Stillo Noir brings dynamic patterns to life with black and white designs with popping contrasts and minimalist style.
Tanya Heidrich is the designer and artist behind Stillo Noir. She grew up in Switzerland and is currently based in Valencia, Spain. Using more than pens, Tanya brings dynamic patterns to life in black and white on canvases of many sizes. Whether on paper or for a mural, she creates stunning textures derived from all kinds of natural and personal inspirations— even manhole covers!
Equipped with a black pen or paintbrush, Tanya and her work are bursting onto the streets and homes of Europe and North America. Along with abstract patterns, she illustrates her travels through visual journals, landscape sketches, portraits, and alpine flora illustrations. You can find her work along the streets of Valencia, in books, in private residences, or at live-drawing events. She also designs logos and sells prints. A minute is all it takes to become entranced by the lively designs of Stillo Noir that bring movement into any space.
We got to know the creative mind behind Stillo Noir and take a peek at Heidrich’s process for creating striking pieces. Her story is as vibrant as her work.
What’s unique about your work?
I create patterns inspired by my surroundings, and all of them are black and white. It was never a conscious decision, it’s just a palette I’ve gravitated towards for a long time now. Working solely in black and white allows me to extract the essence of what I see down to two contrasting colors, creating a result that is maximalist in detail yet maintains a serenity associated with minimalism.
What do you want people to do or feel when they encounter your creations?
My favorite part of sharing what I make with others is hearing people’s gut reactions, especially for pieces that lean towards the abstract. The range of interpretations for a single pattern is really surprising and exciting, especially when guessing where the inspiration originally came from. For this reason, I’d prefer not to define any one way to react and instead go on the fun ride of hearing people’s own interpretations!
What is your favorite material to work with?
A black pen! It’s right there in my artist name Stillo Noir. ‘Stylo noir’ in French – my mother tongue – means ‘black pen’. I love how smoothly the ink runs in pens, and how the black ink creates an instant, satisfying contrast with the surface it sits on.
How do your pieces come to life? Tell us one interesting thing about your creative process?
Each piece begins with inspiration, which I usually find in the quiet details of my surroundings, or occasionally in my dreams. From there, I may go straight to pen and paper, or I might sketch a few possible interpretations beforehand to see which design works best. The next steps depend greatly on the final surface and purpose of the piece. If the pattern is to be licensed or sold to a client, I’ll scan the drawing, digitally edit the contrast, and when requested will digitally trace the pattern and make it repeat-ready, so the design can be infinitely tiled. When it comes to mural or large-scale pieces, I’ll often play with mockups of the space first to find the design and scale that best compliments it. From there, the process depends on the type of design, the texture of the surface, and the scale: I might draw it freehand with a paint marker, sketch it out first in pencil, use a projector or use hand-made stencils.
What funny moments, unexpected surprises, or obstacles have you encountered?
The first mural I ever painted was a rollercoaster! Despite it being a commission by a local arts group, I learned on day 3 of painting that we hadn’t obtained permission from the city or the inhabitants of the building. One extremely upset neighbor threatened to call the police if we didn’t stop and paint over it immediately. Luckily for us, thanks to the support of some extremely kind and supportive neighbors and a sincere apology on our part, we were eventually able to get a unanimous neighborly vote in favor of finishing the mural! My favorite part came on the last day of painting, when a young girl living in the building came out to help me paint, with her parents and grandparents cheering her on. This mural ended up being a tremendous learning experience, and a humbling reminder that projects involving the community are always the most fun, rewarding, and mutually beneficial!
What motivates and inspires you?
Other artists motivate and inspire me. It’s one of the great things about social media: Even though I’ve recently moved to a new country where I’m not all that connected to the local art scene yet, I can still be digitally surrounded by new and exciting art on a daily basis.
As for inspiration, it’s the smallest of details in everyday things, from the way water shapes the sand beneath it, to the veins weaving their way through leaves, to the way an evening shadow creeps behind a group of pebbles. Inspiration is everywhere if you look close enough!
What makes a space special?
The more public and accessible a space is, the better! I love getting as many eyes as possible on a piece, and getting to know that anyone can interact with it.
Want more Stillo Noir? Check out her story and works on her Wescover page.