Amber Vittoria’s illustrations do not show your average supermodels. Instead, the women have irregular shaped bodies, unusual faces and hairy legs. But like true models, they casually flaunt Fendi fur coats, flashy Nike sneakers or colorful Gucci outfits. But it’s not only their fashion gear that make these wonderful creatures so interesting.
“A lot of the women I draw are inspired by people I see every day,” Amber explains. “I feel, especially now, in the beauty industry-media, the depiction of women tends to be similar – caucasian and thin. There is so much beauty in forms and colors outside of that! I really want to push this forward in my work.”
So we see a voluptuous woman, relaxing on her side while showing off a Gucci scarf. It’s also why these characters have distinct facial features and more body hair than we’re used to seeing in commercials.
The illustrator loves fashion because she sees it as wearable art. “I’m an artist working on a canvas that doesn't move; I have a lot of control over how it's seen and portrayed. The ability to make art that lives on a person is very inspiring to me.” She likes brands like Gucci and Fendi, because they experiment with form, color and pattern in a similar way to her style.
Contrary to most illustrators, who tend to start with analogue sketching and finish with digital coloring, Amber works the other way around. She draws the colorful shapes on a computer, prints them out with an old laser jet – because of the nice texture – and adds facial features, hair and other line work by hand with a brush pen. “Yeah, it's a little backwards isn't it?” she laughs. “I flip flop.”
Amber's work critiques the fashion industry, but simultaneously she adores it. It’s a space where she can insert her work and start having important conversations. “Anger is a great source of fuel, but I think that if you execute on that emotion, it definitely needs to be something that's more forward-thinking. I’d like it to be progressive and less reactionary,” she says.
With her energetic brushstrokes and depictions of these unique women, Amber's work forms an optimistic and important addition to discussions around diversity, representation and the perception of beauty in the fashion scene. And of course, they are incredibly fun to look at.