SMALL TALK: ANDREA SOLAJA
SMALL TALK: ANDREA SOLAJA
Andrea Solaja is a narrative artist based in the north Italian city of Trieste. Sometimes when I speak to people that i find truly inspiring, I realize that it's because they seem to live outside time and space. Andrea is one of them. Her rolemodel is Artemisia Gentileschi and it seems like she eats art for breakfast but I promise you, she is human. She listens to Justin Bieber in her headphones! In the picture above, Andrea is wearing a 5PREVIEW T-shirt, from the SS20 collection.
Emeli: Tell me a little bit more about your occupation, you're a narrative artist!
Andrea: Yes, I am a Narrative artist and this is my occupation.
In my art I prefer to use dark colours, as if the light was kept on the inside and protected. I want my paintings to tell stories and convey my feelings and in order to do so I use the body, the female body. A precise pose allows me to transfer onto canvas what clearly took shape in my mind. Painting is the way I communicate, through it I am able to open up and express what words can’t really explain. I paint what happens in the world, what strikes me. In every single painting there is always me, my thoughts, my surroundings, my demons and my disquietude. They are all conveyed by determined strokes.
Through the colours and the body position I use, I am asking you to open your mind and heart, to ponder and understand what I feel. My paintings are sometimes also guardians of memories which are coated with melancholy and old familiar habits that faded away. Telling stories using shapes is a way, my own personal way, to let feelings out, to free myself and close the circle.
Emeli: You studied fashion. And how come you moved away from "moda" and into art?
Andrea: Somehow the two things have always lived/moved together, since my high school days. I would rather say that I had a period where I dedicated perhaps more attention to ‘’moda’’ than to my art. But people change you know, and in this moment of my life I m doing my best to connect this two passions. I’ll tell you a secret….I’d like to move my art also on fabrics… will see! I’m now working on a new project and it’s all about the nearsightedness (called ‘’Myopos’’). The aim of this project is to overcome the barrier of superficiality and go further: in search of lost imperfection.
Emeli: How would you describe the world that you have created on Instagram, the place where we met. What does it mean to you? I find it very tasteful and inspiring.
Andrea: That’s so nice from you, thank you! I think I don’t have a precise and outlined style on Instagram, and sometimes it can be very frustrating!. At the beginning I tried to follow ''the rules’', because crazy obsessed with some accounts, like applying maybe the same color theme to all my photos, using the same perspective etc.., but after a while I found it so annoying. That wasn’t me at all. The world I am creating on Instagram is some kind of ‘’indirect communication’’, where I'm asking my audience, through a certain pose or movement, to open their mind and heart, to ponder and understand what I feel in that specific moment. Telling stories using shapes is a way, my own personal way, to let feelings out, to free myself and close the circle. Women. We are a thousand stories long…
Emeli: With the depth of the ocean and an entire consellation woven into your soul... What is your thoughts on “clothing” and “fashion”? The difference of the expressions for you, and how important is CLOTHING / FASHION to you personally?
Andrea: Oh, nice question! Before I become a mum, I was hit with a “I will die if I don’t have that” thing….Today I'm more selective and responsible regarding ‘’fashion'' issue. (Still trying to improve!)
I think that CLOTHES are your signature style, what you wear 90% of the time and love so deeply that you will wear it forever. Regarding FASHION, for me is a form of art, but it should be more fun, durable and ‘’regular’’. Statistically speaking, we only wear a shocking 20% of what we buy! Insane, right?
Emeli: I probably wear 5 % of what I own and now I want to put that little monkey emoji that hides behind his hands. Do you have a “style icon”? Or better: some other kind of role model or idol in life?
Andrea: Aww, I do and they are all women! But the one who will always have a special place in my heart is Artemisia Gentileschi, a Baroque painter. Her story and force should be a lesson for everyone! I'll Show Your Most Illustrious Lordship What a Woman Can Do!
Emeli: Artemisia Gentileschi. I had to copy/paste that. I had never heard of her before and I read about her now, what an amazing destiny, wow. I will definitely try to read more about her. The story, or more the fact that she is a classically schooled female painter, makes me think about a french movie I just saw, A portrait of a lady on fire. Have you seen it? There are beautiful colours, beautiful clothes and landscapes, rooms. And the sound of a fireplace of the waves are always present.
