Interview with Aurora Ciurca - Illustrator and Concept Artist

Y: Tell us a little about yourself and your work, your artistic style and chosen medium, anything about your art that you feel is important. 

A: My full name is Aurora Francesca Ciurca, I am 25 years old and I live near Turin, in the city of Rivoli. I am an illustrator and concept artist, and I would say that the key word to describe my style is 'colourful'. At conventions, my stall is often the most chaotic and vivid, you can even see me from afar! From an artistic point of view, I always try to represent what I like and what is around me, often dwelling on the diversities I see around me: I have always appreciated everything that was different, strange people and those who went outside the norm have always been my favourites. 

In my works, I try to represent as much as possible what I see as peculiar in the world. Personally, I love it when a subject presents contrast, whether it is the colours in a painting or a person with a very peculiar physique who dresses stereotypically different from what one would expect. 

As far as my style is concerned, I must say that it may seem a very 'flat' or 'stylised' technique: in reality, although I often use effectively flat backgrounds, I always introduce shading here and there. For example, I love using watercolour backgrounds with a clearly digital subject in the centre! In case you haven't guessed, I am a huge fan of contrasts, be they visual or conceptual. 

The softwareI use most frequently is Procreate, ever since I was gifted my ipad. That said, I also use Photoshop and Illustrator for work, I recently learnt Substance Painter and would love to be able to put something related to that in my portfolio.


Y: What is the art scene like in the area where you live, or where you come from?

A: I live on the outskirts of Turin, in a town called Rivoli, which is to all intents and purposes a hill on which there is a particularly famous castle. It currently houses a museum of contemporary art that I have had the opportunity to visit repeatedly in the various educational courses I have undertaken. The town has its own fair, entitled 'Rivoli in fiera', in which I took part with my stall and found it very enjoyable. I must say that, from an artistic point of view, the town has always been very open! Moreover, I can see that this is growing more and more.

From a personal point of view, I can say that both my parents and my friends have always been enthusiastic about my choices in art. My high school teachers also encouraged me a lot to follow my dreams in the arts, they always supported me. The environment at my high school was always fun and playful, I would even give marker tattoos to my classmates at recess. I can say that I always got a lot of positive feedback from those around me.


Y: What prompted you to enter the world of digital art? How did you start your artistic journey? Tell us about your course of study. Did you study anything specifically related to art or did your interest stem from something else?

A: When I finished secondary school I had intended to enrol at the Liceo Artistico, but for various reasons I ended up at the Liceo delle Scienze Umane - I didn't regret this choice, I think it taught me a lot. Once I finished high school, I decided to dedicate myself to art, as I spent a lot of time drawing and the teachers encouraged me in this area. Originally, I aimed to do the Academy, but upon enquiring I found out that it only offered extremely specific faculties aimed at training perfectly in a single subject, unfortunately leaving no time for any other courses. 

So I decided to enrol at the International School of Comics, taking a course dedicated to traditional art, lasting three years - this allowed me to study many different artistic media, be it paintings, illustrations or whatever. I am very happy with my choice, this school really allowed me to try different techniques and discover what I like. Not having done art I wanted to catch up on as many things as possible in as little time as possible, which is why I decided to take several courses at once.

Since digital art is very convenient for the working environment, my girlfriend pushed me to enrol in a one-year digital art course, to be taken during my three years of traditional art. At the end of the latter, I also decided to take a Concept Art course, out of personal interest. 


Y: Art is a challenging, yet extremely satisfying field. What impact has it had on your life so far?

A: It has had, and still has, a huge psychological impact on me. I rely a lot on people's feedback, and psychologically it is not particularly healthy as a thing, it can deeply affect my mental health. What's more, during the International School of Comics it was taking its toll on me - attending two classes, working, and moving on weekends to join my girlfriend in another region, she was always exhausted.

Right now, I work and spend my days in front of the computer, arriving at night tired, though always excited to see my customers happy. This kind of reaction keeps me going and really gives me a lot of satisfaction! I feel that I am doing something good and that it will bring me a lot of happiness in life.


Y: Does your art allow you to support yourself financially? If not, is that a goal you have or not?

A: Unfortunately at the moment it doesn't allow me to support myself economically. I've been trying for three years to just be an artist for work, but I haven't made it yet; honestly I'm trying to close my VAT number because it's more of a burden than anything else. Right now I'm looking for a 'normal' job to have some sort of mental relaxation: being a freelancer I don't always have a fixed income and I often struggle to make ends meet. 

Having said that, I would love to be able to support myself with my art, but for the sake of my mental health I would like to do a quiet and peaceful, if still creative job - like a florist. That's a plan B I would love!


Y: What platforms do you use to promote your work? Do you think they need to be fixed and improved in any way? Do you think a new platform concerning only digital art could be useful?

