About AM

October 17, 2018

An unlikely friendship between a photographer and a painter resulted in the most avant-garde and intricate art project

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Barbara Monacelli from Italy and Kateryna Mostova from Ukraine met each other online. What happened after is the product of their creativity, talent, and inspiring individuality. 

Barbara is a fashion designer, illustrator, and painter. She graduated from the Academy of Costume and Fashion in Rome. 

Barbara showcases her talent in different realms, some of which are fashion design and fine arts. She has collaborated with Pino Lancetti, Les Copains, Egon von Fürstenberg, and Fuguiniao (Beijing-China).

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Kateryna Mostova is a photographer, based in Kyiv, Ukraine. She is “always looking for new ideas, concepts, stories, and manifestation.” 

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[The following text has been edited for clarity]

What inspired you for the "Coming to Life" project? What was the process like?

Barbara:

Kateryna and I met on behance.net — a platform to showcase and discover creative work. I fell in love with her art and especially her "Underwater" series. I appreciated her talent, the use of colors, the style and elegance of her photographs.

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So, I thought I would like to see my paintings live through her photographs. This is how “Coming to life” was born. Then, we picked clothes, accessories, models, and everything that was needed to re-create my paintings.

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Kateryna is a very dynamic woman, attentive to detail, a brave woman who has faced many problems with great force.

My desire is to continue working with passion and sincerity and explore the female universe.

I thought to myself “I wish I could paint like her.” And I  got an opportunity to do so through my photography.

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Kateryna:

I was speechless when I first saw Barbara’s artwork. It contained so much beauty, tenderness, and lightness.

When she wrote to me and described the idea of “Coming to Life” (we came up with the actual name much later) I was flattered and inspired. I thought to myself “I wish I could paint like her.” And I got an opportunity to do so through my photography. It was hard to select artworks for the project. Since Barbara is also a fashion designer, models were dressed in incredible dresses clothes. The day of the shoot was very exciting.  

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Barbara's paintings...  

Were turned into photographs... 

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What role are female creators playing in today’s world in your opinion?

Barbara:

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Women’s point of view in the art world is now being considered more than in past centuries when it was relegated to a marginal role. Many brilliant women are being rediscovered. I have noticed, with pleasure, that many male artists appreciate my painting because it speaks of universal feelings, such as loneliness, love, violence, passion, and melancholy.

Kateryna:

I think in any secular state the women artists’ role is very important. Of course, boundaries of influence depend on men. In former Soviet Union countries, there are still many stereotypes about women's role in society.  And even though technically we have equal rights, de facto they are not real. Fortunately, today we live in a time of rapidly developing technology, and even a woman from a small town or village has an opportunity to share her art with the world. And this helps and gives hope to some artists.

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Do women and their male counterparts differ in any way in your field?

Barbara:

I don’t like the gender differences in art, but the art made by women is a lot more intimate, very often more visceral because she [the artist] is not afraid to expose her feelings. Women are mothers and sisters and are used to facing thousands of obstacles. Here in Italy, it’s a free and open environment. A different discourse exists in the fashion world though, as there is a lot of rivalry between men and women, as well as among women themselves. Unfortunately, women [...] tend to envy other women, but this is not my case. On the contrary, I love collaborating with other talented and intelligent women. Together we are stronger. However, for us women, we still have a long way to go to have the same opportunities.

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“I prefer to paint with watercolor and insert phrases taken from novels or poems written by women like Colette, Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath.”

Are female artists and creators taking a more leading role in the field recently?

Barbara:

I have always thought that art and fashion can communicate even though they are such different worlds.  This is also true for fashion designers both from the past and the present ... for example Elsa Schiaparelli or Rei Kawakubo. I like to think that all kinds of creativity can be communicating vessels. My work is often inspired by literature, cinema or music.

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Kateryna:

Maybe I'm a little bit naive, but I think that in general art isn’t [defined by] gender. I'm talking about end-result since it’s not always clear who is behind a particular artwork, a man or a woman. But men and women should have the same conditions to create and advance.

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Do you think female designers are taking risks by voicing their opinions through visual art?

Kateryna:

It depends on their environment. In Ukraine, for instance, I see a lot of hate (intolerance) towards other religions, LGBT community, and just everyone who is different. And, of course,  if an artist touches upon such topics, she can be in danger, for sure. It's a shame and a pity, but I believe that the situation will change for the better.

You can check out Barbara and Kateryna's work on www.behance.net. 

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