Friday, January 4, 2013

RAD TALK: An Interview With Claudio Parentela


I often interview artists and designers for my professional work. Yet, in the past, I haven’t featured such interviews at my own blog. I founded The Emma Edition to highlight style/art/culture in NYC and beyond from a teenage perspective-and I’ve decided that it’s no less an important part of my mission to highlight those on the Internet who influence me, as it is to write about a thrift store that I cherish shopping at. To that end, I am starting a new feature at The Emma Edition for 2013 called “Rad Talk,” wherein, I’ll be interviewing creative people who make my life all the more rad and whose work I think deserves a wider audience. I’ll be giving them a forum to speak on things they may never been asked in a typical interview. Read on below for the first installment…




It’s not often one hears about zine culture in Italy. Yet, Claudio Parentela: artist, blogger, illustrator, and self-made zinester, has been active in all forms of Italy’s underground art scene, participating in various mail projects, for quite some time. So it makes sense that his own art is fueled by various forms of ephemera. Parentela creates collages that deal with a series of female characters, disfigured by clownish makeup and colorful backdrops.

In a way, they remind me of Pedro Almodovar’s movie, Women on the Verge of A Nervous Breakdown, if one took photographs of the film and then put them into a blender. Parentela’s art is surreal, fun, and yet, absolutely topical, by commenting on the place of women in the media. As Claudio is located all the way in Italy, our interview was held via email, where I got to enjoy his stream of consciousness firsthand. If anything, Claudio is a extension of the world created in his art, exemplified by every mysterious ellipsis and capricious jab. Read on for a Q&A with the artist himself, below.



Q: You occasionally use very famous celebrities in your work, such as Kate Moss or Salvador Dali. Do you always base your paintings off of real people?
A: “It depends on my moods…on the phases of the moon…..on the music I’ve in mind…I never know what I’ll do….the game is always new and different every time….but…sure I’m very interested in weird fashion….and in my art yes there is so much fashion, Salvador Dalì sure….Kate Moss (oh, I love her…..),Mickey Mouse and Diamanda Galas…my natural madness…”

Q: Collage is such an interesting medium because you can piece together so many different forms of inspiration in one painting. What first got you interested in working with collage?
A: “Oh…..for 14-15 years I painted only in black and white with tons of black Indian ink…I needed of colours and to experiment with other materials….it was natural to switch to colour….though I think that there is colour, much colour , in the thousand shades between black and white.
Q: Did you read magazines as kid? Do you read magazines now? If so, which were/are your favorites?
A: “[I read] many, many, many…. I read especially many books but also magazines…..some of my favourites are Juxtapoz, Ozon, i-D,
Dazed & Confused, Chaos-mag, Verve, Soma Mag, Ion Mag, Hi-Fructose, NY Arts Magazine, Frieze Magazine…..and a lot of others…..when I was a kid I read only horror books...I looked only at horror movies…I thought only horror ideas….”

Q: I’ve read that you often work on zines. It’s really interesting because in America, zines were really big in the 1990’s, as a part of a movement of do-it-yourself culture, as a part of rebelling against the magazine world. They are slowly trickling back into niches. But I am interested to know how that translates overseas in Italy. How did you first get interested in making/ contributing to zines?
A: “I started doing this strange work in 1995…I drew crazy comics then….The fantastic Stripburger magazine published my first comics….There was a fervent movement then  in Eastern Europe, many fantastic creative people there….many bands…fantastic music…..many many wonderful zines….yes I started to draw there, in Eastern Europe….not in Italy, strange true…...a case…a wonderful case…I’ve great memories of those early years.
Q: A lot of your artwork seems to deal with the media’s effect on women and domesticity. You mix images typically found in a women’s fashion magazines, and turn them into these amazing surrealist art forms. Would you say that your work has a feminist tone to it?
A: “Maybe yes….maybe not….my works have yes a feminist tone surely….a bit of anarchic feminist tone too….a crazy queer tone too….an alien tone very much… strange beings inhabit my artworks…

Q: What would you say is the mission statement of your art? What do you hope your art achieves?
A: “I hope to continue to draw, to draw, to draw …..to continue to do  this fantastic shamanic journey for all the days of my life…

Q: Do you think fashion is art?

A: “Sure… a formidable exquisite art form…

Q: Do you dress as interesting as your art?
A: “Oh not…. I'm too lazy to spend time to choose my own clothes…but my heart and my mind yes….they dress with crazy clothes every day….
Q: Claudio, how did you come up with idea for your wacky website? I love it. Often times, websites seem like an afterthought, but yours really seems like an extension of your work!
A: “Thanx…you’re really very kind….I’m not [too good at creating] web sites….I can do a few things with my Dreamweaver… I did everything by myself ...how many animated gif…I love them so much…..!!!!!

Q: What projects can we look forward from you in the future?

A:  
I'm working on a show that I will do in the coming months in Kiev, and I’ve to prepare something for [2 other shows] also in the next months....I've started just in these days my new tarot deck and my new comic book....working on some t-shirts....my interviews…a lot of interesting things yes....!

All images from this interview are copyright © Claudio Parentela.

Learn  more about Claudio and his art, click here.

Follow me on Twitter @emmaedition

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