Image from Bruno, Il Bambino Che Imparo a Volare, a book about the life of Bruno Schulz Image from Bruno, Il Bambino Che Imparo a Volare, a book about the life of Bruno Schulz Image from "Bruno: The Boy Who Learned to Fly." (Photo: Ofra Amit)

Artist channels her inner child with charming illustrations

Ofra Amit's work has appeared in books, galleries around the world.

Ofra Amit’s timeless, at times elegantly raw illustrations have appeared in books and galleries around the world, earning her international acclaim as an artist who infuses feeling into her work.

Amit, who lives and works in Israel, says she's not trying to evoke a particular emotion – it just happens. “All I do is try to convey my vision, and most of the time the result is different from my original intention," she told From The Grapevine. "I’m always surprised when I hear people’s reactions to my works.

“When I draw," she continued, "I just follow my intuition.”

Illustration from "Wings," by Maya Hanoch Illustration from "Wings," by Maya Hanoch (Photo: Ofra Amit)

Most of her works focus on a singular character. For instance, in the children’s book “Bruno, the Boy Who Learned to Fly" (2013), the emphasis is on the 20th-century Polish writer Bruno Schulz, rather than any specific social or cultural context.

Image from Bruno, Il Bambino Che Imparo a Volare, a book about the life of Bruno SchulzImage from "Bruno, the Boy Who Learned to Fly," a book about the life of Bruno Schulz (Photo: Ofra Amit)

Illustrating for children’s books is a delicate balance between expressing your art and remaining aware of the audience the work is directed to, but Amit embraces the challenge. “When I’m illustrating a children’s book, I try not to think that it’s meant for children. I like to keep the definitions and the borders a little blurred. As if I were taking my children to the museum, I attempt at making the book an experience for the readers."

From "Schizo Project"From "Schizo Project" (Photo: Ofra Amit)

Besides children’s books, the artist has also illustrated poetry. In the book “Home is Homeless” by Hava Nissimov (2013), she illustrated a selection of poems that she calls "a collection of visual memories."

Amit's ideas for how to illustrate a text are quite precise: she looks at the paragraph she’s trying to visualize and searches for one or two words that sum up the essence of the scene. It may be an action, but mostly it’s an evocative word like "loneliness" or "home."

“I like tying a string to a stone and carrying it with me. The stone is the essence of the story, that one word that describes the paragraph I’m illustrating. I can go far and yet remain tied to it.”

Illustration by Ofra AmitIllustration by Ofra Amit (Photo: Ofra Amit)

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