Andrea:I think she was an extraordinary woman and such a strong fighter. Her story is somehow always present in my ‘’art’’ stories, I think I have some kind of obsession. Unfortunately a lot about her life was lost during the war, but you can still find a good and serious books about her. Regarding the film, I have never seen it and it will be my priority this week. Seems very nice! Thank you for the tip!
Emeli: Your favorite quote from Picasso “Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun”, what does that mean to you?
Andrea: It embodies the true meaning of art and the artist’s journey. The artist is constantly looking for the interpretation the every day existence of our world. Some deepen their sub-conscious, interpret dreams, others make political protests. A lot of others observe nature, life etc, whatever the subject or reason behind it, there can be no denying the power exercised by art. A power to move our moods from high to low, from low to high can be stirred by the simple act of immersing ourselves in art. It is also a motivation for myself: who I want to be?
Emeli: Now I'm not going to ask and who do you want to be?... But what do you read at the moment?
Andrea: ''Le Rouge et le Noir’’ by Stendhal.
Emeli: ...and what do you have in your headphones?
Andrea: Don’t judge me please, but at the moment I’m a Bieber’s fan!
Emeli: Not judging! You gained a lot of points from Stendhal haha. What's your next adventure?
Andrea: I’m going to Salisburg next June to improve my art! Can’t wait! And after that in mountain… I’m getting married!
Emeli: Congratulations! Your art is sometimes really beautiful, I love “Pensieri Blu”, “Busto Femminile” “Riflessioni” and you have an extraordinary technique!
Andrea: ...your words mean a lot! Thank you!
Emeli: I'm an illustrator myself but I really can not draw so I found my “own style” (quite naive) and I work a lot with letters ( like all the prints I do for 5preview). But I realize I'm too lazy and i never challenge myself! And I don't really develop! Where are your challenges? Do you go outside your comfort zone?
Andrea: First of all I don’t think you are lazy, I really like your style! Honestly, it’s not that easy to build it! Second: My life motto / challenge is: Surprise yourself everyday! Each day is a great opportunity to try something new and push yourself into areas that test your capabilities as well as widen your horizons.
Emeli: I'm really interested in the widely used term “sustainability”, and I wrote a little book about my researches towards enlightenment.
Andrea: ...I enjoyed reading it!
Emeli: ...and ended up in making D-I-Y tutorials for the SS20 collection of 5REVIEW. I don't want people to consume anymore! But anyhow, can you sew?
Andrea: Yes, I do. I learn it during my High School days (I graduated in Moda & Design). Outside of‘’home shelters’’, no never. The idea of making ‘’The Kimono’’ from your book inspires me a lot!
Emeli: What is your thought on sustainability, especially when it comes to clothing?
Andrea: As I mentioned it before, today I'm more selective with regards to my private life, but also for what concerns my work. I think that each of us can do a lot, it’s a matter of ‘’giving up’’ on some things. We need to develop solution towards second hand (could be a very good start)! Some weeks ago I was having a nice conversation with my friend who is working in Amsterdam on a curious project. Shortly, her boss is giving a second life to the wedding dresses. She is transforming them into the real pieces of art! There's a lot of work behind this kind of project, but it worth it! ‘’Less is more’’ is something I'm teaching to my son, the great value of our lives lies in the experiences and the possibility of getting excited. Feel alive.
Emeli: What kind of place is your wardrobe?
Andrea: Very simple, minimal and practical. With a five year old ''nano banano'' around, must be like this!
Emeli: Your five favorite pieces of clothing in your wardrobe...
Andrea: Doubleface wrap coat, wool chunky turtleneck, twill wide leg pants, skinny jeans, oversized grey hoodie...
Emeli: You live in Trieste, right? For someone interested in fashion and art, where would you suggest that person to go? Galleries, museums, shops, bars....
Andrea: Trieste is not the best place for the fashion lovers, but we will improve this! Well this city is PURE ART: full of architectural jewels! The most of the buildings ( like the Terni Smolars House, Casa Bartoli etc) were built between the 18th and 19thh centuries, when the city lived its most prosperous period under the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Trieste will tell you about its history trough its castles, starting from the most famous Miramare Castle, designed in an eclectic style by architect Junker in 1856, or The Castle of San Giusto. We also have a very nice Museum of Modern Art, Revoltella Museum, home to numerous works by great artists of 20th century (Arnoldo Pomodoro, Lucio Fontana etc), Joyce Museum and many others.