work in ink when I sketched—no pencil—practicing my contour by drawing from life and being more selective with my line. I worked this way for so long that it became my default, and I could see a significant progression with my shape language in my illustrations. This is still true today.”
With an exploratory approach, this Helsinki-based designer constantly searches for boundaries she can push.