When we saw Daniella Graner’s illustrations, we knew we wanted to collaborate. Her imagery brought our Waste Not Manifesto to life with colorful and positive scenes, helping to tell a story of radical self-empowerment and circular thinking. As a woman who was raised in an urban and sexist society, Daniella translates her experience into positive and empowering imagery. She depicts serious topics in a quirky and whimsical way and likes to create content that she wishes she had seen as a teenage girl.
It may come as no surprise that she finds beauty in all those little mundane self-rewarding moments that bring us personal happiness, like self-care, pets, and female friendships. See more of her work in her online portfolio. Read our Q&A below to learn more about Daniella and what inspires her!
TE: Tell us about yourself.
DG: I am a New York City based illustrator and graphic designer from Lima, Peru. There weren't illustration degrees in Peru when I went to college, the closest thing was studying graphic design because there were illustration classes in the program. I've worked for 9 years doing illustration and layout design for children's books, magazines and Peruvian feminist collectives.
In 2017 I moved to Savannah, Georgia to pursue a Master's degree in illustration. I graduated this year (yes, one of those pandemic Zoom ceremonies) and moved to New York City. I enjoy illustrating self rewarding moments in women's lives in solitude and companionship, coziness, and cats.
TE: How did you end up in New York?
DG: I met a cute New Yorker, LOL. I've always LOVED the city and visited all the time because I have family here. In one of those New York visits I met my now husband on a dating app and we did long distance until I graduated this year and moved to Brooklyn.
TE: How does being a Latinx artist influence your work?
DG: I feel like Latinxs are very political. The topics of my work are mainly inspired by my experiences as a woman in Peru, where machismo is very prevalent. Peruvian feminism inspired me to speak up about these situations, and I am very vocal about them. I like to translate them into empowering and positive imagery.
TE: Tell us something about you that most people don't know.
DG: I mostly eat pizza with a fork and a knife. It makes me anxious to ask for cutlery in pizza places because people usually think I am trying to be proper or whatever, it’s actually because one of my teeth is fake and I can't bite very well.
TE: Your work often speaks to quiet moments, and female friendship. Why is this a running theme in your work?
DG: I grew up listening to that common stereotype that women are competitive and mean. I wore the "I am not like the other girls" as a badge of honor and valued male friendships and opinions way more. It wasn't until I started being more involved in women collectives and circles that I reevaluated those toxic ideas and reconciled with my identity as a woman. It is the intimacy of female friendships that I value the most, like hugs, self-care moments, sleepovers or even guarding the bathroom door. Every time I draw those moments, I feel like I am speaking to my younger self.
TE: What has your COVID lockdown experience been like?
DG: There are ups and downs. Sometimes it is hard to focus or be motivated, so I feel this pressure that I have to be more productive because I am at home all day. But I try to prioritize my mental health. Being at home is also an opportunity to organize my daily routine, eat homemade food, and do other selfcare things that bring me joy. This has made a positive impact in my work process. I also adopted two kittens and got married!
TE: How did your collaboration with The Endery come about?
DG: It was all thanks to Laura from Hey Hunters. She introduced me to the brand and I LOVED it. One day we went to a store and they had some sweaters from The Endery so I had to try them on! She took a picture of me and tagged The Endery on Instagram. Ellen saw my profile, liked my work and told me about the project. It was perfect for me. Even though she was in the UK, Laura was in Peru and I was in the US, we pulled it off. It was super fun to work together!
TE: Tell us something that you hope people will get from the Waste Not Manifesto.
DG: I hope they understand that clothing production and purchase is also a political statement. I hope they value and understand where their clothes come from and not look at them as disposable objects. As the Manifesto says, "Repairing is a revolutionary act."
TE: Finally, tell us about your new passion, knitting!
DG: My grandma is a big knitter and I feel sad I never asked her to actually teach me, just a few stitches here and there. It wasn't until I was drawing so much yarn and knits for the collab project with The Endery that it made me want to start doing it. It is helping me to cope with anxiety, it makes me happy and it is a great activity to do while watching movies.
I am currently making a sweater using one of the Knit Edit's patterns and I can't wait to finish it to show it to my grandma!
Get your free download of the Waste Not Manifesto featuring illustrations by Daniella Graner.