Natalia Cellini was born in 1971 in Grosseto
After taking a Scientific high school degree, she attends a decorative art private school in Rome and in 1999 she opens an art studio in Grosseto. She cooperates with primary and secondary schools, organizing educational workshops and projects aiming at spreading art at every level. At the same time she is devoted to painting activities, taking part to solo and collective exhibitions. She’s a painter, a ceramist and a jewelry designer. She lives and works in Grosseto.
Her work consists in investigating the transcience of human life, in an attempt to rescue from time what is, by its nature, bound to disappear. Her works are the answer to some “absences” that are also temporary voids of the soul to fill in with deconstructions, reconstructions, assemblies of waste materials, personal objects, stuck to the support, drowned in the wax, left to the spectator’s eye, not to be told, but to be felt.
The birth of a painting is a complex process: it always responds to a psychic or emotional urgency. A stimulus is significant when it hits me and makes me change. I tell the story of my change. I do not reproduce the object but the consequences it brings within me.
The body is essential for me to make complexity. What is at the basis of my painting is a pre-linguistic
experience and this remains even after the creation on the canvas. It cannot be traced back to an explanation through concepts. It is not a symbol or a metaphor. It is a matter of thought. The context of my work is given when ‘my body’ enters the material, the cement, the colour, the wax spread to veil the backgrounds, and above all is giving a discourse around the body itself as it attempts to come out.
I am the model of myself. The artistic operation is therefore the geometry of my inner space as the world has transformed it. In order to hold together the new forms of a changed-self with the creative urgency, I superimpose layers, being each of them the result of a perceptual experience, of a mesa in focus, of a feeling. Sometimes it’s not enough for me to put things together according to schemes, linked by threads of narratives. That something of a sensitive and imaginative life becomes a variety of edges, shades of shadow, and then I go back to the neutral tones of canvas texture. To start over.
Hi, Natalia! Tell us a few words about yourself. How would you describe yourself and your work? And what does a typical day look like for?
Natalia: My encounter with art was not an accident, I have always had a certain way of looking at things, a propensity to grasp the beauty of a line, of a form, and I have always had the ability and the will to let myself be penetrated by all this. My being an artist comes from the relationship between the world and my way of perceiving it. Everything I know and ‘feel’, my own consciousness of being alive, passes through the body, which functions as a sort of membrane filtering between the inside and the outside. This is why corporeity comes into play forcefully: because my way of proceeding, of intervening on the canvas is not thought through pre-constituted schemes, but felt directly. I could work on my paintings with my eyes closed, because what guides me is only the matter felt through the hand. All I do is leave imprints of history and actuality of woman and artist. In my work, the matter is human time. Every day I get up and go to my studio. Constant commitment and discipline are what I demand and need in order to not get out of the creative flow.
What’s the coolest art tip you’ve ever received?
Natalia: Actually, it wasn’t a suggestion, it was a meeting. Several years ago I met a person foreign to the artistic environment, but in his own way an artist, who helped me become who I am. It made me realize that being an artist is making a commitment, it’s starting to deal with the freedom that every artist is obliged. He told me not to close my eyes to the reality of the human, social, political world, in order to form ideas. He told me that only later would I be able to make this version of reality disappear and let the thought emerge in the form of hand movement on the canvas, to live the physical relationship with this essential way of being and to feel that I am ‘me’.
Some artists paint every day, while others paint when they feel in the mood. What enhances (accresce) your motivation and do you paint every day or when the mood strikes you?
Natalia: My artistic way of working is to go to the studio every day and spend my time living the reality of personal stories, current events, art and experiences. Books, canvases of mine and of my colleagues, and objects chosen with passion are a constant stimulus not to settle for the beauty that is already around me. Mine is not a sentimental art: I mean that in the face of emotions, whatever they are, I paint them. I never let feelings stop me, I don’t think about them. But I allow them to have their effect. My works display a variety of feelings that act within me. They are internal images of things that are not yet there.
How do you keep your ideas fresh?
