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INTERVIEW WITH SILVIA FERPAL
N.: Could you define yourself briefly?
S.F.: I’m a designer and artist. I currently work for national and international clients, sometimes from my studio and other times remotely. I’m entrepreneurial and I’ve always got some project on the go. I like walking everywhere, I like horchata (tiger nut milk), I like colourful socks and I like stationers.
N.: What inspired you to become a graphic designer and visual artist? Was it something you always wanted to do or did you accidentally evolve towards this profession?
S.F.: When I was little, I used to go with my father when he painted, though back then I had no idea what design was. My grandfather always had the latest drawing programs installed on his computer, ready for when I went to his house. As for me, I had The Sims.
When I was a teenager, my sister took me to a Scottish family to learn English. Both the father and the mother worked as designers and, since I had nothing better to do, they used to take me on all the errands they had to run and to all the meetings they had. There I began to see what design was and took an interest in it.
This series of events led me to study Fine Arts in Madrid. In my third year, I did Erasmus in Belgium and there I began studying design subjects for the first time. There was no going back.
N.: Of all the fields that your work covers, which is your favourite? (Typography, illustration, graphic design…?)
S.F.: Most of the projects I do for clients are branding and digital design. I particularly enjoy the ones that are for cultural institutions or brands related to the creative field. I also really enjoy projects where I have to design more physical objects; I love paying attention to materials and finishes.
N.: How did you receive the news that you had won the National Design Award and what has that meant for you?
S.F.: One day, while I was giving classes at the university, I received several calls from a really long number. In the break I went to the toilet, called them back and Pedro Duque picked up, telling me that I’d received the award.
I’m happy to have won an award for projects that don’t just respond to things that traditionally received awards. Now they take into account more emergent disciplines, like digital design.
Since then, a lot of media outlets, universities, festivals, etc. have contacted me to give talks and to tell them what my experience has been like. It's also helped me to feel more secure about the variety of my work and to turn that into a strength.
N.: You’ve lived in Madrid, Belgium, Rome and New York. Which one would you stick with and can you recommend a special spot there where you can go to switch off?
S.F.: Oh, that’s so difficult! Each place has its own. Right now my answer would be Madrid, I guess that’s why I’m here. In another hour, I’d probably say something different. I think my answer has a lot to do with having my own studio and having my own clients. The city has a climate and size that suits my lifestyle. If I worked for another company, I’d go for New York, but if I were retired, I’d say Rome.
To switch off, I’d recommend Boisbuchet. It’s a French domain with a castle and lots of beautiful different architecture right in the middle of nature, just two hours from Bordeaux. Artists, designers and architects stay there to develop their projects in those surroundings and there are a ton of workshops. Not long ago, I spent a month there and it seemed like the perfect place to disconnect but to keep doing things for restless, curious people like me.
Out of the cities mentioned, I’d stick with the old stationers’ stand in the Porta Portese Market in Rome. If anyone who is reading this goes there, please say hi to Roberto from me.
N.: Is there something beyond your profession that draws your attention a lot or that you’re interested in learning more about?
S.F.: I long to know more about nature... about plants, animals and the like. I’ve always lived in cities and I’m completely ignorant in that whole field. (Aptly put!)
I’d also like to learn about dermatology, though, to be honest, not enough to study a degree in medicine.
I also long to learn more and more languages.