The Heroine’s Journey of Martina Ronca

What is the best thing that I love about my work?  Having fun. Of course there’s many other things about it that I love – I mean, I work with art, records, books, comics and bands, how could I not love every single part of it? But the thing I love the most is that I do always have a lot of fun in it.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? To feel focused and dedicated to something you truly love, and to share your devotion with someone you feel connected with.

What is my greatest fear? Since I recently suffered from it, my greatest fear by now is to struggle with panic attacks again. What I fear the most during these episodes is, trivially, death. I feel like I’m dying without having spent enough time on Earth demonstrating my family, my beloved ones, myself, my projects how much I care about everything. I guess my biggest fear is living without passion.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? A lot! I’m not a confident person and I can never express myself about how much I do really care about my work, my ambitions, my feelings, or, worst, other people’s work or feelings. I often look careless and disrespectful and this hurts others.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire? Of course, Roberto Gagliardi. His Hellnation Store is the 25-year-old recordstore Claudia and me took over at the beginning of 2018, but defining it just a shop is reductive, to say the least. Hellnation is an independent punk label and publishing house, and Roberto promotes gigs and festivals since I don’t know when. He left Rome to move near Bologna, where Hellnation’s projects will continue to exist. He’s like a super hero for most of the punks in Rome, and he’s a very funny man. I’m glad I got the chance to know him better during the last months and I wish him and his partner Alessia the best for their new life.

What is my greatest extravagance? I’m a crosswords maniac. I know it’s the opposite definition of extravagance, but it seems to be pretty unusual.

On what occasion would I lie?  I don’t know, I’m such a bad lier I couldn’t even imagine myself trying, I’d fail for sure. But I’m a very “resourceful” truth-teller, which helps me a lot when I have to be diplomatic.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? All that concerns public relations, sharing pictures on social networks, story-telling and “professional” advertising in general. I’m not used to make “stories” or photos when I’m actually DOING something, that’s why I like to share my work on Facebook or Instagram only when it’s done or when I feel to share it as Martina, not when I have to as an “institution”.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? I’d say during Beu-Beu Art Festival 2017, last summer. I was surrounded by beauty and peace; most important, I was surrounded by friends and great souls. I had a painful and liberating conversation with a beloved friend, but in pain I found the grace I needed to look at my work with the love it deserves, and that I deserve too. Art and friends helped me to see through the depression I was struggling with, so I thought I could help others to feel this kind of gratitude through art — I am now attending an advanced training course in art therapy.

If I could, what would I change about myself? I’m a pessimistic person, I always see black. I’d like to be more positive, for me and for the people I deal with.

What is my greatest achievement in work? I was in Beu-Beu with my art project ‘WOODoo’, which is a sort of giant puzzle consisting in wooden boards realized by italian artists Cris Gucci, David Vecchiato, Irene Rinaldi, Marcoabout, …littlepoints; on each board there’s a part of an “unconventional” body — it’s the hybrid body of a monster. Every part is unique and different in style from the other ones, and there are more pieces than the 12 necessary to built the body of WOODoo: the audience is invited to play with it, changing the parts, reinventing an image that doesn’t have a correct solution. Every version of WOODoo is correct just because it exists. It’s a project born to interact with people, and it was great to see so many children and grown-ups playing with it, totally getting the message: whatever it is, it’s right.

Where would I most like to live? I’m born and raised in Rome. I live here, I love here, I’d never leave, but great loves can be very exhausting too. When I’ll feel too overwhelmed I guess I’d move by the lake Trasimeno, in Umbria, where my grandparents were born and got married, before moving to Rome in the late 50s. It’s my getaway place: it’s very quiet (also: boring) most of the times, perfect for drinking good wine and doing crosswords by the lakeside, enjoying the beauty of peace.

What is my most treasured possession? All of my books. Comics, art and photography books, essays, all of the books I studied on during university. And a porcelain by italian artist Daria Palotti, a weird adorable rabbit head. It’s the very first work of art I fell in love with, and the first one I purchased

What is my most marked characteristic? My hair, I guess. It’s blue/green.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? The Acquario Romano. It’s the head office of the House of Architecture of Rome now and it hosts exhibitions and events, but it was supposed to be an actual building for aquariums and piscicoltures. It’s not very well-known, because it’s hidden between the other buildings in Esquilino area, but its garden and its architectural structure are very fascinating. Actually, the whole neighborhood is pretty charming and decadent, with the train station on one side and piazza Vittorio and the Alchemy Gate on the other one.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? Vigneto, in Pigneto area. Owners are super kind and they’re real wine passionates, so it’s a very happy place for wine lovers and curious (I am both). I could sit there for hours, relying on their tips, for work meetings or on my own or with my friends – yes, all of these things happen regularly. And food is very nice too!

What books influenced my life and how? The Drive-In by Joe R. Lansdale, because it always reminds me that books are the greatest, craziest and funniest thing in the world.

Who are my favorite writers? Lansdale, of course. Raymond Carver. Yoshiharu Tsuge.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? I guess I’d rather play with my bands, Arabian Tower and the Majors, on my last day. If I couldn’t, I’d probably listen to the soundtrack from cult movie ‘Amore Tossico’, composed by Detto Mariano.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? Frank-n-further from ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? French artist and performer Orlan. Her work inspired all my researches and all my projects about art and body-performance and definitely influenced my point of view about art and society. John Waters. David Bowie.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? ’Cani Arrabbiati’ by Mario Bava.

What role plays art in my life and work? To me, art is the language by which everyone can relate to the world, to others, to himself/herself; for some human beings it’s the most (if not the only) efficient one. So, art is the ultimate medium by which we can be free, and alive, and real. It has nothing to do with beauty: art is truth, even when we cannot, or don’t want to, recognize it.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? Claudia is, literally, my partner in crime, since we run Inferno Store together, and together we spend a lot of time after work too. Art curator Rossana Calbi is definitely my sponsor and mentor. My mother and my sister are my supporters, and my band mates are too.

Whom would I like to work with in 2018?  I’d like to keep on working with emerging artists and bands. And other girls with projects.

Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2018? Inspiring and dedicated ones.

What project, in 2018, am I looking forward to work on? Inferno is a work in progress project. We’re a newborn recordstore and gallery, so we’re going to host gigs, events and exhibitions. And I’ll cure three art acts with Rossana Calbi at Beu-Beu Art Festival.

Where can you see me or my work in 2018? At Inferno Store, of course! We’re in Rome, Porta Pia area. In August I’ll be in Badia a Ruoti (Arezzo), for Beu-Beu. For the rest of the time I’ll be touring with my bands around Italy, or playing horrible tunes from the ’90s during my dj-sets at gigs and events.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? Passion plays a crucial role in work, but even more in life. When passion retires, life ain’t worth living.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? Designer Vanessa Farano (Rome). Photographer Marta Gobbi (Berlin). Dancer Benedetta Patuzzo (Los Angeles).

How can you contact me

Email: martinaronca.0@gmail.com

Facebook: Inferno Store – Roma

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