Bianca Tschaikner is an Austrian illustrator and printmaker, currently living in Granada, Spain.
An avid traveller and adventurer, Austrian illustrator and printmaker Bianca Tschaikner has made her away throughout Europe and parts of Asia, soaking up the experiences along the way. These journey's have found their way into her work, with ideas and inspirations jotted down in her diary, she was endearingly referred to as the "girl with the sketchbook" by her companions along the way.
We had the great chance of sitting down with Bianca to find out a little bit more about what makes her tick.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I‘m Bianca Tschaikner, I‘m an illustrator and printmaker and I was born in Austria but currently live in Macerata, Italy, doing my MFA in children‘s book illustration.
You seem to travel a lot. Has that always been a passion for you?
Yeah, sort of. I have always been really interested in foreign cultures, in everything that was strange or different. When I was in secondary school I used to go to the public library and read travel guides about the countries I wanted visit, the South Seas or Mexico. When I was twenty, I travelled to Morocco by train, and that‘s where I caught the travel bug. Traveling is the most wonderful thing for me and it is the most important source of inspiration for my creative work.
What’s been your most inspirational journey so far?
My journey to Iran and India last winter. That was an amazing adventure! I was on the road for five months and I saw so many beautiful things and had so many amazing experiences and met so many wonderful people, I‘m still dreaming about it.
Throughout this whole journey I kept a sketchbook, and I usually don‘t show my sketchbook to anyone, but beginning with the Iranians being really curious about my drawings and also having a very special appreciation and understanding of art, this time it began to wander through many hands and everywhere I went I became the “girl with the sketchbook”. It sort of connected me with people, and everybody liked it so much that that it was a huge motivation for me to draw even more – and it somehow became a really important part of my journey.
And right now I‘m working on turning this sketchbook into a book that will be published soon!
You’re currently based in Granada. What’s the creative scene like over there?
I actually left Granada three weeks ago to study in Italy, but my heart is still there and I feel very much at home there, so I‘m sure to be back!
Granada has the same problem as many middle-sized European cities with an extremely rich cultural heritage –everything is about the culture and art of the past, everything is concentrated on the beauty that is already there, a beauty so great that it is hard to compete with, so there is not much space or interest for the new, which of course is not an ideal ground for any creative scene to flourish. So unfortunately there is not really much going in in Granada.
Of course Granada is a magnet for creative people, painters, poets, musicians, but I feel that too many things still happen in the context of the glorious past of the city, which is not really a surprise because you can‘t be in Granada without being totally overwhelmed by its beauty.
So Granada is a great place for inspiration, but the exciting new stuff happens elsewhere.
In 5 years time I’ll be… Hopefully at a beautiful place creating beautiful things.
My favourite artist right now is… I‘m currently looking at lots of children‘s books and I‘m discovering so many really amazing illustrators, so it‘s hard to pick one – but one of my favourites right now is Simone Rea.
The last great film I saw was… Wild tales by Damián Szifron. Breathlessness and excitement from the beginning to the end. I should watch that again!
If I wasn’t doing this I’d be… maybe an art historian or an astronomer.
After a long hard day’s at work, I like to come home and unwind by… reading, cooking, doing some yoga or going for a walk, depending on the amount of energy I have left.