Amanda Mocci's haunting mixed-media portraits

The designer and artist discusses her inspiration and showcases her best artworks.

Amanda Mocci is a graphic designer and artist based in Montreal, specialising in book and magazine design, branding, typography, editorial illustration, and portraiture. We asked Amanda to share some of her ideas and influences, as well as some of her beautiful artwork.

Why do your clients choose you?

I really try and bring out the emotion of every single portrait I draw or paint. The eyes need to be alive, which is the first thing I start with when working on a piece.

Image: Hiding Place – 30”x40”, oil on canvas

Who or what is your biggest influence and why?

I’m heavily influenced by the neo-classical movement and the emotion that is portrayed in every piece. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’ attention to detail has taught me a lot about portraits and the importance of the subject’s regard.

Image: No One Said It Would Be Hard, 26”x26”, oil on canvas

What's the first thing you do when you start a project?

I like to write down words and/or phrases that come to mind. I’m not a big sketcher, I tend to see my idea in words over small thumbnails.

Image: They're Screwing With The Wrong People, 9”x10”, pencil, charcoal and gouache on toned paper

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What are your favourite tools and media, and what do they bring to your work?

I like to mix traditional mediums like pencils and oil with flat applications of gouache. My graphic design background has influenced me to add these sort of treatments to my work.

What's the one thing you couldn't live without as an artist?

My pencils. And tea.

Image: Orion, 26”x36”, oil on canvas

What music do you like to work to (and why)?

Classical music or Radiohead. Lately I’ve been listening to the Skyrim soundtrack while painting, which is pretty beautiful (like the game). If classical music is playing it usually needs to be sad because that’s the only way I’ll be inspired to paint or draw. Happy music will show in my work and it’s never really a good thing. Radiohead has been my favourite band for as long as I can remember and they just seem to get everything right. Their music and lyrics are one of the biggest reasons why I began drawing.

Image: Luna, 16”x20”, oil on canvas

Where would you like to take your style in the future?

I’m trying to be more loose in my work and atmospheric. I think leaving some pieces undone is my next challenge, or maybe throwing some paint or charcoal on an almost finished piece.

Image: Odessa, 26”x40”, pencil and gouache on paper

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Where can we see more of your work?

The best places to keep up with my work are on my website and Behance. I also post a lot of process on my blog every week or so.

Image: Revival, 27”x39”, pencil, gouache, and pastel on paper