The Heroine’s Journey of Valeria Di Ponio

What is the best thing that I love about my work? 
It’s when I fall in love with a feeling or a gesture and I am able
to translate it in signs and brush strokes

What is my idea of perfect happiness?
Being free in the wilderness, thinking about new ideas or projects

What is my greatest fear?  
Losing freedom of drawing and painting

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? 
Overworking a piece because of fear

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire? 
There are a lot of them. I like the ones that create their own world,
full of soul and grace and the ones that have no fear to express their deeper
or darkest feelings

What is my greatest extravagance?  
I let my wild-self free, just like a squirrel!

On what occasion would I lie?  
I’m not able to lie, even if it’s for a good reason. It leaves me struggled within

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?
That my insecurity doesn’t leave me free to express what I feel inside

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? 
I am the happiest every time I loose myself in what I’m painting, just like
falling into another world or a dream

If I could, what would I change about myself? 
I’d like to be less insecure hence more focused

What is my greatest achievement in work? 
Having found my daily time for painting and drawing..
“No day without a line”

Where would I most like to live? 
Close to the ocean with my piece of land and a little shed studio with big windows

What is my most treasured possession?
My little dream-cathcer if we’re talking about things

What is my most marked characteristic?
I can show a lot of endurance.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?
I love the Giardini Reali in Turin, a beautiful park in the centre of the city,
where I spent a lot of time when I was a student

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?
There are a lot of good places in my city, but I prefer to bake pizza
for my friends and sisters at home

What books influenced my life and how?
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, Black Elk Speaks by John G. Neihardt,
American Pastoral by Philip Roth and many many more … Poetry has always had a huge
influence on me just like music and great novels bring you a vision and this is a
powerful gift

Who are my favorite writers?
Many writers had a big impact on my life over the years.
I deeply love Flannery O’ Connor and Emily Dickinson
and it’s been very inspiring and important for me reading Neil Gaiman
and David Foster Wallace

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?
Pearl Jam (but I will die quoting Rage Against The Machine lyrics)

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? 
Can I say Batman?

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?
Patti Smith

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? 
Hunger by S. McQueen (but once in a lifetime you got to see all
B. Bertolucci movies)

What role plays art in my life and work?
It’s everything. The only thing I always wanted to do since I was a kid.
It helped me telling things that I couldn’t say in words

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? 
My beloved ones and friends

Whom would I like to work with in 2018?  
It would be great to collaborate with other artists that work with
other languages and many painters that I admire

Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2018?
Someone who believes in a new project that I’m working on

What project, in 2018, am I looking forward to work on? 
A collaboration with a writer who is a dear friend of mine and a new exhibition

Where can you see me or my work in 2018?
I’m working on new exhibitions to be defined

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? 
Don’t give up, you need to keep the light on

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?
There are a lot of incredible creative heroines, Anna Madia, Moira Franco,
Grazia Salierno, Jo Lane, Giulia Caira, …

How can you contact me?

Here follows a message of Peter de Kuster,  the founder of the Heroine’s Journey 

The Heroine’s Journey Conference 2018 – Rome

The Heroine’s Journey is coming to Rome. We are bringing The Heroine’s Journey  Conference to the vibrant city of Rome on 12-14 October with a transformative and properly entertaining three-day event on the most important ideas we teach. Our conference aims to transform lives and build the best kinds of connections. It is designed to equip participants with a toolkit of creative entrepreneur skills that can revolutionise relationships, careers and self-understanding.

What to Expect

Our conference is hugely memorable and distinctive. For a start, you are not being taught in entirely standard ways. Peter de Kuster and his team of coaches on stage don’t merely lecture to a passive audience; they invite almost continuous interaction, getting participants to look inside themselves, to complete a variety of exercises and to share their stories with others.

Talks are peppered with films, art, pieces of literature, pieces of music and visual prompts; all the senses are properly stimulated to keep the mind fresh and receptive. Furthermore, there is an enormous emphasis on friendship. We are not merely seated quietly on our own, isolated from other participants. We are guided to mingle, form smaller and larger groups and reveal meaningful things to one another. It is impossible to leave after three days without having made quite a few firm friends.

Conference Leaders

The Conference, led by The Heroine’s Journey founder Peter de Kuster together with a team of coaches specialized in working with creative people  takes participants through a three-day immersive experience.

Programme Details

Day 1 FridayThe Heroine’s Journey:  Career Management for the Creative Person. 

