Illustrator and Architectural Designer
There are illustrators and then there is Sara Sidari. This incredibly glamorous and talented designer hails from the City of Turin in Italy, but calls Melbourne home – and we are only too happy to claim her.
Sara has cultivated a career based on her love for all things art and fashion. From a young age, Sara was inspired by her origins story. Her illustrations and art reflect the colours textures and soul of her beloved Italy.
In this #careerstory was take you on a journey from her time at High School, to graduating from Monash University in 2014 with her Masters in Architecture. We also talk all about that pivotel moment when her career path changed, and her true calling began.
This story is for any girls wanting a career in a creative field.
Please meet Sara…
Sara, Happy New Year! We are so pumped to have you here today. Let’s start at the very beginning. Can you tell us where you grew up and how your experience shaped the person you are, and the career that you are in today?
I grew up in Italy until I was about 6 and then we moved here in Melbourne however we travel back and forth a lot of the time so I like to say I’m a little bit of Italy and a little bit of Melbourne.
Growing up in Italy shapes the creative side in me 100% – you are heavily influenced day in day out with sculpture incredible architecture, textures, colours and this influenced a lot of my wanting to become and architect and express my creativity through that.
Italy, so cool Sara! So, where did you go to High School and how was that experience for you?
I went to Penleigh and Essendon Grammar High School it was great because they allowed us to really explore the fields we one day would like to venture in. Mine was obviously always graphic design and art, but also languages which is another things that came natural to me.
Did you complete any internships or work experience placements in high school? Tell us about that experience.
That wasn’t offered at our school but i think maybe if it was it would have changed the path I would have taken.
Did your high school play a role in helping you choose your career?
High-school played a role definitely, but I would say it was an important role in helping me choose my career. I think it set me up with the tools to be able to dive into any field but it really isn’t until you hit University or the actual work force, until you see the true colours of what you want to do.
Did you go to College, University, Tafe or another equivalent? Take us through the courses that you studied and why you chose them?
I studied and graduated with a Master of Architecture at Monash University. It wasn’t and easy course, but very fulfilling. While at Monash, I was taught the tools and skills to pretty much crack into any design field I wanted, and looking back now, I’m so grateful for this.
I chose Monash as it was a highly reputable university, that also offered exchange to Prato Italy, which I also was selected to go to. I loved every moment.
Interesting. Sara, can you tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for, and explain any highlights?
After my final thesis I was scouted buy a director of a top architectural firm and began my architectural career for three years. Here is an example of what I mentioned earlier, when I said that in the workforce is where you realise the reality of your choices.
In this job, I found that actual architectural work was about 15-20% creative, and the rest completely political based. I was dealing with crazy restrictions, endless hours of working finishing at 2am most nights – and not getting paid overtime. I was also on a wage less than a sales assistant and after killing yourself for 5 years at Uni, with a massive Hecs debt balance, I found it disappointing.
The worst part was seeing employees with more experience were at the same point both financially and professionally sometimes doing the same things that graduates or students would do. As a creative, it’s the worst feeling you can have. After realising I wasn’t learning anymore, I began my side hustle as an illustrator which has brought me so much more joy. Interacting with clients, seeing their joy when they received their illustration, creating new things every time and feeling a sense of appreciation for your efforts is the best part of it.
Three years later my illustrations have brought me around the world, worked for some of the top designers and brands, and established a company that now runs full time.
How did you start your business?
It started as a side hustle but usually your side hustle is your true passion right ? I think that in anything you do if you are passionate about it there is no way it can fail. Your passion is what drives you to push harder, reinvent yourself every time and never look back.
What is the hardest part of your current job?
The hardest part is managing the custom orders with strict deadlines, but I guess architecture both the work force and university prepared me for that. It’s all about adapting your skills. This I would say is the hardest part of the journey so far.
What does a day a typical business day look like for you in your current job?
I wake up go through emails. Go through the schedule of work for the day, make sure I respond to all requests on all social media platforms and then begin my jobs. Sometimes I’ll meet with clients and other times it’s will be purely over emails.
Who has been your hero, or greatest inspiration growing up and why?
So I have a couple. Obviously, my parents are my number one supporters so they are the first I look up to and ask for advice. I also look at females like Gretta Rose and the Lazy Ceo for business inspirations who have built empires through their savy business mind.
Creativity, my number one hero is an Italian architect Carlo Scarpa who used incredible materials, textures and designs that were incredibly thought out to create things that are still relevant today.
What advice would you give girls who are interested in your career?
Don’t give up. Illustration is a competitive field, but the most important thing is to make sure you stand out from the crowd. Stick to your style because that will express who you are as an individual. It’s hard because at the start you can be asked to mimic other illustrators and when you are in hustle mode you think of the money before your pride. My advice… never do this! I learnt the hard way and it never felt right if people want you they want your for your illustrations – so be true to you always.
Sara’s Top Resource List for budding Illustrators:
- Favourite Websites: Casper and Casper, Archdaily
- Name an Instagram Account that you can’t go a day without checking: Art Basel , Dolce and Gabbana, Archdaily, thecoolhunter, Casper and Casper
- Favourite Podcast: is the Tim Ferris Show.
- Favourite Netflix Series: ‘How I met your mother’. I feel like I’m the female version of Ted Mosby
- Favourite all time books: Anything Roald Dahl.
- Favourite people: Karl Lagerfeld, My mum and dad, Megan Hess, Zaha Hadid, Carlo Scarpa, Valentino.