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In her paintings there’s everyday life: trendy muses are portrayed sitting at a café or chatting on a sofa. Don't waste a minute and enjoy this interview right now!
First off, congratulations on the success of the ‘Red Laces’ Christmas exhibition at the Thompson Gallery. So, what’s next? What projects are you working on at the moment?
Thank you! I guess my next exciting thing is that I’ve recently been invited to do a solo show with the Catto Gallery in Hampstead Heath, London. I have loads of ideas to get through, so right now it’s all about getting inspiration and, of course, getting those ideas straight onto a canvas. It will be my first solo show with a gallery In London, and it will be in May 2020.
Recently, you’ve exhibited your art at the Venice Biennale. How does it feel being a young artist and participating in one of the most important exhibitions?
Exhibiting alongside one of the biggest Art events felt great. It was a very overwhelming experience seeing my work in situ in a beautiful marble palazzo and walking out seeing the architecture of the city with exhibitions around every corner. Arriving in Venice on a boat, at night time, with all the buildings beautifully lit up was the perfect way to arrive.
As we all know Instagram is now playing such a key role in everyone’s life, especially for people in the creative industry, as Instagram is their free portfolio platform. How big is the impact of social media on your works?
Instagram has a huge impact on any artist, it’s open for anyone to view your work. It’s an ongoing online exhibition, a place for people to get an insight of who you’re as an artist as well, and it’s fully in your control. However, it can also set you up for being too critical of yourself and your work, so it’s always good to keep a healthy balance with it. Galleries, collectors and curators are all on Instagram, as it’s such an easy way to tap into finding an artist they like. It's a great way to network and build up your contacts.
How do you find inspiration and motivation every time you want to create a new painting? What’s something that helps you to find inspiration for new ideas?
I find inspiration in everyday life or how I’m feeling. I think putting my issues on a canvas and seeing things from outside the box rather than dealing with them from inside is a great way of tackling those problems. A lot of it comes from people-watching, working on compositions and how the human figure can create angular shapes. Through my new series of works, I’ll be looking into more scenic, everyday situations that everyone can relate to.
You’ve done a lot of beautiful paintings, but which painting are you most proud of?
The painting I’m most proud of is entitled ‘Gossip’. It’s a very personal painting, that I’d been wanting to do for a long time. I wanted to portray emotion and one that other people could relate to as well, which they did, so for me I've succeeded in evoking that emotion. It’s a painting that hangs in my home to remind myself not to let certain situations take great affect on me. This painting was also the start of something new, which will lead to other paintings for my new show.
You graduated from London’s Drawing School and studied ‘Portraiture’ at the Florence Academy of Art. Along the journey, you must have learnt a lot of techniques and styles, but how did you come up with your own style of painting? Can you please tell us how you discovered your own style?
The Florence Academy of Art was the start for me in learning important techniques and, after being taught the basics, you naturally take it from there. My style has evolved more from the challenges I’ve faced, trying to push myself from these challenges or painting blocks, and doing something new can really help. It’s like working with different parts of your brain until you find something that you're comfortable with and it suddenly takes off. Your style will always be changing, just as you do as a person: you’re always learning and that just comes out in your work. However, a lot of the time you don’t see the progression until a year or two years later.
Nowadays, people can be so critical about everything that's not to their liking. How do you deal with criticism?
It’s up to you how to take on criticism, everyone will have something different to say, as no person is the same. Painting is very unique, it’s all about how the artist sees it and how they want to portray it. Accepting criticism is your chance to look at things with new eyes and learn something, or you can feel happy with what you’ve produced instead.
The world is full of competition, do you consider yourself a competitive person? and how do you stay focused in such a competitive world?
I wouldn’t consider myself a competitive person, I'm competitive with myself in the challenges that I face, always pushing myself too hard, which can be a good or bad thing. Putting too much pressure on yourself and comparing yourself to others will only swallow you up and take the focus away from what you actually love to do. These things can easily set you up for failure. You need to take your time and stay focused on your work, naturally things will progress: the more time you invest in yourself, the more this comes across in your work and automatically pushes you out there!
There are a lot of young people who want to be artists, what's your advice and message for them?
My advice would be to not let the criticism get to you, paint what your heart wants to paint, as that’s what being an artist is all about. Having a degree in art doesn’t make you an artist, how much you sell doesn’t define you as an artist either. Working towards solo shows and competitions is a great way to push your work out there.
I think you’re one of the luckiest people in the world, because you’re doing something you’re passionate about as your job. Do you have any other hobbies or passions other than art?
I love to travel, experiencing new cultures and landscapes. Both my parents are zoologists, so from my childhood I’ve always been fascinated with nature, and traveling is a great way to see this. To experience new senses, opening your eyes to the world around us. You go back home feeling refreshed and inspired. It’s also a perfect way that these two passions integrate into my art.
Of course, we all have been through ups and downs and there’s always that one thing that can lighten up our mood. For you, what is it?
Self-care is very important, especially when things start getting on top of you, so I make sure to take time out from work or anything else, as I don’t want to lose the love for it to something that feels more robotic, feeding into a world that can be greedy and can drown you. Planning a trip or taking a day off with the dogs is my go to!
You probably have exhibited your works in every gallery in the world, but which gallery would you love to exhibit your paintings in?
I’d love to exhibit in the Tate, It’s a gallery that I've visited from such a young age, starting with family, school and college and to this day, so to see your painting hanging in the Tate I think is every artist’s dream.
Every woman has wardrobe essentials, garments or accessories they can’t live without. How about yours?
I love my jackets. I think any outfit can be built around a well-structured jacket, so for me it makes the look. My wardrobe is mainly made up of jackets.
What’s your style statement? How do you describe your fashion style? Does it relate to your style of painting?
My style is very simplistic: I tend to wear a lot of black, as I like to keep it neutral. I follow both French and Italian fashion. I like well-structured clothing, so big square coats or slim fit jackets, with a pair of statement boots. This definitely comes across in my work. I'll tell my muses what to wear, so I can combine texture along with shapes and colours it’s all about finding what works together and is pleasing to the eye. I love to make fashion a part of my painting, as this is something that people can relate to and a great way of making a statement!
Adelie double breasted blazer
Single-breasted one-button blazer
The Shoulder Pouch leather bag
Leather and GG supreme fabric slippers
Cable knit sweater
BALMAIN AW20 MEN’S COLLECTION
A desert scene set the background and atmosphere at the Balmain Men’s Autumn-Winter 2020/21
Luisa is not only mom to Giovanna and partner of Francesco Mandelli, but also the founder of one of the main communication agencies in Milan.
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