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I Look at the Future with Optimism. Interview with Mara Colecchia by Klimt02

Interview
Published: 09.12.2020
Mara Colecchia
Mara Colecchia

Author:
Klimt02
Edited by:
Klimt02
Edited at:
Barcelona
Edited on:
2020
Mara Colecchia. Necklace: Beetle, 2020. Japanese seed beads size 11, marbled lucite spheres size 18, nylon thread.. From series: Symmetries Collection. Mara Colecchia
Necklace: Beetle, 2020
Japanese seed beads size 11, marbled lucite spheres size 18, nylon thread.
From series: Symmetries Collection
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.

Intro
Now things have shifted towards a virtual community and the Zoom revolution has made connectivity paradoxically easier because we can reach artists and institutions from all over the world, but at the same time harder, because we can feel isolated. [...] As an artist, I do not always enjoy the solitude of my studio and I naturally search for connectedness. Therefore the net is a vital tool for staying motivated, updated, inspired, and connected.
Tell us about your background. What were your first influences to be creative and become an artist and what has drawn you to contemporary jewelry?
I have a background as a screenwriter of animated TV shows and children's literature, interactive apps for children, and gaming. I moved to Los Angeles, California, from Italy in 2009 to attend a 1-year screenwriting class at The New York Film Academy and I stayed in the USA. In Los Angeles, I benefited from a creative environment that made my perspective expand. I have always been interested in art and crafts, and as a writer of children's literature, I had at the time a sort of obsession for pop surrealism.

Well, in LA I had the chance to see many stellar exhibits of the most eminent personalities in that movement, and I even met a few of them. I started then gravitating more towards visual art than writing, and as my career shifted towards independent publishing, I had all the time to experiment with illustration, sculpting, and character design. I began to exhibit my dioramic installations of figurines and comic strips titled Shoebox Tales at the Hive Gallery and Studios in 2011. I soon after became a resident at the gallery and later on, I studied ceramics at the Santa Monica City College and other studios in the greater Los Angeles Area. Before I knew it, I became a full-time artist, member of the Los Angeles Art Association and exhibited in collective shows. After a few years as a ceramicist, I began to take photos of my pieces on sofas and I admired the beauty of the ancient sofa covers I was utilizing in my shots; I told to myself: what a marvelous medium that textile is, I will have to make something with it at some point. So in 2016, I created my first textile sculpture made out entirely from a used sofa cover, which took me 3 months to complete; that piece represented a shift in my language as a creative. I since then kept exploring various textile media and I naturally began to create wearables.

It's been a rather long process to go from creative writing to wearable art, and I believe that my location has been fundamental in this journey; it was just like one thing led to another, and one step at a time, I earned my spot in the realm of wearable art. In 2018, I learned how to weave seed beads and since then I have created mostly jewelry with beads. My first exhibit was Artistar Jewels 2019 in Milan.


How important is networking for you in your professional practice and what are your preferred tools for this?
Networking is everything for a creative and I am eager to get to know other artists’ work by attending interviews and seminars, at times taking classes to learn from their practice and skills. Before Covid, I used to go regularly to check art shows and events in museums and colleges of design, mostly to stay up to date and to see what are the new trends. I used to make the acquaintance of many interesting designers, artists, and curators; I was even a member of critique groups because it's so important to receive feedback on our work. Now things have shifted towards a virtual community and the Zoom revolution has made connectivity paradoxically easier because we can reach artists and institutions from all over the world, but at the same time harder, because we can feel isolated.
 
Necklace by Mara Colecchia. Odalische, 2019. Japanese seed beads size 11, marbled lucite spheres size 20 and 18, nylon thread. From Symmetries Collection.


What are your general thoughts on the contemporary jewelry world, (education, market, development...), where do you see chances and where are dead ends?
I see that the level of skills has tremendously improved and there are hundreds of extremely talented and skilled designers out there. This is largely due to the net, which has become in the past decade the main source of education for many of us and has created also bridges that in the 20th century would be unthinkable. I am really excited about the trend of the jewelry world, which has finally transitioned from fashion to art, including every possible media available on our planet (and more) and has finally left behind some conformism that would relegate the art form of jewelry making exclusively to goldsmithing. The trend of sustainable fashion has also contributed to the affirmation of textile and wooden jewelry, for instance, giving these media importance never seen before.

On the other end technology has allowed designers to experiment with new materials and the whole 3D printing revolution has been vital in the development of concepts more and more sophisticated. I can see how at the same time artisanal skills have improved but also technology-based design has made big steps ahead. It feels like the whole creative world is expanding as one only spongy lung, taking in from the world and giving back to it. It's like a collective consciousness in action. The collateral is that there are now more artists than collectors, so it has become extremely challenging to make a living with our work.


Thinking about your career, what role do technology and the digital play in your artistic development & communication?
I use regularly online platforms such as Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram to create meaningful connections with other artists, to reach out to galleries and competitions, and ultimately to research everything that enriches my world as a creative. As an artist, I do not always enjoy the solitude of my studio and I naturally search for connectedness. Therefore the net is a vital tool for staying motivated, updated, inspired, and connected. I just couldn’t do without it!

 
How has your work changed over the past few years and what are you excited about these days?
My work has become more experimental, as I started to apply a bead-weaving technique to unusual mediums, such as straws and baseballs. I am also taking inspiration from 3D generated imagery that I find online, in particular from two acclaimed digital artists that I follow on IG. From this perspective, I can say that my work is turning more and more pop, and certainly more daring. I definitely moved on from craft and shifted towards a more artistic type or research, at the same time looking at the past (pre Colombian art, the Bauhaus movement...) and at the contemporary world (3D generated imagery and pop art). During the pandemic, I had more time to experiment and I admit that it has been a gift for me to have the ability to focus so much on my passion. I am grateful to this portal of opportunities that have just opened up and I look at the future with optimism.
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