In My Shoes: Chiara Perano

Chiara Perano is an English-Italian artist, illustrator and mural painter. Growing up between England and Italy, she went to school on the Amalfi coast and studied illustration at University of the Arts London. Now based in East Sussex, she is inspired by her Italian heritage as well the simple joys of everyday life and nature, taking a holistic approach to creating art. Her paintings and prints have been featured in a variety of publications including Vogue and ELLE Decoration, and her ‘Peace’ painting for the war in Ukraine raised an incredible £20,000 for DEC and Choose Love charities. She also created a sell-out collection for Liberty London and had a solo show last summer at Soho House’s Redchurch Street Studio. Follow @ciao__chiara

Tell us a little about you.
I’m an English/Italian artist, illustrator, and mother to 2 little girls. I’m currently working on new collections of paintings to show in some really exciting exhibitions this year. I left London 3 years ago and moved down to the coast in East Sussex where we spend a lot of time by the sea. I have a huge interest in holistic health and wellbeing, I’m currently training in Reiki, and try to use natural and found pigments in my artwork.

How do you start your day?
I’m working through Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artist’s Way’ which involves morning pages that are meant to be done before you’re fully awake but realistically I’m doing this after my children have left for the day! Weekdays start with a sleep deprived scramble getting the little ones out of the door, and then if the sun is out I always get down to the beach for a quick coffee with my husband before work - whatever the season. When I get to my studio I try to focus and engage my tired head with music/a podcast, incense (Vyrao is my favourite), some note making and journaling before working through my art projects, and then get painting. On weekends I’ll stay in bed as long as I can get away with.

What is your fashion philosophy?
I aspire to live a slower way of life, so I’m trying more than ever to support makers and designers who are in tune with this approach, as well as preloved clothing. I love simple, effortless style and beautifully made pieces, so it feels extra special if you know you are wearing something that will last a long time and is quite unique from a small run. Everyone should wear what makes them happy and aligns with their values.

Can you share your top tip?
Be patient and don’t compare yourself to others. It kills creativity and joy. It’s so hard in this modern life.

What inspires you?
I’m so inspired by nature, seasons, skies, stars, shells and flowers. I’m just always in awe of the shapes, patterns and colours, I love that it’s different every time you look, you can always see something new. Living on the coast has highlighted this, and it reflects to me how precious and short life can be, which is inspiring and terrifying, but is the ultimate reminder to be present every day. For my work I look for inspiration in ancient ceramics, frescos, patterns, symbols and folklore. I can sit for hours looking through old books taking notes and come away feeling inspired to create.

How do you unwind?
A walk in the forest or by the sea, followed by a glass of wine by the fire. More recently I started learning ceramics and find the process of building pots by hand extremely therapeutic, the endless possibilities, and how it makes you slow down.

If you could visit anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be?
I’ve got a long list of places I want to visit, but tomorrow I’d like to be somewhere I’ve been many many times - Praiano, on the Amalfi Coast. The colours, the food and the way of life, the pasta, the wine…

Can you tell us something you discovered recently?
Reformer pilates and I am hooked, our studio overlooks the sea and it’s my new favourite form of exercise.

What is the best part of your job?
Freedom to create, and working on such a variety of different artistic projects brings me a lot of joy. Ultimately, I hope my murals and paintings bring beauty and harmony to people’s homes. That said, the excitement of an enquiry to collaborate with like minded creatives is a high point that will never tire!

Which shoes do you love this season?
I’m in love with the Centuar boots, they will sit well with dresses and trousers, the thick soles and fringe details are lovely.

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