Behind The Scenes with Wildlife Artist Lisa Rampilli

The Italian artist brought the Amazon jungle to life for us—and shared her colorful inspiration and thoughts on why painting is like makeup.

The swirling, almost psychedelic illustrations that have become artist Lisa Rampilli’s signature bring to life the world of botanical wonders that we obviously adore here at Chantecaille. We tapped the talented Italian to dream up an artful rendition of the Amazon to accompany our Spring Hummingbird collection, and wanted to know more about her creative process and how she is inspired by the natural world.

Botanicals seem to be especially alluring to you—is that because you grew up with parents who were obsessed with plants?
My parents are both biologists, with my mom specializing in ecology. They've given me a particular sensitivity and attention to the interactions between living organisms and their environment. They've opened my eyes to the wonder of nature and have fostered a love for all living forms.

"If I think about makeup and how it is applied, I can only think of painting: makeup underlines and highlights the beauty that is in a face."

The bio on your website says you have “always drawn”—what did you draw when you were young?
Since I was a child I have meticulously observed the smallest living beings, insects and plants, and began to draw them at a young age. My sources of inspiration were the books on botany and ethnology in my family’s library, and live observation of animals and plants around me. I studied painting and drawing and combined my most primitive knowledge with the techniques learned during my studies.

What kind of research did you do for the Amazon illustrations you created for us?
The Amazon contains the most biodiversity on the planet, with many varied life forms. I found images of plants, flowers and animals portrayed from multiple points of view in order to understand the formal characteristics, then interpreted them through my own style. I chose to give the composition a lush, intricate look, drawing the two large trees as if they were skyscrapers inhabited by different families of mushrooms, flowers, and monkeys.

Where do you find inspiration?
I have a large archive of images that includes both photographs I take during my travels and images from vintage science books, comics, illustrated fairy tales and encyclopedias.

Your work seems to often find its way onto silk–is there something about creating art for a scarf that you find especially alluring?
Working with fabric is an ancient tradition, which has made the scarf a classic object and a special accessory. It's like a painting that can be worn, making it something superfluous but indispensable at the same time.

Does your artistic nature lend itself to beauty? Do you love makeup?
As a teenager, I experimented a lot with makeup. It is amazing to see how it can transform a face! I used a lot of eye pencils and eyeshadow—I had fun perfecting a cat eye. Today I love wearing very minimal makeup, but could never give up lipstick in various shades of red, from bright cherry to dark wine. If I think about makeup and how it is applied, I can only think of painting: makeup underlines and highlights the beauty that is in a face. For this reason I compare it to painting as a practice aimed at discovering beauty in real life.


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