Every Friday, BULLETT’s introducing our favorite Instagram profiles and getting to know the people behind the posts.
Emma Allegretti just gets it––from the significance we all put on who’s viewed our Instagram stories first, to feeling like we’re too soft to withstand dating while aloofness and fuccbois are trending. Through simple line drawings, filled in with watercolor, the Rome-based artist illustrates the sentiments you’re embarrassed to have even thought of, with the intent of making those moments feel more than okay. Take one look at her work and you’ll feel like you’re already her best friend, and she’s drawing up all your secrets––at least, that’s how it makes us feel.
These days, there are tons of illustrators creating scenes of self-loathing and overindulgence on your Instagram feed. But Allegretti’s work is different––it’s clear that she’s not hating on herself as an aesthetic, but truly trying to cope with the most trivial yet difficult moments we encounter as millennials who own iPhones and have close relationships. Basically, she’s not a sad girl poser––she’s a real girl, with a dynamic spectrum of stress to draw about. And her work reminds us that it’s normal to obsessively Google “how to succeed” or “how to find love,” even if the results are always shit. It’s cool––Allegretti will prove you’re not the only lost 20-something out there. We all are.
JUST LIKE DONT EVEN GET ME STARTED ON HOW STRESSFUL AND HORRIBLE IT IS TO WRITE UR CV AND TRY AND BE AN ADULT AND LIKE ACTUALLY BE RESPONSIBLE AND GET A JOB AND GET DRESSED AND SMILE AND BE ON TIME! TO THEN FEEL LIKE UR A TINY ANT IN A SEA OF TALENTED AND EXPERIENCED PEOPLE WHY DONT THEY APPRECIATE YOU JUST BEING ALIVE WHYYYY. PS: THO DONT FORGET U ARE ENOUGH ❤️
Name: Emma Allegretti
Occupation: Illustrator & Youth Counselor
Favorite Profiles to Follow: @itsanimatedtext, @staizitta_magazine, @darth_bador, @artbabygirl, @tarabooth
What themes do you explore in your work?
I look into the struggle of feeling alone when you’re surrounded by so much information and accessibility to people online. You get so many images fed to you of people seemingly succeeding––through my work, I try to create the most honest insecurities in a world where on social media, things seem to be always good. It’s starting to become a place now where people talk about mental health and difficulties, but in the beginning, it was much harder to find people who spoke honestly about feeling like a failure because of the seeming success around them.
Do your illustrations reflect only your personal experiences? Or do you also incorporate others’ difficulties in your work?
I counsel teenage girls, and for me it’s interesting stepping into this teenage state where everything affects you so intensely. Some of that filters in. Posting work can be quite nerve-wracking. I wonder, ‘Is this too weird? Is this relatable for people?’ When you’re very heartbroken or upset, you can feel very isolated––at least I do. It’s hard to gauge whether things are collective.
What message are you trying to convey?
Society always tells you you’re fine, you can do everything you want. But what if you can’t? What if you don’t have the mental space to do anything because you’re crushed by always feeling like it’s not enough?
What inspires your art?
Girls, Broad City––those shows influenced me a lot, seeing these girls that were self-made completely. The female friendship we see in those shows is really inspiring for me. But to be honest, my work came about from a really bad breakup with a fellow illustrator. Mostly, I came into it as a quick means of expressing something very directly.
How would you describe your subjects?
Most of my drawings have their phone in their hands, or are drinking and smoking. They’re kind of numb, with a deadpan stare. Obviously, everyone cares what people think, but it’s more like they’re saying, ‘I don’t care that I’m putting it out there that I feel like this. It’s absolutely fine.’ My work also acknowledges how ridiculous it looks when one is always on their phone. It’s really easy for people to be mean now that we have phones, because you’re hidden––it’s easy to dump someone via text or to just stop answering.
Do you think it’s important for artists to be political right now?
Yes. I think I am being political in regards to gender and emotions. Many more people are going to university now, many more women are getting educated, so you think we’re moving forward towards better things. But it’s really unsettling when racism and homophobia seem to be increasing around the world. It’s just so depressing.
What do you want people to take away from your work?
I want anyone that relates to it to know they’re not alone––the important thing is to stay alive and power through. Whatever atrocity you’re going through, you can make it through, and you can take care of yourself. You can be strong and independent and also be incredibly weak, or embarrassed, or shy. Being okay with yourself is the kindest and most beautiful thing that can happen to you––better than getting an incredible job or earning a great amount of money.