There is something inherently happy about Alicia Souza. Her illustrations are cheer-inducing at the best of times; she’s already been called a “happiness illustrator” by many, a title she has now embraced. The co-founder of Chumbak, a popular brand of illustrated accessories, Souza has been an independent artist now for nearly a decade. On Instagram, she illustrates scenes from her own life — sometimes it is photographs of her pets (a dog named Charles-Brown and a guinea pig called Henry-Oats) with hand-drawn speech bubbles, or sketched snatches of her own life with her husband, architect George Seemon, and toddler son Oliver. On her own online store, Souza stocks downloadable posters and tags, and also has physical merchandise including calendars, planners, and illustrated decor and stationery. Her unapologetically maximalist style in an age of everything and everyone trying to be a minimalist of some sort makes her and her work endearing and relatable. Souza, who just launched her 2022 stationery collection, talks about where she gets all her work done.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
Describe your current workspace to us.
Messy yet organised. I feel like my workspace, as it’s been said, describes how my life is at the moment. Since my child’s birth, handling my usual very busy day but including a child has made my day absolutely chock-a-block. Organising my day however is needed to make everything to run smooth and make things happen. At the moment my workspace resembles that — messy working chaos.
Has it always been this way? Or has it evolved over the years?
It’s always been this way, in a way. Though [now,] a lot of things around my space are [only] functional, [because] lot of things that bring me joy also bring in a bit of cleaning work, so they’ve been put away. Haha.
How would you define your daily relationship with this space?
It’s my other world. When I sit at my desk (which is essentially my workspace and creating space), I get into the zone almost instantly. Even a very stressful day brings a sort of contentment that I associate also with my work.
Tell us about some of the eureka moments you have had and major works that you have done from here.
There haven’t really been eureka moments for me at my desk as it’s usually my space of execution. I tend to have my ideas randomly like when I’m driving or showering or even having a conversation. I then tend to write those ideas down and execute them at my desk. It's almost like a process that's been with me for about a decade now.
If you were to trade in this place for another, what would it be?
Maybe just a longer desk and also possibly two windows — one could overlook a busy street, and the other, trees.
Creative Corner is a series about writers, artists, musicians, founders and other creative individuals and their relationships with their workspaces.