A Wayfair illustrator, Julia Emiliani combines a design element with more traditional artistic elements to make her work pop. The 25-year-old began uploading her work to Instagram @juliaemiliani for exposure and motivation. Emiliani spoke with the Globe about being a maker and an illustrator.
Q. How would you describe your beat as an artist?
A. I would describe it all under the umbrella of illustration. A lot of my work varies in subject matter and execution, whether I’m doing it digitally or by hand or with paint or with markers. But I would consider myself an illustrator. And from that, I'm also a maker, I guess you could say, because I use my illustrations to inspire products that can be usable as accessories or whatever, which I have in my Etsy shop.
Q. You’re also an illustrator at Wayfair. What’s that like?
A. Yes, I am. That’s my full-time gig. I guess you would say it's kind of a combination of illustrating internally for things on the site, whether that be iconography that exists on a product page describing things or providing sort of instructional illustrations on how to do [something]. That’s sort of half of it.
And then the other half of it is that we're starting to build out and kind of make more of a presence with the Wayfair brand, with some illustrations that will be more consumer-facing that you may see on direct mail pieces, or on the site in a couple of different spots and a couple different avenues. I also illustrate for our catalog and some other pieces, just some illustrated elements that work with designs that the graphic designers use to sort of dress up pages that sort of rely more on, like, seasonal-based decor.
Q. Most of your work uses very vibrant, bright colors that pop off the page. You also incorporate words a lot. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?
A. I definitely love color. It’s a big one for me. I really can’t not use color. I find it very interesting and like to use that as much as possible. And I'm also very interested in typography. I would say that illustration is a bit of a cross between fine arts painting and then design. So for me, prior to my full-time job as an illustrator, I used to be a designer, a graphic designer, and I sort of adopted a sense of typography through that. So sometimes it’s just really fun to sketch out letters and words and I do that a lot for Etsy orders. It’s just like sort of my own “fonts,” you could say, that I’ve developed over time. It’s something that comes naturally to me.
Q. With your Etsy, do you do commissioned works or do people purchase things that you’ve already made?
A. There's the online shop, where I have things for sale obviously through there, so transactions happen online via Etsy. And then I also, more so in the holiday season and less now, you'll see me tabling at different events around Boston. There's different craft fairs and art markets and things like that I will take my Etsy shop to and set it up on a table, so I’ll get sales through that as well.
Q. A lot of your work is online. Has that influenced your art in any way?
A. I do think having a sort of updated, groomed online presence can be important if you’re trying to get exposure or things like that. It definitely helps with that, and then for me personally, Instagram for me is like keeping a contemporary art gallery. I can follow my friends who are artists and make friends with other local artists. It’s a good way to connect on that platform. And then if you just go to the “Explore” tab, there's so much more artwork to discover, so I find that it’s a reciprocating relationship. I find it constantly inspiring.