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Interview with illustrator Anna Manolatos (aka SIRMANO)

  • 3 min read

Let's take a peek into the colourful life of illustrator and artist, Anna Manolatos aka SIRMANO. 

Anna is renowned for her vibrant, beautiful and uplifting paintings and large-scale murals inspired by her love of travel and culture.

Tell us about your creative practice. How, when, and why do you create?

Every day, well, every day I can.

I start with just an idea, usually from something I saw, took a photo of, or came across, and then I layer and layer and add more layers of paint. I am not sure what the end piece will be, but that is what I love most about creating.

Anna Manolatos illustrator and artist in her studio

I love the freedom, and the process, not knowing what I put down to what is created at the end is super exciting…


How did you get started in the creative industries? Do you remember a moment, time, or place when you realised this is what you’d love to do?

There was never a particular time, I guess, it was and is always a part of me. I have always painted, like every child, but I just kept going.

Through school and then uni, I studied fine art and illustration and it just always felt right for me. It also helped that I wasn’t very good at math.

What do you love about it?

I love the freedom, and the process, not knowing what I put down to what is created at the end is super exciting. It is also very challenging, which I weirdly love about it. Also the community aspect, the art crowd are a wonderful bunch of folk.

Anna Manolatos painting a large mural outdoors

In your years as a creative, has there been a turning point or catalyst for changing your path?

I would say when I moved to Spain, I was immersed in the art scene there and it gave me the confidence to just be who I wanted to be as an artist.

I had a studio space at a small gallery and it changed my life. I started to paint murals there and pin pointed my style.
Tell us about how your work has evolved or changed over the past few years…

Oh gosh, so much, sometimes with knowing and other times without. Because I am inspired by my surroundings and I move around a bit. It’s only natural.

I also have like a colour that I become obsessed with. So, you can kind of tell the year by the colour.

What kinds of illustration projects do you usually take on?

Depends, usually the ones that are best suited to my style. But I also really like challenging myself as as a result some of my favourite work comes from project work.

What are your favourite tools of the trade?

Acrylic and ink are my best friends. Lately, I have been exploring pencil and charcoal. Also, a bit of digital which is completely new to me.

Tell us about your workspace…

I have recently moved to Abu Dhabi, so I have had to downgrade and leave all my paints behind, but I have set up a cute little nook in our place. It’s got all I need, except for my dad who was my frame craftsman, maybe I can fly him over =)

Notely Financial Year Wall Planner hanging on wall with pot plant, candle and paintbrushes in a jar
2023/24 Financial Year Wall Planner featuring Anna's vibrant artwork.

Where do you look for inspiration or what helps keep you motivated?

I love exploring different cultural elements and traditional wears from around the world; the colours and shapes that come from those mixed with the environment I am in play a big part in my creative process. 

I am also very connected to my Greek heritage, there is so much colour and pattern that is coming to me from that.

Anna Manolatos illustration for Notely

If we peeked over your shoulder, what would we find you sketching in your Notely?

Mostly likely pots, plants, and creatures.

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