Did you always plan to work in a creative industry? How did you get to where you are now?
I have always loved to draw since I was a little girl. During my teenage years I ended up doing art high school and then I finished my studies in Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan, where I graduated in Design and Photography. My dream was always to work in a creative field. Before working as a professional artist, I actually had a kind of pause moment from the art world - right after graduating. For almost 3 years I worked for a corporate company doing online customer service and working in a marketing team. I cannot say that this was useless or a waste of time. These years on “pause” actually helped me a lot in promoting my art online later. Everything can be handy! I was still living in Italy at that time, but I had a chance to move to Dublin in 2013, where I wanted to start over and take a creative path for good. I started to look out for galleries and promoted my art online, selling originals and prints. That year was the start of my art career, where I had the chance to have different opportunities to showcase my artworks, online and offline. After almost 3 years spent in Dublin, I felt that London was the jump to take in order to move to the next level of my creative career. In 2015 I moved to London, where I am still based. London brought me other opportunities to showcase my artworks, and more. I also started to make art workshops, to connect with the community and share my big passion for art. This was a great discovery and I still love it!
Talk us through your typical working day?
Every day it’s different, but usually I try to organise my day based on priorities. I usually try to work simultaneously in different projects because I don’t want to get bored. Most of the time I prioritise collaborations, then my personal projects. I also like to challenge myself, trying new things, materials and techniques. I love the fact that everyday can be completely different...it’s refreshing.
When did you first discover mt tape and how do you use it in your work?
When I was in Dublin I heard about this fascinating product, so I ordered a batch online to see how was it. At that time I was already doing my collages, but I missed something, and that something was the tape! I literally fell in love with mt - it was colourful, versatile and a very high quality product. I thought that as an artist I could use it in a completely new way, and my experiments with this material paid off. I use mt as if I am painting with it, but I don’t use any brushes. It’s kinda fun and weird, I love it.
We are fascinated with your ‘Diary Of Future Memories’ Art Journal. Could you talk us through the idea behind this?
Thanks! Well this is a creative book realised by Camilla Ronzullo, aka @zeldawasawriter. Each chapter of this book is full of creative quotes and suggestions from the author. She basically invites the readers to modify the book entirely using her creative directions. I truly loved this concept, so I am giving it a go. I am actually working on all the pages where Camilla is asking to create an imaginary family album of unknown people. In this case, I picked some random subjects from my collection of vintage photos and transformed them entirely. The background pages of the book became a way for me to experiment with the masking tape, and the final result is colourful and playful, as it should be. I can’t wait to fill all the pages of this inspiring book!
Photographs are central to your work. Where do you find your inspiration for workshops and your own work and how has your style evolved?
Because of my academic studies in design and photography, I believe that I have unconsciously merged these two passions. During my Academy years I was also a collector of vintage photos, and after a while I needed to do something with these images. Collecting them was not enough for me, so I started to play around with pens and stickers decorating these pictures. This practice satisfied me so much, and I didn’t want to stop anymore. After 4 years of making this kind of art I explored the possibility to make art classes, so it was natural for me to make collage creative sessions. I also wanted to bring different workshops to the community in order to stimulate my students. Even if in each session I use similar materials, the medium can change and adapt, based on repurposing, recycling or reusing items that we already have in our homes. These mediums can be vintage postcards, photos or paper, fashion magazines, posters that we wanted to throw away, vinyl records and so on. I love to challenge my students, and to let them understand that it is possible to transform existing items into something beautiful. You just need the right tips and materials to revamp anything into something new.
The biggest challenge of your career to date?
Unfortunately, the pandemic emergency is not giving me the chance to teach art classes anymore, and this is something that I miss. As many others, I am a self-employed artist, and we are facing a big challenge in the near future. We will need to reinvent our way to engage with the world. I hope to come back to teach soon, but in the meantime, you can find me online. I will soon release some video tutorials for all to see, to get inspired, creative and to distract for a while from these hard times.
What is the highlight of your career?
Last year, I was able to work for so many amazing brands, event organisers and companies. For me, the highest moment was to work for the Kensington Palace, where I made a series of 3 workshops during their Bright Nights events. The palace was open to the public for 3 different nights and my workshops were part of the programme! It was a really great experience.
Quick fire questions
Best advice you have ever been given?
Don’t be afraid to think big
Favourite Gallery or Museum?
If you could have dinner with three artists (past or present) who would they be?
Yayoi Kusama, Frida Kahlo and Luigi Ghirri
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Naomi Vona photographed by: https://www.instagram.com/stefani.stoyanovaphoto/