Evanescent girls dominate and blend with natural landscapes. Delicate emotions, soft touches in the heart that leave sweetness and nostalgia but of that beautiful, romantic that makes you dream. These are the emotions I tried to look at the illustrations of Mariangela Artese, a young artist with a pure and courageous soul, a talent that is shining in the world of art for humanity and authenticity. Some of his works are still on display in the streets of Bologna on Via dell’Abbadia for the Cheap Festival. I met Mariangela in a lovely bar and between laughter and smiles she told me about her artistic evolution.
How did you approach to art?
My mother and my father are artists. I was 5 years old and I remember that my parents had opened a shop in the center of the village where my father painted and where they made painted lamps, pillows and other artistic projects. They also made a book together where my father illustrated and my mother wrote, a book that won awards. Just the other day my father showed me his drawings with my mother’s poems below.
Since I was a child I lived creativity. My mother always painted me clothes, from jeans to shirts. I’ve always had this passion. In high school I wanted to do the Art School but there wasn’t in my country, there was only the Art Institute. Then I wanted to enter at the Academy but in Rome, if you haven’t done an artistic school, you can’t enter. At the end I turned to Sociology. At the university we created an independent magazine called “Insinuosamente” and I took care of the cover. Although it was not at the center of my studies, art continued to be part of my life becoming my hobby.
And when did you decide to dedicate yourself just to the art?
After graduation I had an important health problem that forced me to return to Italy. At the time with my boyfriend we had just moved to Germany but due to this very serious problem I could no longer travel. I found myself forced to live in my city after so many years. I left my city when I was 18 years old and at the time of the return I was 27. It was difficult but it helped me. It was an introspective, very beautiful time. I said to myself: “Ok I’m back. Now what do I do? “. I started to creating on an artistic level, making handmade pins. One day a friend of mine who works in a fairly well-known bar where they play concerts asked me: “Why don’t you come and sell your creations there?” I tried it once and it went very well.
What kind of artistic style did you develop?
I jumped into the fashion world at the beginning and after returning to Bilbao I attended a Master’s degree in this. Through my studies I created collections with my illustrations and collages printed on the fabric. But I felt that I was using fashion as a tool to exhibit my art. I started making shows, I also won some prizes but inside me there was something that didn’t convince me 100%. I didn’t like sewing.
So your journey has been a continuous search…
Two years ago I started practicing Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism and little by little I brought out my most authentic part of what I really wanted to do. From clothing I moved to the accessory until I decided to devote myself entirely to illustration and collage through which I tell my life. I discovered that fashion was a means I used to protect myself from very intimate things. So I decided to make a collection that I called “Playing with insects” inspired by when I was little, when I always played with insects, snails, caterpillars. It was a great success. In August in my country I exhibited for the first time at a music festival that organized my friends. And right there I met a girl from Turin who told me about Paratissima, a very important national art fair. Last year’s theme was insects. I signed up and they selected me.
How did the show go? What were your emotions about it?
The first day I was worried about the installation, I didn’t know how the reaction of the people who would see it would be. Then one of the organizers of Paratissima approached my works and together with other people started looking at me and talking without me being able to hear anything. At one point she came towards me and looked at me: “I can only tell you that they moved me.” It was just what I wanted to convey. This gave me so much joy. The next day I sold two paintings and they gave the awards: out of 87 artists they gave 7 awards and I returned among them. I won the Art Production award which meant starting to work with them. For me it was the best prize they could give me. I have created an illustration for Paratissima that they have produced and will sell in multiples of twenty and will bring in all the Paratissime that they will do. The exhibition ran in Milan, Bologna, Turin, Cagliari. A world has opened since I joined it! I did Paratissima in Bologna, Milan, Turin, Rome, Mallorca, two exhibitions in Bilbao, in Bristol where I met a gallery owner who liked my work. Even in Turin I started working with galleries.
The series of insects was inspired by your childhood. And what about the little girls on the seashore that you exposed this year?
Last year following a not good finished relationship I started surfing. It was a difficult period but also very beautiful: I met wonderful people and I rediscovered the well-being of being immersed in nature. In these pristine, beautiful places I felt part of the whole. The works that I exhibited this year came from this. The child is always me, it’s my inner child. In the illustration it represents a moment, a state of mind, a characteristic like the desire to be lighter, to lighten my karma. I represented the air, the sea, the salt water as an element of purification. Rock as a force. I tried with the natural elements to represent what I felt.
What is creativity for you?
As Einstein said “Intelligence while having fun”. Creativity is when you let your inner child live. That part of you that gets excited, has fun. Stay there. There are no rules in art. You can do what you want. You can get away from it all and listen to you. Recently, five people started crying in front of one of my works. It was wonderful. A work to be able to excite must come from a deep connection with yourself, from listening to you, otherwise you can’t get to excite the other person, it would be something false. Yesterday, talking to a colleague of ours, we asked ourselves: When is an artist successful in his work? In my opinion, when he manages to excite. Art is curative. A Bulgarian philosopher spoke of the artist as a means to connect with people. “Before starting his work, the true creator feels the need to gather. In order to receive that light from above that will illuminate that vision of his. His efforts to go farther and farther and higher offer him the revelation of true beauty as well as the possibility of expressing it and transmitting it. If and when it is truly inspired the artist can create masterpieces because his whole being is imbued with the light that he himself received … “.
It goes beyond the technique…
Yes. In my opinion, what I see is that there are very good painters, then they produce in series and become too realistic. That is, you see it, you feel it when a work is done for a commercial purpose or is done because it is really felt.
If you had to give advice to a young woman who would like to take an artistic path what would you say?
To get involved because so many times it is the fears that hold us back. If I think “if I had started earlier I would have had more time” is true but perhaps the maturation time was right now. There has also been a long work with myself. I advise young people not to be afraid of receiving no. Sometimes what blocks you is the fear of rejection. I too have received so many no but also many yes.
What about the future projects?
Now I would like to travel outside Europe, perhaps in Indonesia. And make a collection inspired by those places. My dream is to exhibit in New York. I would like to continue making exhibitions, to make myself known. In one year there has been a great evolution both in the commercial value of my works and in the number of exposures. Time is really precious. When I was physically ill I realized that we are not eternal. Now I thank that moment. It was tough but it made me understand what I love.
What book are you reading now?
“Sincro Destino” of Deepak Chopra