Aurélia Durand: Hope Makes Us Keep Going!

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From the Parisian suburbs to the old streets of Copenhagen. In a small, colorful, and expressive studio, we meet Aurélia Durand to hear her story. A story has made her one of the rising stars of illustration. But the story is only just beginning to take form.

Aurélia Durand has, in a short time, created a name for herself as an artist and illustrator with a declared mission to spread joy and empower people. But illustrating isn't where she'd thought she would end up.

In Paris, she studied product design, but she still hadn't found her feet after graduating. A move to Copenhagen later, she started drawing. Mainly to gather her thoughts, but just a couple of years later, they form the basis of her success.

Mikaela Shiffrin for Adidas Illustration by Aurélia Durand

Today, her work span from lifestyle settings to political messages. From animated videos over murals to prints. Though her work can be deadly serious, it's never dull. Every single pixel on the screen is vibrating. Animated or not, her illustrations are full of life, colors, hopes, and dreams. And they cannot help but make you smile.

"Joy creates hope and empowerment. And hope makes us keep going." Aurélia Durand

"I want to make people feel joy," she declares, "Joy creates hope and empowerment. And hope makes us keep going."

An Entrepreneurial Spirit

Throughout her career, she has always had a knack for business, branding, and building a company from the ground up. Her career and status are not the results of a single, lucky punch – they're the result of hard work and personal sacrifice, and an innate insistence to reach her goals. One drawing at a time, while she slowly built her presence on Instagram, a new platform at the time.

"I worked all the time, and I felt alone in Copenhagen – also culturally," Aurélia Durand says. But on Instagram, she found a community connected by shared experiences and values.

Picture of Aurélia Durand

"My generation is tired of the mainstream media that shows the same people over and over again. On Instagram, there's a space for everyone – you just need to find them. Here, I felt I could for the first time talk freely about the topics I care about – here I could make a change."

Everyone Should Feel Proud to Be Who They Are

She encourages everyone to find their voice, but that's not her only mission:

"Education is very important to me," she says. "Back in school, it felt like I would never succeed. There were not enough people like me in art school. Maybe that's why we don't have equal representation."

Aurélia Durand grew up in Paris's suburbs with a French dad and a mother from the Ivory Coast but has always felt more French. Still, she feels her internalized feelings of everyday racism.

"It's not fair that any kid should feel this way. That's why I want to empower them to feel proud of who they are!" She has that kid in mind when she resists to follow the hype and let her prices sky-rocket. Inspired by Banksy and his way of translating what happens in the world in his arts, she wants to stay accessible:

"A kid can afford to buy one of my posters. And maybe that will change something for them." Aurélia Durand

"A kid can afford to buy one of my posters. And maybe that will change something for them. I like to be for everyone, and the streets and Instagram are for everyone."

This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on how to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work Written by Tiffany Jewel / Illustrated by Aurélia Durand
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