There are many pros and cons for both directions but, it is always fascinating to hear that a childhood dream came true. Simona Candini started her artistic journey as a child. Her first desires were to create, to paint, to develop an art skill. During her life, as many of us can relate, those dreams were stopped by what we call a reality of adult life. Fortunately for us and for her many fans around the world, she found her inner spark and made a fire. A fire of creativity, craft, and beauty.
Where are you from? Where does the art journey start for you?
Hi! I’m from Bologna, Italy. My art journey starts when I was a child. I loved to create comics and illustrations with funny characters like cute animals or inanimate objects. I was using old daily planners to create my “comic books”. I still have all of these at my parent’s home! I was also creating manga style romantic stories. Then I grew up and went to the scientific high school. I had to study a lot and I couldn’t draw as much as I wanted. After the high-school I didn’t want to go to the university and so I started to work as a secretary.
But my passion for art was still burning inside me and after a couple of years I decided to continue my study and this time I chose the Academy of Fine art University in Bologna. I had to pass a test to enter because I didn’t previously go to the art high-school and the classes were tough because they assumed that you already had an art formation. It was a great experience, but I always consider myself a self-taught artist, because most things that I know about painting I had to learn by myself by trial and errors. I was working in the evenings, attending classes in the mornings and studying during the rest of the day. I ended up graduating with honors and it was a great satisfaction.
What is the first emotion that drives you towards creating an art piece? Do you recognize the connection immediately and let yourself flow on the creative process? Or do you "bake" the inspiration for some time?
I have constantly new ideas that I would like to paint right away, but most of the time I can't because usually gallery shows have precise themes. Also when you work on commissions you have to follow the idea and themes chosen by your collectors, which it's something that I actually love because my collectors are very much in tune with me! I like to hear their stories, their ideas and connect with them. So I have a “magic” notebook that I keep filling with my thoughts and, anytime I have a chance, I make a painting based on the ideas that I wrote down. It happened to have something written there for a few years before I was ready to paint it! I feel a urge to create, I can't stay too long without painting, I feel terribly guilty for some reasons. It feels good to paint, being in the now while listening to music or to an audio-book. I helps me to concentrate and focus on what I'm doing.
On the contrary I have to be in complete silence when I'm sketching out my ideas or I would get distracted. Art helps me to go through the difficulties of life and so sometime what drives me to paint is the attachment and love for life, the need to go ahead day by day. When I sketch an idea, usually I stay with the first layout, so I don't really make many version of the same painting before starting.
What is the back story of your design? Because every one of us sees the world through separate lenses. How hard it must be to transfer it to other people?
Well, I paint mostly for myself , I mean it is my own need to paint and I paint what I like, what I would love to hang on my walls. I paint what I feel, my dreams, my favorite fairy tales, I paint something inspired by music that I love, books or even movies. I don't know what other people will see, I think that everybody is free to interpret my artworks. I love when people reach out and let me know that my art brightened their day, or that helped them going through a tough period, when they tell me that they can relate with the characters of my artworks. Sometime It happens that I write a little explanation about what drove me to paint a certain subject, but we are all different and with our own baggage of experiences and life, so it's wonderful to know how wide is the range of emotions that an artwork can stir in the heart of somebody depending on infinite variables.
When it comes to making a living from your art, what are the main struggles? And what would be your advice for starting artists?
Personally my main struggle is being productive as I would like to be when it happens that I'm physically sick or maybe I'm in a tough period and emotionally not in the right place. In these cases it's hard because I would like to do so many things but I don't have the energy and I have to
Accept that the only thing I can do is to take good care of myself and give me some time without forcing me too much. When there is a close deadline though, you don't really have the chance to take some time off, an so you have to really gather all your energy and go ahead even if you don't feel at your best. This really teaches you a lots of discipline. In the common imagination the artist is somebody who only paint when is very inspired, maybe at night and have a life with little or no rules. But in real life most of the time is not like so! We actually need to set our own rules in order to accomplish our goals and being too free sometimes can be a disadvantage if you don't know how to handle such freedom. So my advice to a starting artist would be is learn discipline, create good habits, be consistent, have grit (which is even more important than natural talent!) and go ahead in following your call, no matter what other people says.
What do you prefer, single pieces or storytelling through a whole project? And what approach do you use in each case?
Actually I like both creating single pieces and series, but probably I mostly work on single pieces because I like the variety of characters and moods. When I work on a series, for example illustrations inspired by a fairy tale, I pick the parts of the story that means the most for me and that would translate good into a scenery possibly filled with little details. I like to take different moments and character from the same story and freeze them into a composition a little bit like in a movie poster.
Why do you use certain materials? What connects you with them, and makes you feel they are perfect for your art piece?
I've been using different media through the years, but the one that I connect the most with is oil on canvas. Oils are slow drying and I like the possibility of going over, blend some more, taking my time to work the colors in, the shades, the tones. I don't fit well with fast techniques. I do use watercolors too sometimes, but I “invented” my own technique that doesn't really require being fast. I love to create transparent glazing of colors over a monochrome under-painting. That's my favorite technique with oils and I do my best to keep learning about it.
What does ART, in general, mean to you?
Art is my call in this world and to me means purpose, the right path when I'm lost, connection when I feel alone, hope when the world around me seems collapsing and it's therapeutic when I feel blue. Art for me is also my way to express joy, love, beauty, diversity, enthusiasm for the little things and sometimes away to watch the world through the eyes of my inner child. I think that art is an elixir and a cure for the hearts.
The FOURLINEdesign team would like to thank Simona Candini for sharing inspiring thoughts with our community.