Natalia: Art has the task of providing us with innumerable, contradictory, coexistent, utopian and dystopian versions of the existing world. To investigate the asymmetries, inequalities, oppositions existing in the relationship between man and his fellow human beings, and in the relationship between man and nature: this is the constant stimulus, indeed it is much more than a single stimulus. There’s enough for a lifetime.
Your art is very unique. What’s the most challenging part of your artistic process? And how do you overcome it?
Natalia: Einstein said that his research began with wonderment but that wonderment made him feel stupid, so he wanted to fill this gap between himself and what was incomprehensible to him. My artistic being is living in that gap: constantly asking myself questions and seeking solutions, answers; trying to understand. And honestly, it’s never easy.
This means that all artistic work is an impasse and not it’s undoing. I am not satisfied by reaching a goal, or at least I am partially satisfied: the most difficult part of my work is to look for a critical question in which to expose myself and my work to. My works are a letter of intent that I write to me better than me, that will always remain an unreachable ideal.
What is your most recent piece of art that you have enjoyed working on the most?
Natalia: In this inexhaustible journey between myself and the pictorial expression, there was a detour one day: I accidentally came across the raw and millennial beauty of rocks and minerals, ferrous waste of scrap from an abandoned mine area. I was fascinated by the random shapes, the chromatic and tactile traces that the materials carried. All the imperfection of weather and human labor was imprinted on the iron. I immediately decided that I wanted to take with me that nobility of hand-forged essential objects, the sacredness of the earth that had produced and hosted them. Hence my new research on the level of forms in jewelry production. I started to assemble flakes of dried earth and burnt them in fire, along with rocks and minerals dating back millennia. I wanted to be meticulously careful to preserve the imperfect and not make beautiful or ‘easy’ objects. I was interested in relating the “nacosto” aspect of the stones, what they carry with them for millennia in the secret of the underground with a hidden part of the people, the emotional part. It was due to this that my first collection, ‘Back to Beginning’, followed by another ‘Restrain me’, came about. A project born of chance and that I was so passionate about, I decided not to abandon it, at least for now.
How has your work developed since you began and how would you see it evolving in the future?
Natalia: As far as I can remember, I started drawing straight away. An adolescence crossed with expressive anxiety, the search for possible paths inspired by books, images, music, alternative literature, and philosophy, all in the quiet of my room. I had solitary adolescence which allowed me to develop sensitivity and awareness of what I wanted to do in life. After graduation, I felt free to start my real training, the artistic one. There was a private school of decorative arts in Rome, a little apprenticeship with my teacher, and then I decided to open my own studio. There were whole years spent executing commissions of frescoes that allowed me to refine and master the pictorial technique. Until, the figurative mimesis aimed at flatly describing the elements of nature and life, was no longer enough for me: I wanted to try not to subordinate the formal elements to external models. The first years were attempts to get rid of the structure or rather a way of expressing those feelings. It remained that the field of my research was that of memory, of presence, of the sediments of inner life as generative nuclei. The definitive abandonment of the structure had given way to the expression of the internal image through forms. In recent years, each work is an inner biography that consists of earth, sand, marble dust, glue; pigments that are both the base and the body on which I engrave instead of drawing, so that the figure remains expressed in that action on a physical density really present in the picture: scratches, incisions, subtraction.
Love for matter is the common substrate of all the expressive forms with which I have expressed myself and continue to do so. I do not know how my art will evolve, I am not able to say: I like to think that there should be no paradigm, because the very moment in which it is formulated, the artist does nothing but overcoming it. Art cannot be thought of.
Share some interesting facts about your art with us.
Natalia: There are no interesting facts, my life is an interesting fact with everything that determines its amazement, perplexities, expectations, inevitable losses, and unexpected confirmations.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Natalia: I have no sensationalist soul. Memorable is what is worthy of being remembered. It has no specific uniqueness. I can’t offer anything truly memorable, I’m here because I still need and want to emerge and make myself known. Therefore perhaps it is memorable that you are willing to accommodate the reflections I had in mind on my art and my life in a generic way, and that have found their form, thanks to you.
What is the best way to reach people that are interested in your art?
Natalia: Connect in any way.
What’s next for you?
Natalia: I’m working on a series of paintings that will be part of a private collection.
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