The Heroine’s Journey of Rivka Spizzichino

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

Photographs can tell, suggest or let us discover things while doing. So this work of research and discovering is the most fascinating side about taking pictures. As a drawing teacher, well, I adore teaching. I love the idea of being that someone who can help you bringing your skills to the next level.

What is my idea of happiness?

Being loved with no emotional restriction.

What is my greatest fear?

Not being independent.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

My over thinking. I take too much time before a change, in my work and in life as well. I’m a master in building comfort zones. I guarantee myself 5 brave minutes every once in a while, and my whole life is a result of a collection of 5 brave minutes.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?

I’d say Gilbert Garcin, pretending he’s still with us. Unfortunately he died few weeks ago. He’s a story of true love for life. I’m happy he lived enough to be productive in photography, and his legacy is the greatest lesson for photographers and non. The way he lived his life is a good answer to whoever says it is too late to do something. He lived twice, and demonstrate that if you truly want, you can.

What is my greatest extravagance?

I play the first violin in an orchestra, and record sometimes. Well, I don’t exactly consider it to be an extravagance, but for sure it is an engaging hobby.

On what occasion would I lie?

I don’t lie, it is a missing gene in my DNA. Eventually, if I’d want to protect someone from suffering or raging, I’d measure a good amount of truth to say, which is not necessary a hundred percent.

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

I see quite often naive photographers as jurors in competitions, teaching in schools, and the same names around things as well. I don’t consider this as an act of communication through photography, rather I consider it an act of self-assertion. This is strongly contributing in leading styles and themes on “what’s really trendy now” in photography. We shouldn’t think about images as trendy as an Instagram feed, we’d better be intellectual, and make people think, laugh, divulge. Dictating styles or which school will commit you as a photographer – is polluting the world of the images. Over the years, we’ve been frequently looking at the same image, with different authors.

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

I was happy when I was a photography student at triennial Scuola di Scienza e Tecnica because in my class there were photographers I esteemed so much, and learning was an enriching moment, both human and joyful. But today I also work as a drawing teacher. I love drawing, and during lockdown drawing was my urgent call, not photography. The class I founded together with my sister Sara won “People’s Choice Award” during The Big Draw Award and I spent a week in Manchester and London meeting so many brilliant people, drawing enthusiasts. 24H Drawing Lab allowed me also to spend times teaching in beautiful places as Museo Nazionale Romano – Palazzo Altemps, Centro per la Ricerca Artistica Contemporanea Luigi di Sarro, Archivio Menna Binga, Manchester Art Gallery… Wow that would be a long list, but that made me happy.

If I could, what would I change about myself?

Sometimes I get shy. I’d rather not.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

Living by doing what I love, either is photography or drawing. I live in Italy, this is not granted. There are still lots of prejudice about people working into art.

Where would I most like to live?

Wherever I’d feel loved.

What is my most treasured possession?

My archive.

What is my most marked characteristic?

I work intensively, and sleep intensively.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

Huh.. I live in Rome, this is really humbling! I guess my home by the seaside, in a tiny place named Campo di Mare. This is the place where most of my photos were taken.

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

Some roman traditional osteria.

What books influenced my life and how?

I read a lot of books about how to do stuff, whatever it is. Learning something is captivating and is a good way to point fantasy toward a safe direction. I might use my creativity to get anxious, or hypochondriac. Fantasy always need to run somewhere, it is good to know where to lead it.

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

Queen music. If not available, find it.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

Alice in Wonderland, Carcarlo Pravettoni.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

Whoever escapes from a life’s script, being free is a responsibility.

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

Brodeuses, “Le ricamatrici” in Italian. A soulful movie by Élènore Faucher, and music marvellously composed by Michael Galasso.

What role plays art in my life and work?

More than art, it is my life who played the major role and led me to visual arts. Most of my photographic work was influenced by being a twin. Since I was a child, I remember missing a “specific” photograph of me where I could recognize myself, because my parents never wrote names back to the prints. So, in the mid-Eighties – while children all around the globe were over-photographed thanks to the widespread use of cheap cameras – I spent my time trying to understand who I was in the photos, without knowing it for sure. I was building both my photographic style and method there. Today, I still don’t know who I was in the photos. So long ago I unconsciously started developing this lack of me in the world. Today I still feel awkward if I’m too “visible”. This lack of perception was a gap within my growth as a person because I had awareness of myself only in relation to another human. I ignore the little girl I was, except for what I recall of my early thinking, and so on for ages. Ever since, “photography” has been synonymous of “research” for me, because this is how photography came into my life: looking for myself in the pics. The “double theme” is recurrent in my body of work, not specifically intended as a double exposure, but in the relation that I represent between the subjects of my photos. They’re always strictly connected and some tension always comes out of love. In my photos, my criticism and my forgiveness for human frailty coexist. It took me time to be aware I’m one, that was one of my struggle.

