It is very difficult to assign a categorie to Alina’s work. She is an artist, an illustrator, an animator, a printmaker. Alina Vergnano is currently living in Gothenburg, Sweden. I wanted to know more about her story, her passion and her origins.
KALTBLUT: Hi Alina, could you tell us a bit about your artistic background?
Alina: I grew up without video games and with very little television so, to pass time, I started to draw and paint since I was a very young kid. After an high-school focusing on humanities, thanks to a small portfolio of my drawings I got an internship into an advertising agency. There the director saw my drawings and he saw a potential. He advised me to keep on working on my portfolio, and that one day I could have been a very good illustrator. When my internship was over I decided to give it a try, I took my new portfolio and thanks to it I got a scholarship to study illustration and animation at the European Institute of Design in Turin. While I was studying I also did a lot of short courses from printmaking to graphic design to try to get the widest point of view on what I was doing. You can never learn enough!
KALTBLUT: You are from Torino in Italy, but you are now based in Gothenburg, Sweden. How will you describe the creative/art scene in the two different countries?
Alina: Italy is chaotic, beautiful and full of creativity. It’s home for so many talented people and it’s a shame that culture get so little attention and support from the state these days. Luckily a lot of people are still trying to do what they love there creating so many interesting independent realities that keep art and culture alive in the cities. Before moving to Gothenburg I lived almost two years in Copenhagen, where a whole new world opened up to me. The Nordic culture, the elegance, the minimalism have influenced a lot my work. Moving to Sweden I found also an incredibly active artistic underground scene. Sweden excels in craft and design, and I really love the style and the aesthetic. It’s absolutely inspiring.
KALTBLUT: How does both of the cities influence your work?
Alina: I think this two cities and countries reflect very well two different coexisting faces both of my work and of my way of work. On one side the messiness of my studio, the ink spots everywhere and the sentimental side of my drawings and on the other the elegance of the line, the poetic and silent atmosphere that often surround my characters. It’s an interesting mix of influences I think, in my everyday life as in my art.
KALTBLUT: What is your favorite Medium to use?
Alina: Black ink / Black paint
Kaltblut: What does inspires you when you’re drawing?
Alina: I try to surround my self with things I love. Chose a music soundtrack that can fit the atmosphere I want to create, read some lines from some books I like or look at some pictures in the art books I have at home or saved in my computer. I think about an atmosphere, a thought or a specific sensation or feeling that I want to communicate and then I start to draw.
KALTBLUT: Who is this woman that you keep on drawing? What is her story?
Alina: This woman could be anybody, it’ s not a specific person and it’s not me, it’s a symbol of us all, of our more inner and hidden part. Everything for me started by finding into drawing a way to express myself, my thoughts, my fears, so at the beginning this female character was a little bit more related to my own person, but with the time I’ve started to focus more on observing people around me, the way we all interact with each others, how many walls we build around us and in how many ways we try to break them. So the woman has slowly become something more abstract, like a symbol of the thoughts we all have, of our feelings and our silences. In her eyes you can see something but non really understand what she wants to say, it’s the silence that too often we surround ourself with, not being able to really communicate what we are feeling, but desperately looking for someone that could understand it anyway.
KALTBLUT: It seems like you have a preference for big format.. Is it something where you feel more comfortable?
Alina: Actually I love both very small and very big format. These days I love to work on big format because it gives me more freedom of trace, my hand can be more free and there is a bit more of improvisation, I can keep my drawing more instinctive. But I also love the elegance of a smaller drawing, it really depends from the period and from what I want to draw. When it comes to walls I really love how the work become physical, using big brushes and buckets of paint, I like how the line has to become so big to fit the surface and most of all the communicative power of the result.
KALTBLUT: Do you consider yourself as a Street Artist?
Alina: No, not really. I do paint in public spaces, on walls and on the streets but I consider this as an evolution of my work as an artist and and illustrator. What I consider street art has an important and political message in itself and in the fact of imposing itself on the urban landscape. I am not a street artist but I see making murals as something really important for me and for my artistic path and it has also influenced a lot my way of drawing in my studio.
KALTBLUT: Do you have any mentor, artist that influences you?
Alina: I have so many of them. It’s so important to me to have a lot of artistic references, getting so many different input so they melt into something that is a multifaceted source of inspiration without the risk of taking too much from a single artist you like. I am also very interested in artists biographies, there is so much to learn and to be inspired of into that too.
KALTBLUT: You also do animation. Was is for you a logical step to make after doing illustration?
Alina: I like to do many things at the same time and I like to challenge my self on different ways to make art and express my vision. Animation is one of those. I’m not so much into classical animation and I have my own way to create maybe imperfect but very personal animations. I do everything myself, also creating the soundtrack mixing noises and distorted voices with GarageBand (and it’s so much fun). But most of all I like to see my drawing moving, it’s something really magical.
KALTBLUT: What are you working on at the moment?
Alina: Many things at the same time, as always ! I am finishing to work on a new experimental hand-drawn animation, and I am working on a series of big sized ink illustration for an upcoming project. I am also starting in some days a ceramic atelier to produce my own ceramic sculptures and I am so much looking forward to this!
Interview by Nicolas Simoneau