We begin with a look at what the life and career of a creative professional is, how it can be taught – and what we can acquire of it in the days ahead. We consider our particular position in history: living with the desire for creative fulfilment and career success – and we propose that The Heroine’s Journey has a distinctive set of answers to the opportunities, disappointments and dreams of our time.

We identify that a core task of any creative professional is to achieve self-knowledge. To this end, we take you on a journey around your own mind, paying particular attention to the stories you tell yourself about you, your creative work, your time, your money, your self promotion, your relations. Which of these stories brings you to what you want and which of these stories has to be rewritten, transforming in the process your business and life?

Next we consider your meetings with others – clients, friends, business partners. We admit to our longing for sincere connection with others, but also to the challenges of finding this.  We learn about the art of connecting, about ways to listen to others fruitfully and how to overcome barriers to intimacy. We teach strategies that help remove excessive superficial contact from our lives, and put all these into practice at a social event with our newfound acquaintances to close the day.

Day 2 Saturday Morning The Power of your Story

On our second day we study why we have the creative career we do – and how our early experiences give us scripts of what, how and whom we are passionate about in our creative career. We learn that there are always more possible paths in your creative career than we initially believe and that we can broaden our unconscious scripts of how we can make money doing what we love by understanding our past stories more clearly.

We also look at the techniques that can make creative careers work in the long term. The Heroine’s Journey firmly believes that passion is ultimately a skill, not an emotion. We learn about how to communicate, how not to sulk, how to allow others to get close to us, how to understand and explain our distinctive way of creating, how to promote ourself and our creations, how to negotiate conflicts through humour and how to deal with conflicts and awkward desires.

We’re reminded that many of the answers we need are within us already, waiting for the correct story to extract them.

Day 2 Saturday Afternoon Creative Confidence

We move on to consider the emotional dimension of our work; what impels us to want to do a certain sort of creative work, and why it is often so hard to align our emotional desires with our practical requirements. We explore our working personalities and sift through our authentic interests.

We consider a variety of blocks and inhibitions which prevent us from pushing forward with our hunches, with particular attention paid to parental and societal expectations.

We pay particular attention to the idea of creative confidence. The difference between success and failure often hangs on this almost humiliatingly small and elusive concept that standard education never touches. We spend vast amounts of time acquiring confidence in narrow professional fields, but we overlook the primordial need to acquire a more free-ranging variety of confidence which can serve us across a range of tasks in professional, but also in personal, life.

Day 3  Sunday They Created Happily Ever After

Passion has a natural and deep appeal. Most of us long to be more passionate and creatively confident, unruffled, at ease and capable of reacting with quiet good humour to life’s setbacks and irritants. But we are often still only at the very beginning of knowing how to be passionate and confident. This morning will give us a range of the most effective answers.

Next we consider passion & happiness. A passionate life is close to, but at points importantly different from, a happy life. It draws upon and exercises our higher capacities, for example, tenderness, care, connection, self-understanding, sympathy, intelligence and creativity. We investigate how to orientate our lives in a more happy direction.

In our final hours together, we go back over the journey we have been on and recap its most fundamental lessons.


Friday 12 October
14.00 Doors Open
15.00 Introduction
17.00 Break
17.30 The Heroine’s Journey
19.15 Close and Welcome Drinks Reception
Saturday 13 October
9.00 Doors open
9.30 The Power of your Story
11.00 Break
11.30 The Power of your Story Continued
13.00 Lunch
14.00 Creative Confidence
15.45 Break
16.15 Creative Confidence Continues
18.00 Close
Sunday 14 October
9.00 Doors open
9.30 They Lived Happily Ever After
11.00 Break
11.30 They Lived Happily Ever After Continues
13.00 Close

Who Should Attend The Heroine’s Journey Conference

The Heroine’s Journey Conference is ideal for those looking for an in-depth experience that covers three main areas of our creative lives; Career Management, Creative Confidence, Happiness.

What you can expect:

  • A rich programme drawing from the key insights across our core curriculum

  • A learning experience combining lectures, films, music, art, exercises and continuous audience participation

  • Three-days of engaging content written and led by storyteller and writer Peter de Kuster, supported by inspiring coaches specialized in working with creative professionals

  • Daily educational programme and curated morning and evening social activities

  • An opportunity to make new friends in a community of like-minded individuals

The Heroine’s Journey Conference 2018 – Rome

Early Bird Price:

Euro 999 (Standard Price Euro 1099) excluding VAT

How to book:

Send us a mail at 

Fri 12th Oct 2018 (14.00)
Rome Hotel de Russie

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