Monday, 27 July 2015

Nicoletta Ceccoli

I'm very excited about today's artist.  I've admired Nicoletta's work for so long.  It's been so long I actually cannot remember where I first saw it, it's just captivating.  

Sometimes when I give my feelings on an Artists work I worry in case I've 'got it all wrong' and it is completely different than the Artist intended, but Art is meant to be subjective, in the eye of the beholder, isn't it?

Nicoletta was born and still lives in one of the world's oldest republics in the world, San Marino which is surrounded by Northern Italy.  I thought I would share a picture of San Marino, such a beautiful place, lots of original Architecture - I would love to go there as I would Northern Italy (well all of Italy to be fair).

Back to Nicoletta and her work.  Nicoletta studied animation at the Institute of Art in the Palace of Urbino.  She quotes the place as being an inspiration to her, it was built around the 16th Century and seems like time has almost stood still.  There were paintings there from one of her favourite artists Pierro Della Francesca who was an Italian Painter from the early Renaissance. Other inspirations include the many children's books she'd read.  Since then Nicoletta has illustrated many books and some of her work has been made into an Artbook called Beautiful Nightmares.

Nicoletta's work is very dreamlike and surreal, the type of description you can imagine hearing someone say preceded by 'I had the strangest dreams last night'. Her work is very personal, she puts a lot of feeling into the images whatever that feeling maybe, whether it's fear, beauty, sweetness or cruelty, Nicoletta doesn't shy away from that. 

I think that's what draws me in, is the fact that sometimes the subject matter is dark but the figures etc are often very pretty and sweet. Sometimes a sugar sweetness with what sometimes appears to be a sadistic feel, like you never know if these girls will hurt the subject matter in the images with them. For example the picture above and the one below of the girls with the broken Gingerbread man. They're eating parts of him while he appears to be crying.

You know the feeling kind of reminds me of Imelda Staunton's character Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter, outwardly everything is pink, fluffy and sweet but the underlying nature was pleasure from cruelty, power and unpredictability all sugar coated.

Here are a few more of Nicoletta's images: some with an air of sweet freakishness or a hint of sensuality. But all of them appear to have a story attached.  

I read a great description while researching Nicoletta as soon as I read it I instantly thought 'Yes! that's it' It was on and written by I believe Miu Vermillion they were reviewing Nicoletta's work and said that they felt that each picture is almost like a frozen frame of an animation film.....perfect description!


Nicoletta has had her work in Galleries in various exhibitions across America as well as in Italy and Germany and she has won awards for her work, which is completely understandable.

So let's meet the talented lady herself...

My name is Nicoletta Ceccoli, I am 43 years old. I am from  the republic of San Marino. 

Tell us about your art now and what you do

For many years I worked as freelance illustrator, now I am dedicating to my personal art only. In my pictures I play with contradictions.  My creations looks both enticing and scary.

I think it is important to give a face to our fears.  Not hiding the dark aspects of life. My dark and sometimes  macabre fictions exude a cuteness that is distinctly feminine while avoiding overt sentimentality.  A scene may portray a struggle, a fight or blood but it is presented in a seductively shiny surface ,and my characters looks adorable even if they are 'freaks'.  I always offer a delectable mix of repulsive and attractive in my images.  The characters in my pictures  are a kind of  my alter ego. they tell stories that are very tied to me.  Painting is a way to exorcize my ghosts using irony.

What is your earliest creative memory?

As a child I spent lot of time by my father's laboratory creating objects and toys in wood, he inspired me and the love for nature and for creating things with my own hands as he is a wood craftsman. 

My mother was always surrounded with beautiful picture books instead. Books make me wonder about other lives, they inspired me to invent my own other worlds. I dedicated several years to  illustration for children's books.  Only in the last years I have left  illustration  to dedicate to  my personal art. But I never felt ready to abandon childhood for the adult world yet. (I don't blame you!)

What is your favourite medium

I love both traditional acrylics on paper and digital,sometimes I love to mix the both

Do you ever suffer from a creative block and if so how do you get yourself out of it?

I am a very anxious person, in the last years I feel a bit the pressure of the expectations when I am preparing a new show. so I am afraid to do wrong.  Then I try to remember that to be creative means to make errors only by following the usual paths you don’t make mistakes.

Who inspires you?

Everything I see and experience nurtures my inspiration: poetry, paintings, literature, fairy tales. I am inspired by mythology for the irrepressible imagination and metamorphosis between creatures of the world and the humanization of all things.

From the first idea comes a process of 'obsession' that last weeks, I try several sketch and the initial  intuition takes form, the idea is enriched with conscious elements that I feel are connected with the initial concept  that is spontaneous, unconscious

What is your favourite piece of work that you've created?

It changes from time to time, now I would say ’Contrary Mary’.  This work shows a princess, her skirt is hiding a dangerous dragon.  It shows her power, her will for independence and need for protect from the outside world.  In an ironic way..

What are your creative ambitions for the future?

To always feel a sincere inner need to express myself through art.  Not to end up to repeat myself wearily. 

How do you silence your inner critic ?

I can’t. He bites me hard every day.

What do you do when you're not being creative?

I go to the sea for a swim or a walk. My studio is full of weird broken toys that I found near the seashore (in winter) in a special place were they gather. They are castaway objects, like fragments of forgotten memories, that are touching to me .

Tell us where we can find your work and your social media sites.

And finally....What would be your 3 desert island craft/art items

Pencils, charcoal .

To draw like primitives did with graffiti in caves and over rocks. I really love nature, exploring caves.  Living a bit like a primitive attracts me.. maybe because of the many hours spent in my room with paintings I feel like I am gasping for air sometimes..However I feel I need the intimacy and silence of my studio to create..

It's been an honour to feature Nicoletta's work.  I feel there is so much more to find out about her and her dreamlike work.  I'd like to share my favourite piece of Nicoletta's but I genuinely cannot pick a favourite, but I will share one I do love before I go.. it's one of the Beauties and Beasts, it's a beautiful piece with a whimsical feel.  

I hope you've enjoyed Nicoletta's work as much as I have reviewing and researching it, follow her on Facebook and visit her website, her work is fascinating.

A big thank you to Nicoletta for taking the time to answer my questions.  I appreciate it and good luck for everything you do in the future.

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