The Heroine’s Journey of Marianna Bussola

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

The chance of creating a world which previously did not exist. An act of magic… let’s say of witchery.  

What is my idea of perfect happiness?   

The blessed moments when, while painting, I experiment a feverish and intense passion mixed with a sense of harmony. A quite paradoxical state.

What is my greatest fear? 

To lose the ability and/or the possibility to paint. To lose the persons and animals I love.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

My excessive perfectionism, that sometimes gets totally out of control, ending in paralysis.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? 

Kiki Smith: she is magic. And Jennifer Bartlett: I am crazy about her cycle of paintings Air: 24 Hours, a reflection on space and time. I love also the work of Tin Can Forest, an amazing duo of illustrators.  

What is my greatest extravagance? 

Sometimes I paint very large and detailed paintings that take me weeks of demanding work done in quite incorrect postures.

On what occasion would I lie? 

When some fragile and insecure artist asks me if I like his very bad art… 

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

Sometimes I look at my paintings and think they are really too full and obsessive.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

Every time I am “in the flow”, painting right from my unconscious, with no criticism or judgement.

If I could, what would I change about myself?   

I am prone to artist’s block. But luckily, during the years, I have learned how to trick myself out this horrendous state of mind. 

What is my greatest achievement in work? 

When I was asked to paint a big mural for la Nuova Casa Pediatrica

Fatebenefratelli – Arte come Terapia. I never did a mural before, it was a real challenge for me… when you consider that I usually paint sitting on the floor, on a canvas laying flat.

Where would I most like to live?

Where I’m living right now, in Milan, or in another big city: New York, Paris, London… But sometime i figure myself painting in a small village near the sea…

What is my most treasured possession? 

My beautiful and strange art and illustration books, lovingly collected during the years. And my collection of bold jewels in silver, bronze, plexi, semi precious stones: I love them big, extravagant, somewhat barbaric. 

What is my most marked characteristic?

A sort of “wild patience”, to quote Adrienne Rich, the poet.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?  

I love Isola District, where we live: it’s like an artsy village, right under Milano new skyscrapers, like the famous Bosco Verticale. I love some museum too, like Mudec and Palazzo della Triennale, and a breathtaking beautiful home, Villa Necchi, a true architectural treasure.  

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? 

Cantine Milano, for delicious food and a glass of fabulous wine. Anteo Osteria del Cinema, for a lovely and informal after movie dinner.

What books influenced my life and how?

They are really too many… Let’s say that “Gli imperdonabili” by Cristina Campo saved my life in a very dark hour.

Who are my favorite writers?

Karen Blixen, Angela Carter, Truman Capote, Alberto Arbasino, Yukio Mishima, Cristina Campo, A.S.Byatt… I also read poetry: Sylvia Plath, Dylan Thomas, Milo de Angelis…

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

Maybe The Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd): life, death and sex. And the feeling to dive into an infinite sidereal space… 

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

The young girl in “The Company of Wolves” by Angela Carter, a modern retelling of the tale of Red Riding Hood. She is brave, she is beautiful, she is clever and, in the ending of the tale, she sleeps with the wolf. 

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

Visionary artists.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime?

Night of the Hunter by Charles Laughton (1955): so dark, disquieting and dreamy.

What role plays art in my life and work?  

Art gives meaning to my life, that’s all.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

My beloved husband Giorgio Cecchinato. He is an artist, too: very different work, but similar vision.  

Whom would I like to work with in 2018?

With people who, like me, think that every painting is an enigmatic universe.

Where can you see me or my work in 2018?

No website, I show my art on my Facebook and Instagram page. 

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

Art is life for me. I hope I’ll paint till my very last breath.

What project, in the nearby future, am I looking forward to work on?

New exhibitions (I have just had a big one, at Palazzo del Broletto di Pavia, in couple with my husband Giorgio). I feel also a strong desire to paint a very big and precious screen (I have a passion for ancient japanese screen, amazing objects of beauty).

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? 

Natsuko Toyofuku, Tiziana Cera Rosco, Cristina Costanzo. But some heroes, too: Giorgio Cecchinato (@cecchinatoarte), Maurizio Zorat, Massimo Caccia.

How can you contact me? 

On my Facebook page: Marianna Bussola. And my Instagram page: @marianna_bussola

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