INTERVIEW: Italian illustrator Giulia Caliò
Updated: Apr 16
Film Copyright and Courtesy of Giulia Caliò
Why do you create?
I have been drawing since I was a child. Both my grandfather and my father were highly accomplished painters and it was they who taught me. I still remember when, on my eleventh birthday my father gave me an ancient dark wood suitcase full of oil colors: it was the best gift he could have given me. One of my greatest memories from childhood is of creating a two-handed painting with my father: truly bizarre and wonderful works were born from this collaboration. I owe my love of art to him. Indeed, my parents were always passionate about art. When we were children they would let my brother and I spend whole afternoons in museums and art galleries, it was one of the ways in which they transmitted their love for art to us. For me, drawing is like sleeping, eating and breathing: it has a vital function. It is the way I express my thoughts, my feelings and my emotions, both negative and positive.
Where do your ideas, inspirations or visions come from?
I often feel immediately inspired by watching a film, reading a book or simply seeing artworks created by other artists. I think creativity is something innate: but to know that is not enough. Instead, by definition creativity needs to be cultivated, stimulated and enveloped in a favorable environment in order to grow. People I meet in life are in my opinion the fundamental pivot of this growth.
Is there a philosophy behind your work?
Through my drawings I try to communicate my inner view of the world and channel my understanding of it so that it might reach others. I do so hoping to convey to those who look upon them, those same emotions that allowed their creation. When I start drawing I never have an exact idea of what I will create or how it will end. I only concern myself with following my instinct, striving to remain as faithful as possible to what my true nature.
What is your method?
It is my belief that for any artist or creative, talent is not enough. We must show dedication, commitment and consistency without falling into the trap of monotony: a state of affairs that can completely kill off any concept of authenticity in an artist’s work.
I find that nowadays in a world governed by social media there is a constant and urgent need to emerge at all costs: this, combined with a digital obsession with the construction of one's own image breeds banality, creating a fake and artificial society where nothing is authentic anymore.
When I start a new work I try to isolate myself as much as possible from the rest of the world. I can be absorbed in drawing and painting for several hours a day, but not every day. I often make initial sketches in my moleskine, which I then convey to paper or canvas. At the end of the complete process of creating a work, I have a feeling of well-being and fulfillment.
How do you explain the evolution of your work?
I recognise that the evolution of my work goes hand in hand with my own personal growth and evolution. In fact, my recent drawings are not alike to drawings I created ten years ago and I am sure that over the next few years they will continue to reflect change.
For you what is art? And what is the purpose of art?
I think that art has an important and fundamental function, or at least it has had for me: a life without art is an empty, wasted, senseless life. Art has the function of making people feel good, giving meaning to their lives and offering answers to their questions. I think that all that art is, is a conductor of emotions, both negative and positive. The power of art is that it can leave an imprint in our minds long after we have seen it. That imprint is manifested as a memory, be it a sound, a color or an image.
What is the responsiblity of an artist?
I think an artist is repressed when he is not recognised for the potential value he has to offer and when what he has created is not appreciated. But competition and rivalry are useless things from which an artist must remain completely detached. In my opinion, the only important thing is to do your job, to do it right and do it now.
What are the positives and negatives of online art sales platforms?
I think that selling works of art online is a double-edged sword. On the one hand they increase the visibility of the artist who is then better able to sell their artworks. On the other hand it deprives the natural "physical" communication between the buyer and artwork, which has to be renegotiated. When a work of art is sold in person, it is easier for an artwork to speak for and explain itself, facilitating a buyer to enter into a direct relationship with the artist. This exchange contains a great element of satisfaction for both artist and buyer.
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© All images and video are copyright of Giulia Caliò