Daniela Attard — Interview
Daniela is a Maltese industry level illustrator and designer with years of in-house experience making, designing, drawing, illustrating, animating and creating concept art for various creative projects. Since 2014 she has been working full time at Warner media / Cartoon Network as a designer.
As well as making illustrations for various commercial projects, Daniela Attard has exhibited her illustrations in galleries across the world, so one could say she has been involved even in the fine-art aspect and context of illustration. Below is our interview with Daniela.
What are your opinions on current Maltese illustration? What do you feel we need more of? Less of?
Maltese illustration has definitely taken a leap forward since the advent of Malta Comic Con, social media such as Insta/Twitter and igaming (as controversial as the industry is). The MCOI has also made a big impact in the last 2 years.
We need more exhibitions and visibility in the public space — something that MCOI has been doing well. Street artists have also been contributing to this (a portion of the active artists are also illustrators). I think we need less separation from the fine art scene and more community collaboration.
Local illustrators and nostalgia — are we too centered on traditional Maltese motifs, architecture, natural landscape or do we need to experiment more and move forward?
I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps I am a bit biased on this because Ive been overseas for a decade and I use Maltese motifs in a nostalgic setting? Experimentation is always good! I also think it’s important to encourage international exchange whether it is through travel of the illustrator themselves or through research and exposure to work of international artists in Malta.
How do you think local illustrators are responding to the rapidly-changing landscape of Malta?
I think the majority of locals are horrified by the rapid development of the island, especially since most of this development isn’t sustainable nor well thought out. Destruction of our heritage and the changing climate are two very important issues and I think illustration is a great medium to protest or raise awareness about this. Illustration itself has a way of distilling ideas and words into art that can be easily understood by the viewer.
Do you think it’s important for Maltese illustrations to be documented?
A lot of artwork pre-photography/industrial era was documentative in nature. If we look at some of our Maltese artists in history such as the Caruana Dingli’s, their work could easily fall under the illustration category. Political cartoons and comics are archived so why not the work of contemporary illustrators?
What would you say is the future of illustration and perhaps more specifically — the future of Maltese illustration?
I think it will go in two ways — emphasis on making beautiful 3D worlds and throwback to traditional figurative/detailed work. I genuinely think we won’t go the NFT route. The market has been oversaturated for months and I also believe it’s taking the soul out of illustration because it’s so mass-produced and meaningless, not to mention the environmental, money laundering and legal grey zone it is in. I don’t blame artists for wanting to make money from this but all the upfront costs are questionable, especially for younger people as it’s sold to them as a way to make quick money without knowing the risks (pyramid scheme tactics).
AI-generated image-makers such as DALLE won’t take our jobs either, machines can’t match art and illustration made by humans because currently machines can’t experience human existence or dread, nor can they currently create art in traditional media the way we do. I reckon we will be using them as tools in the same manner we use Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.
We would like to thank Daniela for answering these questions for us. All of these blog interviews are also being included in a research paper that looks into the documentation of Maltese illustration and observes how local illustrators are being affected by the rapidly-changing landscape of Malta.