A Nonprofit Project in Milan Unites Women in Illustration

We talked to Cláudia Alexandrino, also known as Shut Up Claudia, the Italian curator of Illustration Ladies Milano.

"Ladies Drawing Night" is the brainchild of famous illustrators Julia Rothman, Leah Gore, and Rachael Cole. The formula is very simple: an evening get-together between friends as an opportunity to share their creativity and experiment with new ideas. Illustration Ladies Milano

When women unite, they are more powerful than ever. Illustration Ladies Milano is a non-profit project for women looking to deepen their creative connections and expressions. We talked to Cláudia Alexandrino, also known as Shut Up Claudia, the Italian curator of the project.

What is the project about?

“Ladies Drawing Night” is the brainchild of famous illustrators Julia Rothman, Leah Gore, and Rachael Cole. The formula is very simple: an evening get-together between friends as an opportunity to share their creativity and experiment with new ideas. This experience was so positive for them that they decided to write a book about it, to encourage other girls to try to organize similar events at home, together with their friends in their cities. And so it was that in many American and European cities, inspired by this book, numerous groups of girls began to meet and experiment together.

Cláudia Alexandrino, also known as Shut Up Claudia, is the Italian curator of the project. She decided to start the initiatives in 2019.

When did you decide to bring it to Milan?

In January 2019, in front of two glasses of wine, Martina Cechi and I decided to start it in Milan. It was born as the Ladies Drawing Night, and currently, it is called Illustration Ladies Milano. Each evening takes place in a different location as an excuse to know and rediscover the beautiful city of Milan with its countless creative and co-working spaces, but also bars and bookshops. A different special guest sits down at the table with the other Ladies to talk about her experience and, why not, spill some secrets! It is always a small group – almost exclusive – but the real aim is to maintain a human dimension where all the girls can chat together at one table. 

In the past two years, we organized more than 30 free events: real opportunities to meet, share and participate that have helped to build a small community of creative women. The activity did not stop in 2020, where the format became virtual, and we expanded our creative network even more throughout Italy.

The Illustration Ladies Milano events’ aim is to support other professionals in the sector and encourage them to share ideas.

Who were the guests at the events?

We invited a lot of illustrators, like Elisa Macellari, Irene Rinaldi, Cristina Amodeo, Ana Popescu, the girls from Senza Rosseto, to name a few. 

In 2021 you adopted the name Illustration Ladies Milano and turned global, what has changed?

We have changed the name but the substance has not changed and the events we offer have expanded even more with talks and studio visits. The aim is still the same. We support other professionals in the sector and encourage them to share ideas, to talk, and we help them strengthen their business ventures.

Gianmaria Biancuzzi is Executive Editor of Milano Art Guide. He writes a column on photography for Exibart and previously he reported for Zero.eu from 2016 to 2020. He is the creator and co-curator of the best-selling “The Colouring Book” published by 24OreCultura in 2020.