Where others see demonic human-animal hybrids, illustrator Anna Dietzel sees creatures just doing their thing, vibing and simply existiing. Get to know her world of black backgrounds, slithering bodies, fangs and unsettling smiles in an interview for SWARM Mag.

Does your childhood and/or heritage show in your illustrations? 

My dad is German and my mum is half Italian, half Slovenian. I’ve lived in Italy my whole life. My parents have always been keen on me reading as much as I can, which I did because I was a particularly solitary child. I remember having a copy of the Struwwelpeter, an old popular German children’s book, which is famous for being pretty sadistic and strange; and also having inherited a VHS of Watership Down because my little cousin could not stomach it. I was also heavily influenced by the final part of Disney’s Fantasia, the whole scene with demons and ghosts with The Bald Mountain by Mussorgsky as a soundtrack.

What feeling or mood would you like to express in your illustrations? What drives your work?

During our lives, we’re always taught to rationalize our emotions, which is perfectly fair because we’re living among other people. But I also feel like this chaos – which is not always negative feelings such as anger or sadness but also tenderness and love – can’t really be completely erased, it needs to go somewhere. You don’t learn to communicate the moment you learn to speak, it goes deeper than that. Something that I perceive as “cute” can be perceived as “gloomy” by someone else. Misunderstandings are part of this and every type of communication but it’s always an interesting factor to me. This is why I rarely have intentions with my artworks during the creation process, commissions aside.

Are you currently preparing any exhibitions or projects we can look forward to?

At the moment I’m working on a comic, a short story about two girls and their relationship, and also on a series of action figures of some of my creatures in collaboration with Ecscion Figur, a small family business of bootleg action figures from Italy.  

In tune with our current theme “Who Let the Dogs Out”, what animal would you like to have as a lifetime companion?

I recently lost one of my dogs, Bushti. If I had to choose an animal to live with forever, I would go with her without a second thought. Being with her meant being home to me.

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Anna Dietzel (1996) graduated from the Verona Academy of Arts in 2018 and Bologna Academy of Arts in 2021 with an Illustration for Publishing degree. In 2021, her works were included in the “Sigaretten Ensamble” exhibition for the Bilbolbul Festival in Bologna. She’s part of the editorial project “Sigaretten” and her first graphic novel “3 di notte a Miltenberg” was published in June.


Artworks / Anna Dietzel @anna.dietzel

Interview / Markéta Kosinová

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