A: I mainly use Instagram and Tiktok! In the future I would also like to use Twitch, but first I need to understand better how it works on a technical level. I have to say that I was fine on Instagram until they introduced Reels, pushing them a lot and lowering the reach of posted images. To make matters worse, I currently have problems with uploading the videos in question, so let's just say that I no longer experience the need to create and share them very much. It seems that the managers of the platform keep changing their minds on how to develop the algorithm, confusing users - each time you have to relearn how the application works.

As far as Tiktok is concerned, I must say that I am doing well! I realised that you don't have to be an animator to be able to publish interesting videos, you can get by with just a few illustrations! Having said that, I'm also looking forward to using Twitch - I had done a few live shows a while back and had a great time, so I'm very excited about it!

A platform that works very well abroad is ArtStation: you can find work, take courses, see interviews and enjoy content of all kinds, it is a gold mine of knowledge. It is mainly for artists and those looking for work, but unfortunately it is not very well known in Italy.

I think it would be really interesting if there was a platform that when you sign up asks if you are an artist (of any genre) and that consequently gives you the possibility to comment, publish and collaborate with others. In case you are not, it could give you the possibility to follow and support your favourite artists. I think it could be useful for editors and publishers.


Y: Have you ever had problems with copyright and its management? 

A: I consider myself very lucky, it has never happened to me that someone stole something of mine. However, I did work as a ghost and I honestly felt like someone was actually stealing what I was creating: I was drawing illustrations and concepts and I couldn't tell anyone what I was doing. Artists more famous than me would commission work from the company that I would then produce - later taking credit for it. Yes, I have never had anyone take my work, edit it or repost it without credit, but I have seen more famous artists publish something of mine under their own name. Being part of the ghost work, it was completely legal. I won't deny, however, that it was extremely heavy on a psychological level.


Y: What is your opinion on NFTs and their impact on the digital art world? Are you in favour of Artificial Intelligences using your art to enrich their database?

A: As mentioned above, I worked as a ghost for some prominent figures in the digital art world in Italy. Because of this work experience, my opinion on the subjects in question is quite negative. The clients were particularly toxic with both me and the company, they only thought about making money and not about the impact on the people involved. I think that the basic concept of NFTs is not a bad thing in any way, I honestly see it as a kind of exclusive auction, the problem is that most of the people involved only see it as a chance to become famous and put their name on something 'famous'.

By now I see NFT as completely dead, but I think they will be back in the future - maybe slightly modified, but they will be back. We will see how they can take away or add to the quality of professional life in artistic environments.

As for AI, I honestly think it can be a very helpful tool: it's all in how people use it. For example, I think it is legitimate to use artificial intelligence as a creator of concepts and references, from which one can then build and create something that reflects the specific requirements of the client or customer. It has happened to me more than once to use one of these services to generate a basic idea from which to start an illustration. Furthermore, I also think it is right that it has a large database, because the more elements it contains, the more opportunity it has to create something different. In the end, we all take inspiration from something, artists of the past or present - maybe I learnt to do the eyes one way because of someone, and you learnt to draw the nose another way because of someone else. 

Personally, I would love it if IA would provide the images from which they started to generate the requested work, thus giving credit and recognition to the artists 'involved' in the process. You would then get to know the artists who own the style mimicked by the AI.


Y: What would you change about the current art scene if you could? What do you expect from the future of art?

A: At the moment, I would like there to be fewer people practising as ghosts, it is generally a field I do not like and I do not consider it an optimal environment for workers. 

Also, in Italy, art is never taken completely seriously, even though we are a country famous worldwide for our artistic culture. Unfortunately, the ancient idea of 'we pay you little because you do something you like anyway' seems to have remained. Just outside the border, however, the situation is completely opposite. Deal with the French art environment once and you'll realise how people regard our work, and how much they are actually willing to pay for the work of a creative person.

In the future, I think art will move towards digitisation. At the same time, however, more and more traditional craftsmen and artists will emerge - people will return to the passion of creating with their hands. I believe in the establishment of this wonderful contrast.


Y: What do you think about the management of artist alleys at conventions nowadays? Are there any experiences you would like to share with us?

A: I started attending conventions as a stand holder in June last year with Torino Comics, and then moved on to Casale Comics and AleComics. From an organisational point of view they were all quite disappointing, treating the artists badly, asking for unbearable sums of money and not paying even an ounce of respect to the participants. Having said that, the atmosphere inside the Artist Alley is always so positive and full of life that once I am there, when I see my friends and other artists in the same situation, I realise that it is all worth it.



Many thanks to Aurora for agreeing to the interview!

In case you are interested in her work, you can find her on Instagram as @__aurora_blue__.

If you have any doubts or questions regarding Copyright management and the protection of your works, we remind you that the Rights Chain team is always at your disposal! We wish you a good day!



About the Author



Columnist, (He/Them)

Content Creator for cosplay, gaming and animation. With a degree in foreign languages and a great passion for Oriental culture, he writes about copyright to protect the work of artists and young minds. A cosplayer since 2015, Yako is an advocate of gender identity and the development of one's creativity through personal attitudes: be it role-playing, cosplay or writing.