Welcome to my very first interview here at Lou Lou & Oscar. I really am so excited and honoured that I have managed to persuade some wonderful artists to answer three short questions about themselves and their work. I am hoping to run these interviews on a regular basis (Mr Mac permitting!) and hope that you will find my fantastic interviewees as inspiring as I do. That is more than enough from me, let’s get on with the interview!
Who is that skipping with style across the rooftops of Provenance? It is my first interviewee Sara Cimarosti aka Violetta Testacalda. I did assume that Sara was actually named ‘Violetta’ based on her Flickr/internet identity, happily Sara didn’t mind at all. I am so grateful to Sara for agreeing to be the first to answer my questions and I have had a fine time exploring Violetta Testacalda on Flickr where I first came across Sara’s work. I knew that I had to find out some more about Sara, her work exudes such an intelligent and playful spirit, it is also very, very beautiful. From soft sculpture to illustration and mixed media collage, Sara is so amazingly talented and skilled. You will soon be as hooked as I am on Violetta Testacalda.
Tell me a little about yourself, the media you work with and your creative process.
“I’m a graphic designer, based in Bologna, in Italy. My nickname “Violetta Testacalda” arose from a play on words. In English it means “hot-head”, it’s a joke referring to a period in which I crocheted several woollen hats for a shop. About my work’s approach, I get fun by creating something, usually. An artwork is something that remains, it doesn’t matter how little or important a piece is, it will be anyway a unique piece. The attestation of a moment. A visual work has to be able to remind me of a particular moment. Even if, not necessary of a happy moment. Usually I prefer mixed media, working by mixing illustration with photograpy or fabrics with paint. I love especially collages and often I work digitally on photos and pencil drawings.”
From where do you draw your inspiration: music, books, people, nature etc?
My inspiration?… uh, actually I think a lot of different things and people inspire me. First of all childhood, animals and plants. People. Home Heart, from France, for fabrics and decor taste and for the beautiful brush calligraphy. The Victorian age, for its elegance about graphics, style and architecture, for the inventions and in particular for the irony. Everything that is simple inspires me. The purity of primitive art, especially Inuit drawing. I love the sense of the minimal and the composition of Japanese print, Ukiyo-e tradition for example.”
“There are some designers,illustrators and writers I admire, artists who somehow inspire me. Bruno Munari, Raymond Savignac, Raymond Queneau for their bright minds and for keeping alive the child in them. Michel Gondry, Hayao Miyazaky, Italo Calvino for the same reasons and for making me smile through their true genius. Frida Kahlo, for being a great artist and a courageous woman. I get inspired by Polish affiche and Czech visionary art that I find so free graphically. Stop motion shortmovies, such as the work of Jan Svankmajer. I will stop now but I could go on longer. There are so many sources of inspiration!”
If you could talk briefly about the background to one of your pieces which would you choose and why?
“To me the hardest thing to do now is to choose an artwork I made!
I think the one that best describes me is the potato stamped Bird with the red flower (above). I guess because the print technique is funny and super basic and I love the subject. An artwork I really care about is Bosch Icy Christmas (above). I’m glad you chose to feature even Promenade (at the top of the post), my father took the picture, that was a really nice day.”
Thank you so very much Sara for sharing your work with us, I am such a fan! I can’t wait to see what Violetta Testacalda has in store for us this year. I asked Sara if it is possible to purchase her work anywhere, she told me that it is something she is exploring, fingers crossed for the future! In the meantime you can keep track of Sara’s work via her Flickr site.
Oh, that was so much fun! How wonderful to *meet* the people behind the work you admire. I wonder who is up next? Check back next week my curious kittens.