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Sella Molenaar
(27) is an Amsterdam-basedillustrator who has
done jobs for big brands such as Dolce & Gabbana,
H&M and Harper’s Bazaar.
Because she draws women with a strong appearance,
many people categorize her work as feministic,
and she is totally fine with that.

“There’s a piece of me in every illustration I make.
A subconscious self-portrait crawls into the picture,
I guess introspection is a part of my creative process.
I do not necessarily see myself as a strong woman,
but I would definitely like to become one’’

Sella shares her fascinations through her work.
The women she illustrates always show some kind
of disfigurement and have a mystic, intense look in their eyes.

According to Sella, we need strong women now more
than ever, because our society is ever-changing.

“I focus on women in particular. My drawings are
very personal and I can only draw them like this because
I know what it’s like to be a woman. I also think that
there is still a lot of progress to make in that area.
The privileged white man already owns a well-defined
spot in society, so they’re less interesting to draw.”

Sella has collaborated with several major brands.
“I really like that I don’t have to ‘sell’ myself.

People and organisations approach me and ask me to illustrate
for them. I do a lot of live illustration sessions and I’m
actively showing my work on Instagram. I make sure that I put myself out there, that I’m visible for the world.”

“Right now we long for people who know what
they stand for. To do that, you need a certain kind
of strength and confidence. When you share your beliefs 
in a way the world can’t ignore, other people will follow.”

 

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It wasn’t like I had an epiphany, like, I didn’t drawThis young ambitious illustrator is not the type of artist
that sits around in her studio, waiting for people to come to her.

“It helps that I like to meet new people. As an artist it
yourself and that you keep reinventing your concepts.
Sometimes I do that by simply proposing my client’s
something completely different than what they have
asked for. You have to take a risk from time to time.’’

One of her biggest dreams is to have a place of her
own, where Amsterdam’s creatives can join their forces. A shared
workplace for people who work with their hands.

“I used to have a beautiful classic studio, where I worked
a lot by myself, but it didn’t make me as happy as I thought
it would. I need other people around me. To make good
work, I need to be stimulated. It would be amazing to
create an inspiring environment and share it with others.
A place with a monthly open exhibition and where we can
host events.”

One thing is for sure: she will never put down her pencil.

“This is what I am meant to do. Drawing gives me the
peace and quiet that I need. I will keep on illustrating
strong women, but there are definitely going to be different
projects in the future.”

Interview by Yalou Slöetjes
Photo’s by Janneke Nooij