Sunday, June 26, 2016

Spotlight Sunday - Claudia Renzi


Spotlight Sunday is a series of interviews designed to introduce and highlight Chicago Urban Sketchers to one of its own. Now that our chapter has eclipsed the 500 member mark, it became more of a challenge to meet every member in person and have a conversation. The hope is that, through these interviews, you will get to know a little more about one artist and read their story in their own words and sketches.

Interview by: Andrew Banks (AB)

AB: Hi Claudia, thank-you for taking the time to talk and to tell our group a little bit about yourself!

How did you first hear about the Urban Sketchers community and what made you decide to join Urban Sketching Chicago?

© Claudia Renzi
I heard about Urban Sketching Chicago from Don Yang and Alex Zonis. We both take Don's Portrait class. They told me great things about this group and I needed a way to deal with life stresses at that moment. I find drawing very relaxing.

AB: That's awesome.  I also find urban sketching very relaxing.  There is something very meditative about focusing on capturing a scene on paper and blocking everything else out for a while.

AB: Did you sketch before finding USk Chicago?  If so, when did you start sketching?

Yes I have been drawing off and on since college, but never professionally. It has always been a hobby of mine. For the past couple of year I have tried to take it a bit more seriously.

AB:  I believe that you recently held a booth for the first time at the Wells Street Art Fair, and it looks like many of the pieces you were selling were urban sketches?  How did you like the experience, and how did people respond to your work?  Would you recommend other urban sketchers to pursue their own booth at an art fair?

CR: Yes, most of my drawings where urban sketches. Some where done in the spot and some where done at home from a picture (the theaters). Having a booth at the Wells Street Art Fest was a great and exiting experience, but since work a full time job as an Art Director for Crate and Barrel, preparing the artwork was very stressful and expensive in comparison to the profit. People responded favorably, I got lots of great complements and positive feedback. Specially Architects!!! It's good for getting your name out there. (I ran out off business cards) I also confirmed that people who attend festivals are not there to spend money in original art. I was able to sell lots a prints and stationary. Everyone should try it at least once.

AB:  What is your favorite medium to sketch with?

Moleskine Watercolor Sketch book, Japanese Platinum Carbon Ink for a Super Fine Fountain Pen.

AB: Interesting!  This is my "go to" sketch kit too.  I do a lot of ink drawing also, so I really identify with and enjoy your work.  It is always fun to see similarities and differences in other sketcher's work, especially when the sketcher has an overall similar style to your own.  Your work has definitely caught my eye and inspired my own work

AB:  Has urban sketching ever had an impact on your day job as a Graphic Designer?  If so how?

© Claudia Renzi
CR: Yes, it has. It has helped me mostly with conceptual design. I can more easily illustrate/explain logo and layout ideas. I am the kind of graphic designer that likest to sketch before working directly on the computer. My sensitivity to details has improved, specially when it comes to typographical solutions.

AB: Are there any Urban Sketchers who inspire your own work?

Yes of course. Many inspire me.  You, Alex Zonis, Don Yang, Fred Polito, Chris Buczinsky and  Adriana Gasparich. Just to name a few.AB: If you could chose the next location for the our group's monthly meet up, where would it be?  In other words, where is your favorite place in Chicago to sketch?

CR: Montrose Harbor in the summer. Any Chicago Theater in the winter.

AB:  Montrose Harbor would be a great summer location.  I actually spend a lot of time there myself, walking my dog and sketching too.

AB:  Do you have any websites, blogs or social media accounts where people can see more of your work?

Design website:
Fine art website:
Facebook page:
Studio Renzi (Etsy):

AB: Thanks Claudia! Your websites are really well done!  It has been a pleasure, and I look forward to seeing more of your work!

© Claudia Renzi

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