The Heroine’s Journey of Barbara Ciardo

What is the best thing that I love about my work? I think the best thing is that I’ve got moments of solitude in my studio where I create for clients, publishers, collectors and myself as well as time and space to share my experiences with students. This double
nature of my work is pretty fulfilling. Moreover I love the idea of moving people’s emotions with my art and I enjoy all the adventurous aspects of my profession; I never know where the next project will bring me and the new people I will meet. I find that

What is my idea of perfect happiness? Just being able to do what I do in a balanced way, that is to say working hard but paying attention to my health (mental/physical) and caring about my loved ones. Once I believed being top notch in my work was enough to grant me that lasting feeling of joy and fulfillment; it took me several years to include time for relationships, smiling, regaining connection with nature and taking life a bit easier as the main part of the equation.

What is my greatest fear? Probably it’s sleeping while awake. That happens to me when my worst feelings put me in a state of detachment and I feel disconnected, nothing matters and I can’t even see Beauty all around; it happened few times in my life after strong pains and broken illusions and the awakening was an hard passage.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? Perfectionism and self judgment that prevent me from creating and feeling grateful for what I have in the moment. Monsters that I know and I take care of.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire? I admire those artists who succeed in reinventing themselves to protect and keep their own fire alive. Those who find their way to stay passionate and focused until the end of the journey, still being there for others.

What is my greatest extravagance? If I could call it an extravagance, I’d say that I somehow consider myself a professional artist and a semi-professional dancer, since I’ve been making art for a living for about 15 years now, dancing for 7 and I don’t have plans to quit both the activities. Dancing is now part of my life, it gave me confidence and awareness of my body’s potential plus a huge collection of sparkling dresses that I wear when I’m on stage.

On what occasion would I lie? I tend not to lie because I find it exhausting to keep the consistency of false affirmations and more important I don’t like the general concept,
sometimes I may omit the truth if no one is asking about it though.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? Deadlines. But it’s a love/hate relationship I must say; I’ve accomplished a lot thanks to those time limits. I think limits of any kind challenge you to be more creative, while often having plenty of time and no direction can be scaring and it easily brings to laziness. At least this is how it works for me. So, reasonable deadlines are always welcome.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? The happiest moments are always when I’m in the flow, just painting or planning new art or lessons. Seeing my work finally published or shown on a movie screen, as it recently happened, is amazing as well as meeting other artists and people who appreciate my work. But again, the moment I’m creating in my sacred spot, that one is made of pure joy.

If I could, what would I change about myself? Well, there are a pair or things that if I could…wait…I can! And I’m doing small steps right now. Learning to see the glass as half full recently.

What is my greatest achievement in work? A good work reputation is the greatest achievement and the esteem and affection that my colleagues, students and fans show me is the most valuable prize.

Where would I most like to live? Exactly where I live. Naples is a city of wonders and I’m still discovering magical places full of story, myths and legends.

What is my most treasured possession? Someone told me once that the only thing no one can steal from you are your thoughts and your values…

What is my most marked characteristic? Determination.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? The seafront of Naples is something I have no words to describe; I often go there to recharge and meditate.
Bosco di Capodimonte is my second favourite place to walk and breath in nature.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? Basically everywhere, since my city offers a lot in terms of good food and nice places to have a drink. My favorite ones are on the mindblowing seafront.

What books influenced my life and how? They’re books related to art and life as an artist that helped me greatly reconnecting myself with my desire to live and work as an artist. And doing that in an healthy way.
“Art & Fear- Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking” by
David Bayles and Ted Orland
“Conquering the artists struggle” by Stephen Silver
“The artist’s way” by Julia Cameron
“La via della bellezza” by Vito Mancuso
“The Art Spirit” by Robert Henry
“Keys to drawing with imagination” by Bert Dodson
“The war of art” by Steven Pressfield
“Motivation for Creative People- How to Stay Creative While Gaining
Money, Fame, and Reputation” by Mark McGuinness
Who are my favorite writers?
Neil Gaiman
Vito Mancuso
Edgar Allan Poe
Robert Louis Stevenson
Agata Christie

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? “Good Vibrations”- Beach Boys

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? It’s a difficult question, she could be an energetic and fulfilled old woman who has cultivated her inner child, her being a woman, a parent or simply a person present and caring for the community her whole life and she’s ready to go back to Earth in peace. Does it exist a character like that in fiction? Probably someone like Pocahontas’ grandma…

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? All people who take care of themselves and are able to help other people to flourish.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? “The Truman Show”

What role plays art in my life and work? I like that idea that we are what we repeatedly do (and what we tell ourselves), so it’s easy for me to see art as part of my identity. I clearly remembered the day I did the choice to be a professional artist and to
daily work to create, recreate and protect the conditions to keep doing art for a living. For me the so called talent lies in cultivating that firm will and study and work around it forever, changing path if needed and facing challenges, but still enjoying the process. I don’t think talent exists as a natural gift, never believed to have that special thing myself; but I believe it’s something to build from that primordial spark of desire and to commit to in the long haul. As M. C. Escher said “ My work is a game, a very serious game”; I love this quote and it totally resonates with me.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? No doubt, it’s my soulmate Antonio Zinno. He’s an illustrator too and he’s totally supportive and enthusiastic of what I do. He encourages me not to just accomplish more but to enjoy the process and my life in its wholeness. I’m also grateful to have among my fans and friends, another person who follows my work from the early beginning. Her name’s Rachel and she doesn’t really know how much her support has been and still is crucial along my journey. So grateful to have these people in my life.

