Sun, shade and imaginary houses – as seen through the eyes of illustrator Ana Popescu

Ana Popescu, an artist and illustrator based in Vienna, Austria, first caught our eye with her imaginary mid-century modernist villas in April 2017. Two years on, and she’s impressing us once again. With a client list filled with brands such as Riwoma, Canal+ and Zeit Magazin, Ana has also completed her first book cover illustration and collaborated with Dare to Rug – designing rugs that were shown at this year’s Salone del Mobile 2019.

Besides her commercial portfolio update, Ana has also been working hard on her personal endeavours. “I still work around the theme of space, interior and the outside – light is also still playing a big role,” says Ana, when asked whether her illustrative style or process has changed in any way. “But in the last couple of years, I have experimented with the ways I represent what’s in my mind.”

Detailed, structured and highly pictographic, her illustrations emphasise modern architecture and interiors in the most idyllic of situations; infused with sun and colour, these are scenes that we can only dream of visiting. And for those who are new to the work of Ana, she refers to her imagery as the “representation of space, and the relation between bold colours and geometrical shapes.” To achieve these complex and intricately composed works, her day usually begins with administrative tasks for the most of it, after which she hits her deadlines. “If I have none, I stay until late and I paint or draw,” she says. “When nothing works, I take the Molotow markers and draw randomly – the colours and textures usually make me feel happy!”

Shade is her most recent ongoing series. Over the course of a year, Ana spent her time taking countless pictures and was drawn towards the shapes imprinted on buildings and floors when the sun glistens overhead – this inspired and formed many of her sketches. “Shade is something that is short-lived, so every moment represented is unique in its own way. I find it fascinating to see how light can change a setting,” she says. “My other ongoing project is a series of acrylic paintings called Blue Bathroom, representing corners of different imaginary bathrooms that are covered in tiles.” She adds: “I am totally fascinated by the aesthetic of tiles and how it fragments everything.”

Elsewhere, Homes, another ongoing project that began in 2016, depicts multiple scenes of various imaginary houses. “I called them homes in a kind of ironic way, since these are empty scenarios – they don’t really give the feeling of a home. These are more homes from a parallel universe in which the people disappeared.”

So what’s next for this momentous illustrator and her keen eye for detail? “At the moment, I am waiting to release some new collaborations and until then, I plan to paint bigger pictures,” she says. As well as working on more projects with textiles and book covers in the near future, she’s also got a trip to Japan booked in for a short artist residency programme – “I am really excited.”