What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me?

It’s intriguing to listen to people stories, and it is common to hear people saying they had no chance in doing something. Being a storyteller is the profound conviction that most of the times we can choose.

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

My two sisters, Sara who works with me in my drawing classes, and she’s also co-founder of this fantastic drawing adventure. And Grazia, who was never judgmental with my choices and supports my work.

Which people or companies would I like to work with in 2020? 

In the last few years I met so many interesting people, I feel so lucky! I’d love to meet again people from The Big Draw in Uk who are so open minded and enthusiastic about art. I met so many interesting associations and artists, and the whole “Big Draw” thing has been a super adventure I treasure. I’d love to see again Studio d’Arte Crippa founded by Marina Crippa who provided a super lab for us in Mariano Comense during Fabriano Festival. I learnt so much from her, in the way she organize stressful things with a super aplomb. She’s well trained and never misses a detail. I’d love to see again Fornace Fusari as well, where I held my last drawing lab in North Italy before pandemic. This place is magic, whoever sees it notice its beauty, and the atelier is placed in the middle of Parco delle Groane, the green Brianza. This people is linked to a wonderful moment of my life and I hope this pandemic will finally let people meet again. Museo Nazionale Romano – Palazzo Altemps was a great point too in my career, I held a sketchcrawl class there during the biggest international drawing Festival, and I met incredible people as Sara Colantonio and Alessandra Capodiferro: they’re easy to work with, communicative and they’re doing a great job getting young people closer to art, culture and overall to a new way of living a museum. When in Rome, this place absolutely worth a visit. I have beautiful memories of PH21 Gallery too, in Budapest, especially with Zsolt Batori and Anita Spingar who were really welcoming with me. Photographically they’re so expert and open minded, this is something hard to find. So as a consequence of this vision, gallery proposal are a super mix of different styles, and this is something I esteem so much because it’s enriching, both as a photographer and as a spectator. I remember I spent the night talking over and over with so many different photographers, and that was uplifting. Budapest is a great place for photography because Robert Capa’s legacy is still there and this brings a photographic knowledge and sensibility to people. This is one of the reasons why photo exhibitions are crowded.

Which people in my profession who can make a real difference in my creative career would i love to meet in 2020? 

I’d love to work with Istituto Centrale per la Grafica, in Via della Stamperia in Rome. Before pandemic I used to go there every time I could, when I was in need of beauty. It is one of the greatest place in the world if you love drawing. Thousand drawings, photos and engraving matrixes are stored in there, and this institution provides a great service to community, supporting workshop and showcasing artists who work with drawing and etching. I’d love to hold my drawing class there, into this magic place. That would be a strong step in my career, a prominent chance to learn while teaching.

What project, in 2020, am I looking forward to work on?

I’ve just drawn the very last line for “Portrheart”, my first graphic novel. It is a loop story on a Leporello Sennelier Aquarelle, made during Italian lockdown (March 9th/May 26th). There’s no beginning and no end, so you can start reading it from every page. It is a mute story, so no lettering. Emotions are a sort of morse code, and the script reveals my strong conviction that improving our skills in decoding unconscious messages can make a difference in our lives. As I get the chance, I’ll go back into a darkroom too. I was printing from my archive a series on Ilford barita paper (from my project Immortalati, 2019) when pandemic begun. I’d love to go back to it shortly.

Where can you see me or my work in 2020?

Hard to say it now, Covid-19 is still forcing us to rearrange our schedule. At the moment you can still check my works over the internet, but I really hope to go back into my classes and galleries soon.

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

Passion is stronger than anything else. It is stronger than laziness when you’re young, and stronger than elderly when you’re old.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? 

I took time to answer this question, because I wanted to select some of the best connections I had in the fields I’m in: drawing, photography and music. My choices are based on two qualities: human sensitivity and professional attitude. Lorenzo Imprescia, who’s a great photographer, someone who’d teach you something with no professor-wannabe manner, he’s easy to work with. We met in photography school and never stop working together over the years. He travels a lot and took beautiful pictures in Argentina, turned into this project Ruta 40”, which is an open window on the Nationale Route from Punta Loyola to Jujuy. He’s one of my best friends and someone I’d talk to openly all of the times. “Il Covo Oscuro”, a photo collective. I love them because they built their whole work on supporting film photography by showcasing gelatine silver prints, and as a photographer this is something I truly believe in. They’re welcoming and funny, when I’m at studio I feel home. Gabriele Luciani, an artist whom I shared the beautiful experience working close to William Kentridge during Triumphs&Laments here in Rome. Gabriele can do incredible things with drawing, and I stare at his growing career with interest. Shoshana Lavan who’s an English writer and recently published a novel. She’s such a human, she provided subtitles for a video I needed in my class, and came in Manchester the day of the acceptance of my Prize because she didn’t want to miss that. I treasure this long way driving to me. Andrea Andalò, the best violin maker I ever met, trained in Cremona and passionate about his job; a miracle maker in fact. I had the privilege to play one of his full tone instruments in a record, and that was definitely one of the most significant experience in my whole musical life. His violins don’t need a long warm up to reach the sound, this is a big plus when you’re on stage.

How can you contact me?

Check my websites: www.rivkaspizzichino.com and www.24hdrawinglab.com. Or find me over my Facebook/Instagram pages.

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

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Are you a creative leader or creative professional looking to develop your business skills and storytelling?

Amidst today’s uncertainty, it is more important than ever to reconnect with yourself and others, develop your creative business, and build your story. Dive deep into your unique business style and areas for growth with the coaching of Peter de Kuster.

IS THE HEROINE’S JOURNEY COACHING FOR YOU?

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    You are a creative leader or creative professional  who is interested in developing yourself, your business, and your story.

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    You are aware that there are no quick fixes. Learning is a journey that works when you are fully committed to it. Coaching can bring awareness and help you navigate, but in the end it’s you who is in charge of your growth.

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    You want to learn more about how to resource yourself, learn about blind spots, and get feedback.

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    You are curious and want to engage in online learning.

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    You are motivated to work in-between sessions on yourself (e.g. working on homework assignments that will help you develop new storytelling, skills, and behaviors).

WHAT’S YOUR COACHING QUESTION?

The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is all about your development. To make the most out of your sessions, we ask you to prepare topics to work on with Peter. These topics can serve as a starting point for further in-depth exploration with Peter.

These coaching topics typically resonate with the creative leaders Peter works with:

How can i tell the most powerful story possible about myself and my creative business?

How can I handle self promotion and marketing of my creative business better?

How do can I stay authentic and with focus when having difficult conversations with potential clients?

What are my creative values and how do I align these with my business values?

How can I manage my time and energy better?

How can I radiate confidence to my clients while feeling anxious inside?

How can I steer myself towards creative excellence without becoming rigid?

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 lives 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.

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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.

individual coaching for leaders

PRICING

The Heroine’s Journey Coaching online sessions last 50 minutes and the fee is Euro 189 excluding VAT per session. The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is suitable for people at any stage in their career.

FAQ

Who can sign up for The Heroine’s Journey online coaching?

Creative leaders and creative professionals who wish to improve their business story and develop their business skills and mindset.

Should I choose 1:1 coaching?

Our The Heroine’s Journey experiences in world cities allow you to learn not only from the coach but also from your peers. For the small group coaching (1 – 4 people), we have selected important, relevant topics that we find regularly come up for creative professional: purpose, storytelling, creative confidence, self promotion, time & money and resilience.

If you would prefer to work alone or on a different topic, individual coaching is a better fit for you.

What language do we speak in the coaching sessions?

English.

Can I buy coaching for my organization?

Yes, you can! We support many organizations around the world with their coaching needs. Please contact us for more information.

Can I bring my own topics?

Yes, for individual coaching you get to choose your own topic.

Are coaching sessions confidential?

Yes. Peter will not share anything that is discussed in the coaching sessions.

Where will the coaching sessions take place?

Sessions will take place online (as per the times we live in) via an online tool like Zoom or Skype. Peter will let you know.

How do I sign up?

Send Peter a mail to theherojourneyquestionnaires@gmail.com to start booking your coaching sessions.

How do I pay?

After you send the mail, you will receive an email with a link to pay.

How do I book and reschedule sessions?

Once we’ve received your payment, Peter will contact you and book your coaching sessions. He will also support you with rescheduling sessions if needed.

What is your cancellation policy?

Individual coaching sessions can be postponed up to one week before the session.

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