by Alice Ghinolfi
Hi Stella, let’s start right off with specific questions: let’s talk about your last show, On the Wild Side. I know you’ve been working on it for a long time…since when precisely, and how do you organize your work?
Hi Alice! The first piece of this exhibition dates to a year ago. I made it without imagining that it would eventually be part of this project.
Shortly thereafter, I worked on another similar idea and so I realized that I was unconsciously following a topic. Which then turned out to be “my own” celebration of perfection and the cruelty of the wild nature of animals and the floral poetic. In those days, I was also followed the birth of Giacomo Giorgi’s documentary “On the Wild Side”. His dedication and firm belief in his work convinced me to explore and touch these matters. As for the structure of the exhibition, I usually include an element of the previous show in the current one. In this one, in particular, I’ve kept the figure of the whale that I’ve used many times in the past and I enjoyed combining techniques and ideas I used through all of my projects. So, I used wood, paper, light bulbs, mylar, papier-mâché, fabric, embroidery, collage and stencil.
What stands out right away are the bright fluorescent colors – the same that my father used when he printed t-shirts in the 80s – and the big inscriptions used almost as a slogan. It ranges from the ancient use of Latin to catalog and designate the species, to the modern use of the can. It’s all very flashy and aesthetically dazzling: my vision of beauty is not very refined but very pop. Screen printing and stencil reign supreme …
I read that your show is inspired by Giacomo Giorgi’s documentary, from which it derives the title “On the Wild Side”: what struck you the most about his work and how did it inspire you?
I have known Giacomo Giorgi since he was a kid: he was an important member of the Sea Shepherd organization. He is amazing, and his collaborators too. I admire their attitude, the passion with which they take care of certain topics, the power they express, the ability to commit completely and to find resources in spirit, to exalt beauty even in cruelty. I thought I wanted to express the same involvement: he would describe useless ferocity, while I a fundamental richness. Two sides of the same coin. What it is, what it could be, and what it should be. Coordinate a complex situation of harmony and destruction.
My exhibition is a feeling of love and admiration for the whole floral world that climbs and rises, for the animal world made of running legs, tails and snouts, for the charm of the unknown and the wonder of the obvious; seen also from a dreamlike, oneiric, surreal and cultural point of view.
Everything is always around us and everything amazes us always.
Like the documentary calling for a ban on hunting, my exhibition offers “solutions”.
My work “rabbithead” (for example) is my vision of a new race, half human and half animal, respectful of both species, an imagined solution for the future of integration and coexistence.
Are you a vegetarian or vegan? What would you tell a sworn carnivore to convince him to give up eating animals?
I have been a vegan for 21 years. It’s difficult to convince a carnivore, because it is not meat we’re talking about, nor a diet. Veganism is “one” of the solutions to the problem of exploitation and consumption of the Earth’s resources and of life appreciation. We tend to imagine animal rights advocates and environmentalists as people who take care of their own causes, which are not ours too. Perhaps we should instead understand that this is the place where our children will grow up and where the people we love live. Using less resources (and therefore also not eating meat) is a huge help to preserve a good place to live or at least try and leave it as wonderful as it is. Veganism is a form of attention, an easy and respectful solution.
Your style is defined as a mix between Straight Edge and Pop Culture … how can such opposite souls coexist in you?
Straight edge is a punk movement that I have been a part of for many years. It is not strictly connected to my pictorial style but to the type of attitude that makes me choose to carry on one project instead of another. It’s been a while, but the experiences I did when I started painting have influenced my poetic style anyway. It’s part of my background, and since this exhibition includes all my techniques, it is also fair to mention my personal evolution, sparked from a certain underground scene.
In your history as an artist, what work are you most attached to and why?
My lit-up Madonnas. They were a nice mix of travel experiences, culture, mentality, work, family, and technique. I have always seen them as a “revelation” and an “unmasking” of the hypocrisy hidden beneath smirks and tepid embraces. The weapons I added “unveiled” the soul. But I had a lot of fun hunting down prayer cards in the churches of Rio de Janeiro and absurd posters in the Vatican shops.
I know that you’ve been collaborating with the Parione9 gallery for over a year. What can you tell us about them and how does your relationship work?
I met the gallerists a year and a half ago. They were immediately friendly and my things were very appreciated. For me, working with them was very important. I had two children in three years: they’re still very young, but after a period dedicated just to them, it became crucial for me to find my place in art again. The Parione9 gallery immediately involved me in very interesting projects. It’s a dynamic place and I love collaborating with women.
What artist of the past influenced you? And which contemporary artist particularly impressed you?
There are artists who will amaze me every time I see something by them, like Okuda, San Miguel, Patrick Cabral, David Cook, Cheyenne Randall. I look at them, copy them and envy them. They are all artists of the present.
Projects for the near future?
There’s a project I really care about. I’m working on it slowly. It’s called “PIRATE YOU GOVERNMENT”, and it’s part of a project that started at least 14 years ago, portraying people in the artistic field in expressive and aesthetic attitudes similar to pirates. They will be posters, used as propaganda of the message “pirate your government”: it’s a made-up verb (“to pirate”) that incapsulates the meaning of protest against everything that is imposed on us by someone who stands above us, be it a government, an institution, a politician, an entrepreneur, etc., an imposition that is no longer acceptable. The word “government”, in this case, only retains a sense of power and is symbolic. The largest and ever-evolving project is to invite and “recruit” artists of various backgrounds who belong to a subculture and a counterculture. Then to portray them and turn them into symbols of the ideology dissemination, under a common (although articulated) belief. Everyone anyway with his personal “fuck”. My project starts from Rome; I would very much like to “celebrate” in my own way the many talented Romans that I met, with whom I collaborated but also that I have recently discovered. It’s my vision, my thanks to this beautiful and infamous Rome that produces geniuses and louts with the same force.
What would you suggest a young person who wants to embark on an artistic career today?
To look everywhere, to believe in what you do but without making it complicated, to adapt wherever there’s a real need and not to be afraid to change.
Tell us something that you haven’t done yet in your life, but that you’d very much like to do, and another one that you did and that you wouldn’t do anymore if you could go back in time.
Going back, I’d manage some past sentimental situations better. I’d like to have the opportunity to live in different countries. I would need so many lives!!!