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Meet the maker: French illustrator Lolita Picco

Aug 21, 2014

by Ophélie Le Pocreau

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

We quiz fabulous French seller Lolita Picco, on her inspirations, life in Marseilles and plans for the future …

Could you tell us a little more about you, and how you came to do this?

My name is Lolita Picco, I work as an illustrator, and created my own brand, which I named after myself. I’m 27 years old, and I live in Marseilles, France. I have been working as a freelance illustrator (and graphic designer) for 6 years now.

I took part in a craft market for the first time in 2009 and really liked the ambiance then, as well as the contact with my ‘customers’. This allowed me to gather direct feedback on my work, and convinced me to keep on creating, even though starting out is always a bit difficult money-wise.

It still took me a few years to seriously work on launching my brand, since I had many other jobs. Among these, I worked for an old family-run stationery shop, named “La Papeterie Technique” (The technical paper shop) – hence my love for paper – then for a local clothing brand, “Le Temps des Cerises”, where I discovered the whole textile creation process, which is very useful to me today!

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Do you work full-time for your brand?

I opened my Etsy shop in January, 2013. For the first few months, it was not my main activity; I had quite a few illustration and graphic designs jobs to complete as a freelancer, so I was also working on those at the same time. I launched my collection in 2014, or last December to be more exact, and I am now working full time on my shop, while still accepting jobs as a freelance graphic designer.

I am very thorough in my tasks; I can work on many different things at the same time! Administrative paperwork is what I find the most difficult… I would love to spend my whole days creating, but as a small business, you need to become multifunctional! In truth, managing your work process from A to Z is quite interesting and fulfilling really.

How long have you been living in Marseilles? How does Marseilles inspire you, as far as creation is concerned?

I was born and grew up in Martigues, a town located 30 min away from Marseilles. My family originates from Corsica and Italy, and immigrated in Marseilles in the 40s. My granddad was actually a professional football player with the Marseilles OM football team, and they won the French Cup in 1943 – which we are very proud of! – so my family has a real history with Marseilles.

Marseilles inspires me a lot. Its culture, its speech, its stereotypes, its ambiance… For the last two years now, I have been creating series of postcards and small items such as magnets and keyrings, illustrated with famous phrases and sayings from Marseilles or from the South of France in general.  I like paying a tribute to my city through my creations.

I think that for the last few years – even before 2013 when Marseilles was elected capital city of culture – crafting and designing fields have become very dynamic. There are many talented graphic designers, painters, musicians and artists here. And seeing this creative emulation is great. No matter what people say, Marseilles is full of life!

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Where does your inspiration come from?

I find my main sources of inspiration in our daily life, and especially with my family: most of the photos I use for my illustrations come from my grandparents’ photo albums.

My friends also are a source of inspiration, because they have been calling me “morue” (French for “tart”) for years – but I still like them a lot – as well as my city, Marseilles, which is an unending source of sayings which I like to use in my work…

My inspiration sources are often quite personal. I have a thing with irony as well; I like it when my illustrations make people smile!

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I really like my small notebooks. They are entirely handmade. I collect old school notebooks or account ledgers which I buy in flea markets or which my previous boss from the Paper shop finds in his old stock. Then I use their pages to recreate small and useful notebooks to use on a daily basis.

In our all-digital society, I don’t want to let paper down – writing is so precious! When I am on holidays, I always write postcards to all my friends and to my family. I prefer writing down my ideas in nice notebooks rather than on my smartphone…

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When you are not creating, what do you do?

When I am not creating, I read a lot (usually about a book a week!), I spend time with my friends and my family, I like traveling, getting tanned in the sun on the beach during summer (I am a real Southern gal), taking pictures, and sleeping.

Where would you like to be in ten years’ time?

In 10 years, I would like to have grown my small business, and to be still sending my creations everywhere in the world. And I might like to leave the city center (even though I love it here!) to live nearer the seaside, in Malmousque or l’Estaque for example, in a small and cute house, with my family. And in any case, I still see myself in Marseilles, near my friends and my family, and not too far either from my small Corsican village!

Visit Lolita Picco’s Etsy shop

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