Born and raised in rural Columbia before moving to Mexico, artist, illustrator and textile designer Stefania Tejada’s work is inspired by the culture, people, fashion and vibrancy of South America. A childhood spent surrounded by lush, tropical landscapes is evident in her graphic, colourful work that often revolves around the theme of botany, women and nature. After spotting her recent collaboration with Brazilian brand, Bossa Concept, we got in touch with Stefania to find out more about her fabulous botanical illustration and artistic inspirations. Discover more and follow Stefania on Instagram @stefaniatejada
First of all, let’s start off with a little bit about you Stefania, what’s your story?
I’m Stefania Tejada, born in 1990. A fashion illustrator and designer. I was born in a small town in Colombia, called Tuluá. It’s in a valley, a beautiful place surrounded by the most amazing botanical landscapes, you see green everywhere you look.
Growing up my parents felt it was important for my sister and me to learn things; sports; craft; design; music; everything available to us. Looking back I think I went through every single course you could find in that little town. But one thing that really stayed with me was the necessity to create, through art or design.
I moved to Bogotá to attend college for Fashion Design, I lived there for about three years and the moved to Monterrey, México for my final year of college. I believe this was the most important moment and the one that defined the person I am today. I learned so much about their culture, design, fashion, personal relationships and the most important thing; I learned so much about myself. I became the person I am today. I learned about collaborations, about working with others towards the same goal and to share everything that life gave me with the ones around me. To be grateful for the people around me.
I have worked with fashion magazines in Mexico City, I also worked at Savvy Studio in Monterrey last year as a Communication Strategist, and now I work at BBDO in Bogotá as a Graphic Designer and Content Producer and I keep doing my own work as an illustrator.
I’m generally very private about my feelings and I only share pieces of myself with the most important people in my life so for me illustration is the way I communicate with the rest of the world without having to say a word. My work says it all.
We love the look of your fabulous new project with Bossa Concept, can you tell us more?
Alessandra Cavalcante, the founder of Bossa Concept contacted me a while ago through Instagram and wanted to work together. She wanted a new design stationery for her brand which is completely inspired by Brazilian culture.
We wanted the brand to represent the country where she came from. We wanted that from the moment you saw the pieces you would think of Brazil; through the tiles, the botanical, the women and the fashion pieces which are designs of Brazilian brands that are currently sold at the store.
We wanted to complement the vibe that every person feels the minute they walk into the store and every single piece has to represent what the store stands for.
Tell us about your experience with Instagram…
At the beginning, I had it only for personal use, but with time and especially when I started illustrating I started taking it more seriously as a way of communicating my personal beliefs and my work. I started creating a line of work and mood that you can see from the minute you see my account.
These days I post photos of my work, art pieces that I love, photos of my travelling and of course botanical.
Instagram has completely exceeded my expectations. It’s the most important of all my social media accounts since most of my clients have found me there.
What is your approach to posting images?
It’s more “go with the flow” kind of thing. Whatever feels right for me and really communicates. I usually write quotes or lyrics that speak to me in some kind of way. I have a lot of notebooks that I’ve been filling during the years: thoughts, feelings, lyrics, phrases, book quotes, anything really. If it speaks to me and my soul then it will go straight to my notebook. I suppose it’s something like a diary.
I think my only advice is, do whatever feels right for you and don’t really overthink it. The more truthful and real you are with yourself and with others, the more people can relate to your work. The right people.
Who do you most admire?
Rocca Luis Cesar, from México, mixed media, his work projects a lot of nostalgia and it’s inspired by music and film; @roccaluiscesar
Andrea Martinez del Muro, also from México. She is a photographer, a sensitive photographer and I really relate to what she writes on her photographs, very truthful and honest. It makes you feel and for me that’s everything; @andreamtzdelmuro
Laura Gulshani, she recently did a collaboration with Burberry and I must say her pieces are stunning. She is inspired by runway shows, very detail oriented and a lot of colour and patterns; @lauragulshani
Lucie Birant, I love her mix of abstract brushstrokes and fine lines. @luciebirant
Mònica Subidé. The textures she creates, the contrast, the unfinished details and her entire compositions; @monicasubide
Carlota Guerrero, she is a photographer and art director from Barcelona. Her work is all about the human body, self-expression, movement and honesty; @carlota_guerrero
I think the list is really long, some other artists, photographers and designers I admire are: @katya_zvereva_art, @aaaaaureliaaaaa, @robertaeiner, @sonia_szostak, @cp.mar, @juaahdz, @henriettaharris, @wadejeffree, @letasobierajski, among others.
Last but not least, tell us about your relationship with flowers, foliage and plants…
I have always being surrounded by nature. My mother is obsessed with plants, gardens and all types of flowers so our houses have the most stunning “jungle” gardens which I absolutely adore. I don’t really have a favourite. They all have such a strong personalities, it’s really hard to just choose one.
They are part of my art because as a woman I feel a really strong connection between the human body and nature. I mean it’s where we came from, we are nature. I believe it has such a feminine power and an amazing feeling. It’s just honest. It feels like home.