Whom would I like to work with in 2019? People with a positive attitude, passionate of what they do.

What project, in 2019, am I looking forward to work on? Everything that challenges me to connect more with my feelings and communicate to more people at a deeper level.
Projects involving great stories that ask to be visually told and painted. Having my art collected in an artbook could be something to look forward to in the future. Teaching, learning, painting, doing what I do and enjoying my life.

Where can you see me or my work in 2019? You can be updated about my work on


What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? I just have this vision of a 110 years old woman with a beautiful family drawing, painting, teaching, dancing and…

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? I’d say Cecilia Latella comics artist and writer, Monica Catalano illustrator and comics artist, Sara Campanile professional bellydancer and teacher. They’re amazing women and professional artists working hard pursuing their dreams, I’d love to read about their stories.

How can you contact me? You can send an e-mail to
I’ll be happy to hear from you!

This is a message from the founder of The Heroine’s Journey –  Peter de Kuster

What is your Story?

The Heroine’s Journey is a tour in story rich venues of a world city with Peter de Kuster, to rewrite the story you tell yourself and your creative work and in the process transform your creative life and business.


“Your story is your life,” says Peter. As human beings, we continually tell ourselves stories — of success or failure; of power or victimhood; stories that endure for an hour, or a day, or an entire lifetime. We have stories about ourselves, our creative business, our customers ; about what we want and what we’re capable of achieving. Yet, while our stories profoundly affect how others see us and we see ourselves, too few of us even recognize that we’re telling stories, or what they are, or that we can change them — and, in turn, transform our very destinies.

Telling ourselves stories provides structure and direction as we navigate life’s challenges and opportunities, and helps us interpret our goals and skills. Stories make sense of chaos; they organize our many divergent experiences into a coherent thread; they shape our entire reality. And far too many of our stories, says Peter, are dysfunctional, in need of serious editing. First, he asks you to answer the question, “In which areas of my life is it clear that I cannot achieve my goals with the story I’ve got?” He then shows you how to create new, reality-based stories that inspire you to action, and take you where you want to go both in your work and personal life.

Our capacity to tell stories is one of our profoundest gifts. Peter’s approach to creating deeply engaging stories will give you the tools to wield the power of storytelling and forever change your business and personal life.

You want more info about The Heroine’s Journey? Mail us at 

What Can I Expect?

Here’s an outline of The Heroine’s Journey.

Journey Outline


  • The Power of your Story
  • Are you even trying to tell a Story?
  • Old Stories  (stories about you, your art, your clients, your money, your self promotion, your happiness, your health)
  • Tell your current Story
  • Is this Really Your Story?


  • The Premise of your Story. The Purpose of your Life and Art
  • The words on your tombstone
  • You ultimate mission, out loud
  • The Seven Great Plots
  • The Twelve Archetypal Heroines
  • The One Great Story
  • Purpose is Never Forgettable
  • Questioning the Premise
  • Lining up
  • Flawed Alignment, Tragic Ending
  • The Three Rules in Storytelling
  • Write Your New Story


  • Turning your story into action
  • Story Ritualizing
  • The Storyteller and the art of story
  • The Power of Your Story
  • Storyboarding your creative process
  • They Created and Lived Happily Ever After.

About Peter de Kuster

Peter de Kuster is the founder of The Heroine’s Journey & Hero’s Journey project,  a storytelling firm which helps creative professionals to create careers and lives based on whatever story is most integral to their lifes and careers (values, traits, skills and experiences). Peter’s approach combines in-depth storytelling and marketing expertise, and for over 20 years clients have found it effective with a wide range of creative business issues.


Peter is writer of the series The Heroine’s Journey and Hero’s Journey books, he has an MBA in Marketing,  MBA in Financial Economics and graduated at university in Sociology and Communication Sciences.

Become a great Storyteller

That’s why I set up The Heroine’s Journey in the great cities of the world.  A new way to use the power of your story.  To guide you to life-changing, eye-opening movies, art, literature that truly have the power to enchant, enrich and inspire.

In this journey with Peter de Kuster you’ll explore your relationship with stories so far and your unique story identity will be sketched. You will be guided to movies, art, literature, myths that can put their finger on what you want to rewrite in your story, the feelings that you may often have had but perhaps never understood so clearly before; movies that open new perspectives and re-enchant the world for you.

You will be asked to complete a questionnaire in advance of your session and you’ll be given an instant story advice and movies to see to take away. Your full story advice and movies to see list will follow within a couple of days.

You want more info about The Heroine’s Journey? Mail us at 

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