“For ten years, I've always learned to draw correctly, trying to copy reality. It is borderline. I wish something was wrong. Before you draw, you almost have to shave – shaking hands and head so that stiffness disappears a little if its gentleness interferes a little, "says Anet Melece, winner of the Jan Baltwilk Award.
She received the award for the book "The Voice of the Whale" by Laura Gundar and the Kiosk she wrote and illustrated. At the time of this conversation, she was still unaware of the award.
Liega Piešiņa: What does artist Anete Melece do on holiday mornings?
Anete Melece: I'm probably home alone. When the weather is good, the girl will definitely go for a walk somewhere. We eat breakfast for a long time. We live in Zurich, Switzerland and have been visiting Lazio for over a month now. Especially in summer, I try to come to Latvia and stay there as long as possible. In winter you can do it, but in summer you want Lation.
Latvia is still my home … Although I have lived in Switzerland for twelve years, my relationship with Latvia has been preserved – not only through my family, but also through the books of the Big and the Little.
What have you been looking at in these five weeks in Latvia that have reached you?
We lived all the time in the countryside, in Mālpils by the Mergupe, and we only visited Riga from time to time when we needed to meet someone. I wanted to recharge the batteries in Latvian countryside – especially with my daughter so she could survive. Now she has her anniversary – still not walking, but crawling, exploring, tasting everything in turn – earth, grass …
Which was your first illustrated book?
The first was the storybook of Maira Dobele, The School of Wrong Life. It's been ten years since then! It was about potatoes, all the endless peasant labor – personally those stories were close to me. It also started a good collaboration with the publishing house Great and Small, and since then I have regularly illustrated this and that.
Often illustrations save the contents of a book. They may not like or really like them, but you can see that the illustrator has a position while questioning the author's text. What do illustrations mean for a book?
Ideally an illustration should not save the text – it should just be an addition. Have fun with your eyes and help make it visible. It is the visual world of the book, which sometimes helps to better understand what is in the text, but sometimes gives it an extra dimension. I agree, but how to give it …
Simple: with illustrations, the book is great!
And especially for kids, they matter – before we start reading the text, we first see the pictures. And they either talk or they don't talk. A trick on how to attract attention. Better yet, the illustrations tell us more than just the text; I myself am bored if I just literally illustrate and try to draw one after the other what is written in the text. So I always try to do something about myself as much as I can. For example, Jur Kronberg's poetry book The Cloud Book will reveal a lot.
What kind of books do you like to read yourself?
It's a shame to admit it, but you should definitely read a lot, a lot more … A lot has started, they just pile on the bed.
I probably like poetry most of the time – I've read a poem, and it feels like a spiritual dessert … I've eaten a poem like a cake and I'm fine. Nothing else is needed.
By what actions does the arm extend?
By Kārlis Vērdiņš. Tom Treiberga. Now with her daughter, we read "Inside and Out" by Inese Zander.
A few years ago, I had such a difficult time in my life, and then I read a 13th-century Persian poet, Rummy, as a savior. When things were bad, he somehow helped me get out of it.
Or to illustrate poetry?
No, I'm not illustrating. Poems do not need to be illustrated.
More and more on the record!