Interview with the artist: Ilaria Novelli

Between virtual reality and Japanise manga; between surreal tales and crime beat; between TV icons and hidden perversion. Mixing her traditional background to humanise digital techniques, the Italian artist Ilaria Novelli gives birth to eccentric female characters playing with the contradictory tendencies of our society.

Rather than suggesting an ethical behaviour, the artist combines the sources of her daily inspiration to reverse the usual stereotypes of our current society. From daily news to science fiction to the Great Masters of the past, the artist’s inspiration is in constant evolution as well as her works.

Secretive and not very talkative, Ilaria speaks through her images suggesting creative ways to go beyond the obvious appearance in the every-day life. Pushing the contradiction between what we are used to seeing and how the world is changing, the artist leaves open the question on how we perceive culture and society towards a critical analysis of our times.

Combining traditional and iconic images with contemporary techniques, Ilaria offers an example of how to think of, and play with, new tendencies and technologies without losing the human elements and symbols of our traditional background.

Waiting for her new year’s inspiration, here is an interview with Ilaria about her future projects and artistic journey.

1 – Between surrealist images and digital collage, how did you start to explore and prefer these techniques?

I have always been fascinated by technology, robotics and science fiction, disciplines and concepts consolidated and romanticized by every form of artistic expression. We tend to distrust the digital representation, it’s considered less virtuous and humanized, so I try to use it in a more artisanal way, leaving room to imperfection and to the human component. Starting with the collage, I turned it into a more immediate and intuitive technique both in the realization and in the elaboration, a combination between the handmade and a virtual immanent.

2 – For your pieces, you usually take inspiration from anime and fairy tails as well as crime beat and current events. How are these elements giving form to the diverse personalities of your characters?

Anime is my cosmogony, when I was a child I copied Japanese cartoons’ characters, a starting point to explore my personal mythology made of all the visual and cultural stimuli that surround me. In the past years, I have detached myself from the fanciful components even if I have kept the illustrative form to represent my themes. I have a very personal universe based on my experiences and imagination, I create in a sort of straightforward and private journaling style. Even the personality of the anthropomorphic figures always reflects my mood and my interests, I use current or historical events only if they are aimed at expressing them.

3 – In between childhood and adulthood, your naughty girls are combining conflicting emotion leaving the interpretation open for the viewer. How is this ‘ambiguity’ representing the identity of women in our society?

The feminine and individual soul has suffered the violent impact with the ranting, huge and unpredictable wave of the massifying contemporary culture. Beauty and eternal youth are essential dogmas as well as a collective shared knowledge. Our counsciousness is conformed and aligned as our evolutionary path.

4 – In your works, the naive pictorial style clashes with the brutality of contents, pushing the viewer toward a critique of the social and cultural dogma of our society. How do you see the potential of art in revealing the contradiction of our society for the new generation?

I believe that art is always maieutical and never didactic. The viewer must create or understand the truth or one of its versions.

5 – What are your future projects?

I’ll have two exhibitions both in the USA for the upcoming year. The first at the MF Gallery in New York, I’ll be the only Italian with two American artists: Lou Rusconi and David Scott Montgomery.

The second one is mostly an all female collective show “The Slap Show” curated by the artist Kawaii Suga, a charity event that will collect funds for homeless women.