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8 Questions With Elisa Talentino

Elisa Talentino is a Italian artist working with illustration, graphic arts, screen printing and animation.

Her illustrations appear in books and magazines. Elisa recently collaborated with The New York Times, The Washington Post, Goethe Institut, Mondadori, and La Repubblica.
Her approach to silkscreen is special and experimental:”My first screen printings were born in a kitchen together with graphic designer Paolo Berra in 2007″. Today people can see her works exhibited in several galleries in Italy and abroad.

Here’s 8 questions with Elisa Talentino.

1. Tell us about your creative process.

I start from the feeling I want to pass down, from the concept I try to get the essence. The image should be as much as iconic and conceptual as possibile. I made drawings with pencil and then I start to take off until I find the essence. I  know I have to stop, when without that one small part the illustration would lose the meaning. The idea is to pass down a concept with the least possible number of signs.

2. Plants often populate your illustrations. Do they have a particular meaning?

Plants are a passion of mine, especially those ones of the medieval herbals that in my opinion are more iconic and fascinating than ever. They fascinate me, above all for their symbology.

3. Is this also true for animals?

Yes, also animals have their own special meaning in my illustrations. I do not like decorativism in its purest form, that’s why everything in my drawings is there for a reason. The bear that is ridden by Anita Berber, for example, represents Berlin and it is a sort of redemption that I wanted to give to the German actress and dancer. She lived in Germany in the ’30s and was discriminated beacuse of her lifestyle considered scandalous for the time.

In my illustrations, the wolf – that one of Little Red Riding Hood – symbolizes the passage from childhood to adulthood, the entrance into sexuality.

4. In your illustrations, one can find very often women, and generally they have no eyes. Why?

Women are what I know best. Like most artists I tend to represent myself and therefore, if I have to say something, I say it through what I know best: the female body. As for the non-representation of the eyes, it is a way to focus the attention of the beholder on something specific. In my case, I prefer to give importance to the mouth rather than the look.

5. Characters in your drawing are never set in a physical space. Is there a special reason?

Maybe because I love holy icons or just because of weight of images: add a physical contest may take off importance to characters.

6. What techniques do you use?

My academic training made me start with oil and acrylic painting, engraving and pencil drawing, but these techniques bored me. Perhaps because I already had a graphic setting at the time. Screen printing, on the other hand, allowed me to invent a technique of mine and to put together painting, graphics and engraving, all with short time frames: I paint with a brush on the acetate and then scratch away.

7. What does creativity means to you?

A few years ago I thought:”I would like to be able to draw with the serenity of those who do not have to meet expectations, without performance anxiety. Today it continues to be like this: I always try to think that what I’m doing can be taken and throw it away in case if I do not like it.

8. What book is there on your bedside table right now?

A comic book by Anke Feuchtenberger and Tibetan Peach Pie by Tom Robbins.

Follow Elisa Talentino on Instagram.