Congratulations on being the Emerald Winter Pride Arts Award winner!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your work, and what made you apply to the Emerald Life Winter Pride Arts Awards.
I like to describe my paintings as slightly controversial portraits of contemporary society. The human figure and the human condition are always central and I tend to choose characters who are authentic and enigmatic and whose personality has a potential to resonate with feelings, fears and taboos commonly experienced.
Issues surrounding beauty, sexuality, gender and identity are thus at the very core of my art which is why I decided to apply for Winter Pride.
What does the awards brief this year ‘Line of Beauty – exploring sexuality, gender and identity’ mean to you? How do you feel your entry fits with this brief?
Common understanding and representations of beauty, sexuality and gender identity unfortunately still rely on a base of deeply rooted myths and prejudices which do not account for the richness and the diversity of human beings. The piece I submitted explores a different, very contemporary idea of beauty which challenges these stereotypes and departs from traditional binary gender classifications.
What is your inspiration? What makes you want to work?
I can simply say that life itself is my inspiration, however I am not aware of the dynamics which push me to translate the multitude of emotions, experiences and encounters we all come across on a daily base into a specific, tangible form of art. In a way, it is this irrational aspect of the creative process which deeply fascinates me and keeps me going.
The Arts Award is open to eleven different art forms this year – what to you is art?
Art for me is an expression of the spiritual, unconscious side of ourselves and a tool to access it at the same time. When you are making art, you enter in a dialogue with your inner self; even if at times it can be challenging, connecting with this inner creative force yields temporarily feelings of bliss and freedom.
With cuts to funding and arts studios looking to continue in the UK, what do you think are the greatest challenges to artists?
The greatest challenge to artists perhaps is to keep connected with our creative side without being overwhelmed and distracted by financial pressure and commercial interests.
Do you think that society still values art and artists?
Art is part of every individual and therefore of society as a whole. The Internet and the widespread use of social media have opened the access to the art world to everyone regardless of their economic and cultural background and location. Now more than ever people actively engage with art and artists. My answer is therefore yes.
The problem arises when the economic and political system supports primarily a culture obsessed with profit, or when financial constraints force people into mechanical jobs, leaving very little or no time for creative activities.
And finally, we are all going to be feeling proud this Winter Pride season, but what else makes you feel proud?
In this specific moment, I am really proud and grateful of being part of Winter Pride Art Awards. In general, I’m proud every time a battle however small is won for the advancement of freedom and respect for humanity and the environment.
Interview by Alice Botham, Arts Coordinator