Interview with illustrator Juliana De Cesare

Juliana De Cesare is a surfer and artist currently residing in New Zealand’s sunniest region, the beautiful Bay of Plenty on the North Island’s east coast. Originally from Brazil, she studied fashion design before realising her true passion, which is illustration.

We love her imagery which is surreal, humorous, quirky and fun. We love the earnest moustachioed longboarders hanging five or ten and the rustic watercolour-style scenes of palms and boards that transport you to places with fair winds. If you’re looking for seriously unique art for a special wall in your home, then connect with Juliana (link at the bottom).

Hey Juliana! How’s your day going?

Hey guys, my day is going great. Surf conditions are pretty bad lately, so I am using this week to work hard and get things done.

Tell us a little bit about your path to artistry…

I always loved to draw and paint, but it wasn’t until I studied fashion design at university that I ended up falling in love with textile print design, which was one of the subjects in my degree. Since then I have worked illustrating and creating print designs for the fashion industry and about two years ago, I started illustrating surf related art, just for fun. I had a few people asking how they could purchase them, and that gave me motivation to go all in and invest in an ‘on the side’ home business while I kept working for another company back in Sydney. Now I am in New Zealand and working as an illustrator full time for myself.

Where do you get your inspiration and how do you stay motivated?

I get my inspiration from the surf community. I follow many photographers and surfers to keep my eyes open to anything that will inspire my next piece of work.

Motivation comes and goes, and if I am being completely honest, it can get really hard sometimes. I believe that it’s ok to not feel motivated all the time. We live in a crazy world and sometimes it’s a lot to take in. If I am not really motivated, I force myself to start something small, just to keep my work flowing. Even if I am not really feeling it, I start a small drawing and soon enough I am completely immersed into it.

I also believe that playing with new themes and testing new materials always helps. Even watching other artists that I admire, illustrating or painting can give me a push into starting a new artwork or trying a new technique.

What does a day in your life look like?

I usually wake up around 6am and have my morning coffee before going to my Pilates class followed by a 2h to 3h surf, if the conditions are good. By lunchtime I am running errands or I am in the home studio, where I will be working on small business admin. If it’s a quiet day, I would probably stay in painting with a few snack breaks and lots of coffee. Either way if I am working from home I usually will be listening to a podcast or music, as I usually find it pretty lonely to work from home. I always wrap my day with an early dinner, a tv series and a tea with my partner.

Do you have any creative people you strongly admire?

Yes. I believe these are the ones that I have been digging more lately. They are all different artists but I absolutely adore each of their styles: Brittany Ferns, Tay Faulkner, Lizziartwork, Ty Williams, Quentin Monge, Kat Reynolds. 

Do you have a mantra or words of wisdom to live by?

I don’t think I really have a mantra, but I believe that if I had to choose words of wisdom it would be a song: Vienna – Billy Joel.

Thanks, Juliana, how can readers connect with you?

Anyone can connect with me through my Instagram @julianadece or my website: