Illustration: Olimpia Zagnoli

John James Audubon rhapsodized about the Purple Gallinule “flirting its tail while gaily moving over the broad leaves of the water-lily,” its “graceful movements, and rich hues of its glossy plumage!” Upon seeing his painting, Olimpia Zagnoli was similarly blown away by the bird’s splendor. Zagnoli, 33, is known for a style that mingles soft shapes and vibrant hues. A fan of punk rock, city architecture, and the late American artist and social activist Keith Haring, she lives in Milan, where fashion and style play a strong part in her bold illustrations. When she is working on a subject she first sketches it on paper to play with ideas and how she wants to frame them, then brings them to life on a digital tablet. “I try to always add a touch of irony to my work to make it look artistic but not too serious,” she says. “Audubon’s Purple Gallinule is incredible. I hope my art could generate the same feeling I got when I first saw it.” 

Illustration: John James Audubon

 

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