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.

Interview to the artist: Sine Senze

Sine Senze is Martina D’Anastasio, a young artist based in Rome. Since her childhood, she is living in between reality and an underworld populated by fairy and magic creatures. Drawing her imaginary friends to bring them to life, Martina transforms painting and drawing into the language to narrate the underworld in her mind.

Starting her studies with realistic and photorealistic painting technique at the Rome art academy, the themes of Pop Surrealism capture the artist’s imagination during a trip in the US at Dru Blair’s School of Art. Mixing these two techniques, Martina plays with elements of reality and fantasy to explore human emotions and giving form to new worlds playing with the visual elements of our contemporary society and traditional fairytales.

Combining traditional and classic icons with grotesque and surreal elements, Martina offers a personal and intimate perspective on our world with a unique lens that challenges the borders of what we consider real and logic.

Exhibiting around Italy, Europe and US, here an interview with the artist about her work and future projects.

1 – Could you tell us where your art name comes from and why did you choose it?

The name Sine Senze is a mash-up between English and Latin: it means senseless, without sense.

2 – In your works you combine photorealistic paint with Pop Surrealism themes.  How did you arrive to prefer this combination of media?

I’ve been always fascinated by the photorealistic technique. You can reproduce something that looks real on a “flat” surface and if you think about it it’s more abstract than abstract art. It’s an illusion, it isn’t real. It took me many years to learn this technique. I had to work really hard, especially on colour value. But you know, as many artists I’m never satisfied, and just “repaint” reality bored me at some point. I needed more. Since I was a kid I’ve always been playing pretending to be someone else like a fairy, a witch, a magic animal. I’ve always had an alter world in my mind, full of weird creatures and imaginary friends and the way to bring them to life was to draw them. I draw since I remember, since I was a little kid. It is my way to communicate: I paint, I draw to tell you a story. I learned to paint and then I combined this skill with my inner imaginary world and that’s how my “Pop Surreal” journey began. In my painting I’m telling you a story.

3 – How travelling and meeting international artists have had an influence on your artistic journey?

I’ve met so many important artists. Some of them inspired me so much but some of them disappointed me as “real people”. I’m sure I might look delusional to some of them as well. I always think that it’s better not to know your hero: when someone is your  “Art Hero” stays in your heart as a flawless soul and that’s how it should be. I know, It might sound depressive! 

4 – Especially after your trip in the US at Dru Blair’s School of Art and the immersion in Pop Surrealism themes, your works often play with uncanny and beauty. How does this tension represent the combination of reality and fantasy in your work?

Travelling around the United States was a dream. I learned so much, I saw so much. It is a place where the beauty and the ugliness of this world live together, like the yin and the yang. Reality has both the faces and I wanted to express this in my art. Fantasy is the other face of reality, sorrow is the other face of joy. I wanted this tension to be expressed in my art, I want my inner world to meet the reality and built a connection between the real world and the dreams world. That’s why photorealism wasn’t enough for me.

5 – Can you tell us about your current projects?

Now I’m moving forward on my “Broken Mirrors” projects and I’m also working on “blurred” portraits series. I can’t wait to show you more! In those paint the central question is the Io (self), our identity, our bound between this world and the other one, how we are fragile and so incredibly strong at the same time. 


Interview with the artist: Marco About

Marco Bevivino is a Roman artist expert in music, pizza and supplì. The ‘arty’ name Marco About comes from his old music band, the Think about. He does not like to be defined as an artist, at all.

His creative journey starts with hand-made music posters, bouncing around freelancing jobs; a too long experience as a graphic; to end up in a silkscreen laboratory  – where he seems to be finally settled. Meantime, before jumping into interactive urban projects and festivals, Marco used also to present his illustrations in different art exhibitions, until he decided to leave the ‘arty-world’ forever – excluding some rare exceptions.


During this unconventional journey of exploration, Marco plays with traditional and digital medium without ever losing is humoristic and direct style. Despite his disillusion of our times, the artist plays with animals and weirdos to interact with the audience making jokes on our contradictory society. Here an interview with Marco about his work and his thoughts on the potential of art to interact with people.

1 – How did you start between illustration and music?

When I was about 16, I began playing in a punk hardcore band. At the time, the posters of the events were completely hand-made. Where I use to hang out, talented guys usually created posters for their own music shows, with scissors and newspaper clippings.

I have been always drawing, but only for myself; I just did some graphics work for the shops around my area. As soon as I had the chance to make a poster for my own band, I immediately rebound to try out possible combinations of images and words. Supposedly, someone thought that I was not that bad after all, and slowly I got commissions for concerts, festival and different kind of events.

2 – From graphic to silkscreen to pen and pencil. What is your favourite medium?

Surely, my favourites are pencil and pen on paper because of their immediacy; it is where everything starts. Years ago, silkscreen captured me, and I hand-printed a lot of posters. When sometimes I still need to print something, I usually go to the lab where I use to work as a graphic.

The graphic, unfortunately, it is a boring work that I always try to avoid.

3 – You often portray animals humanising their emotion and behaviour. How do you see the relationship between animals and us?

Animals are the true inhabitants of the planets, while we are dirty and disrespectful hosts slowly leading the world to the collapse. Actually, animals’ emotions are a way more beautiful and pure than human’s one. Not fully understanding them, however, in my drawings, I tent to attribute to them our behaviours… and they don’t really deserve it!

4 – Working as graphic and musician, you are often in direct contact with your public and your work has a strong visual impact. Does the art need to be communicative for you?

Thanks for the ‘musicians’! Actually, I don’t play very well and I am singing even worse in a hilarious punk-rock band.

But yea, I believe that art is here to communicate, to tell you: ‘hey you, something is happening here, can you see?’

This message should arrive to all, and for this reason, I think that we need a language and images clear to anyone. In the end, the scope is to communicate, even if it is difficult sometimes.

5 – You are also part of the artistic collective M.U.Ro to renovate forgotten areas of Rome with Wall Painting.  How would you describe the potential of these artistic interventions in the city, particularly in the social context of Rome?

I collaborated with M.U.Ro a few years ago. The Roman artist Diavù initiated the project to renovate some of Rome’s areas. I did an intervention painting some little animals in a park of Quadraro and some others in a pre-school.

Among M.U.Ro, Rome is full of realities working on the requalification of the city through art, but my experience with Wall Painting ended at the time.

I am sure that these are projects full of potential. Today, a few years later, my position about is slightly changed.

I believe that a huge monster of cement is not going to change with colours on it. Actually, the risk is to give more attention to something ugly and bad located compare to the landscape.

In this sense, sometimes, maybe we should be more careful in choosing where and how to paint.