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Evelin Toledano

Evelin Toledano

Tell us about how you became the woman you are today. Where did you grow up? What moments in life have influenced your character most?

I was born and grew up in Stockholm, Sweden, with my roots in the beautiful island of Lanzarote, Spain, where my mother is from and where I'm currently based.

From a young age, I have always been surrounded by color. My dad loved to paint, and for him, the walls of our house were just another canvas. Every room was a different color and design from orange to shades of ocean blue and even gold. It was a very different environment to grow up in compared to the more traditional paired-back approach of Scandinavian design!

I have also always been on the move between the snow of Sweden and the sun of Lanzarote. It made me curious to see what more was out there. My passion for traveling has been a big part of my life, taking in new cultures and meeting people from around the world. 

So I can't say a specific time that has changed me, but I know that having these contrasts from early on in life, has made me the woman that I am today, and consequently shaped my work. 

Tell us about the exact moment or period in time when you realized you were born to create.

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be an artist, one way or another which I guess might have come from my parents, that were both very creative. To be an artist, for me, means so much more than just art, it means freedom! To be able to have the full freedom of creativity and to be able to express what you feel and what you see. 

Tell us a little bit about what drew you to your illustration. Did you choose to work as an illustrator or did it choose you?

I started my career as a graphic designer, but after many years in the industry, I felt that I didn't have enough space to do my own thing and to express my creativity fully. I quit my job and went traveling for seven months, and at one point on the trip, I started illustrating. I never thought that illustration would have been my calling, but since that day, I haven't stopped! So, I would definitely say that illustration found me! 

A lot of women believe they need formal training in order to succeed as a female Artist. What's your take? Did you have a formal education or are you self taught?

I actually don't think you need much formal training to do anything in life. It all lies within yourself, the effort you put into things and the power of wanting. You can achieve anything; you just need to put your all into it and never give up!

What do you want the younger female artists coming up behind you to know about you, your journey, and the art industry in general?  

I have always been very competitive, which I think is a great trait to have as it has enabled me to adapt, improve and find ways to get to my end goal. But through the years, I have also learned that being a solo player and keeping things to yourself is only a short-term win. Try to find a good balance. Don't be afraid of sharing your thoughts, ideas and beliefs to the world and people around you. And don't be afraid of putting yourself out there unpolished. You get so much more back, and the best way to learn is actually from others.

What is the message you're sending into the universe with your work? Why do you feel so strongly about said message?

I love drawing the female body – I think there is so much beauty in the variety of sizes, tones and shapes. Unfortunately, society has imposed an extreme universal standard that has blocked our vision of real beauty. With my art, I want to encourage people to look beyond that, to see a broader vision of beauty and find peace with their own bodies.

What is the biggest challenge you've faced as a female artist?

I have encountered a lot of difficult scenarios that sadly stem from being a woman. I have been asked out during an interview, judged on my looks or even seen female friends getting paid less or missing out on work because they are women. Unfortunately, this is not new. It's very important to highlight these things and to talk about them. There are many women out there that are ashamed or think this type of situation is normal because no one is speaking about it. We need to help each other by using our platforms where we can to champion these issues, no matter how small or personal they are. 

How do you stay motivated? What does your daily routine look like?

I try to start the day with some self-care – I kick-off with some exercise, a cold shower, meditation and then time for a reward: breakfast. I think starting the day by doing things that your brain is telling you not to do (cold shower being the best example), gives you a power over the doubting or lazy thoughts that inevitably creep in throughout the day. It lets you control your mind and sets the tone going forward.

What is your biggest focus and/or goal in your career right now? What plans do you have for yourself 1,3,5 years from now?

In the near future, I would love to be working with even more global brands as well as developing my personal work and continuing to put on exhibitions. Another passion that I have always had is fashion. To be able to combine my love of fashion and illustration into my work would be a dream come true. 

How do you define your creative gig? Full-time career or side hustle? Explain why you've chosen one over the other. 

I had been working as a graphic designer for over ten years when I quit my job and moved to Australia. I had started illustrating in my spare time, but my bread and butter was still design. I'd supplement this by selling my work in markets or through my online shop.

After a couple of months of doing this, my graphic design gigs started to slow down. At that point, I decided to go full steam ahead and focus primarily on my illustration career. Soon after that, I got the opportunity to do my first big solo exhibition, and that was the big turning point. I started to get contacted by bigger brands, and now my side hustle has become my full-time job!

What do you know for sure?

Where there is a will, there is away. I know it so well that I have it tattooed on my arm!


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