The Q&A: Mirko Cresta

By Peggy Roalf   Monday November 12, 2018

Q: Originally from Ticino, what are some of your favorite things about living and working in Zürich?

A: I was born and grew up in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland and for a long time I lived in Milan. I moved to Zurich about ten years ago. Here I can enjoy an excellent quality of life. Zurich is not a big city, so you can easily move from one place to another simply by walking or cycling. But I'm lazy and I prefer to use the public transports that are always on time—like a Swiss clock. 


Q: Do you keep a sketchbook? What is the balance between art you create on paper versus in the computer?

A: For a while I tried to keep a sketchbook but at the end it always ended to be forgotten on a bookshelf. Now when I have an idea I roughly sketch it on a sheet of paper and then i photograph it with my mobile phone to not forget it. I create all of my illustrations digitally.

Q: What is the most important item in your studio?

A: My iPad Pro with my Apple Pencil. They allow me to draw anywhere, but at the end I always finish the work on my laptop, at my desk.


Q: How do you know when the art is finished—or when to stop working on it?

A: Luckily, there's always a deadline for commissioned work. For my personal projects it’s more complicated; sometimes I work until I’m exhausted.  

Q: If you had to choose one medium to work in for an entire year, eliminating all others, what medium would you choose?

A: I am a digital freak. Only in case of a global technological apocalypse, I might think about going back to paper.

Q: What elements of daily life exert the most influence on your work practice?

A: My illustrations are strongly influenced by my instincts. Often ideas appear in my head like a lightning and and a shiver goes down my spine. This feeling means that it is a good idea.

Q: What was the strangest/most interesting assignment you've taken that has an important impact on your practice, and what changed through the process?

A: Years ago I got in touch with the art magazine Drome, which gave me the opportunity to create a self-directed work. I drew a story inspired by the script Les dix-huit seconds [Eighteen Seconds] by [French poet/dramatist*] Antonin Artaud and I wrote a short text by revisiting the lyrics of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “St. Matthew’s Passion”. The final result was a series of fifteen small minimalistic illustrations. It was my first illustration project and and in the following years I have received many compliments on it. This made me think that maybe illustration was my vocation.

Q: What would be your last supper?

A: Everything that can be accompanied with well flavored mashed potatoes. 

Mirko Cresta, born 1975, is an art director and illustrator living in Zurich. His clients include Johns Hopkins Health Review, Reportagen Magazine, Tricycle Magazine, Robb Report Muse, and The Washington Post, among others. His style combines realistic details and vibrant colors. Irony allows him to deal with sensitive, social, political and topical issues, avoiding being didactic or overly empathetic. His work has been recognized by American Illustration, AOI, CA, European Design Award, Lürzer's Archive and 3x3 Magazine.

Images, top to bottom:
"Sleepless night", personal work; "Free in Captivity" for Tricycle
“Influencer”, personal work; "Taming your finances" for The Washington Post
"Don’t wait for the rain” and "Sotschis Soundtrack”, Cover and illustration for a book by Dmitrij Grawisch
“Tolerance” personal work; "Asocial network", personal work

*Artaud was the creator of the experimental Theatre of Cruelty


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now