Dearest PingMag readers, Merry Christmas! Yes, it’s already Christmas time again. Have you sorted all of those Christmas presents for your loved ones? Instead of giving you a lovely present, today we introduce you to some cute and shiny handcrafted paintings by Italian artist Benedetta Borrometi, originally from Rome and now based in Tokyo. Enjoy!
Written by Chiemi
Benedetta, I heard that you weren’t expecting to be an artist when you were a student. Is that true?
I was studying to be a lawyer, but my dream was to be a painter and to communicate my feelings through my art. One day, I put one of my paintings on the empty wall of an interior shop that my mom owns. Then, people who wanted to buy my painting started appearing, one after another, and for the first time I felt that dreams can really come true. So after I graduated from school I went to Central Saint Martin‘s in London and studied fine art.
You moved to Tokyo about three years ago. Does your life in Tokyo inspire you a lot?
I’ve traveled all over the world, but Japan gives me the most inspiration. That doesn’t mean I paint things about Japanese culture. All my work is about myself, all these girls in my work are me. Well, I make her a little slimmer than me in real life though. (laughs) I express the things which happened in my life, and the emotion I had then.
A lot of your works are three-dimensional, aren’t they?
I like to use different techniques, and I love to play with materials that help make my work come alive. My art is coming out of the canvas, and that’s very attractive to me. I think I can better express my imagination in 3D.
Where do you usually get the material to make them 3D?
My inspiration comes from traveling. I love to go to antique markets and art shops all over the world, and there I buy many things: mosaic tiles, pompoms, egg shells, old obi and kimonos, antique lace, etc.
These are ornaments for the wall. They are made by an old guy at an old shop in Rome. When I go there, I say to the guy, “I use these for my paintings.” But he always says, “You can do whatever you like, but these are not for paintings, they are for walls!” And I get told off. (laughs)
You have collaborated with very popular Japanese fashion designer Chisato Tsumori, haven’t you?
We met by chance, like many important things in my life. I was in her shop in Paris one day and I bumped into her. We started to talk and she invited me to see her show during fashion week in Paris. She saw my works then, and we met again in Tokyo and started to draw together, and we became friends.
Wow, that’s a great story! Your style and her style match perfectly, so I’m sure that it wasn’t just a coincidence! I hear that your favorite saying is “dreams can come true.” We always get contacted by many artists and designers abroad who want to move to Japan and work. Is there any tip that you can give them?
All I can say is, just buy a ticket to Japan and get on an airplane! Maybe only for a short period at first though — it may be hard in the beginning. Also, if you learn the language and its culture, Japan will become a really fun place to be. I started to study Japanese when I was 30 years old, and some friends said, “Studying Japanese from the age of 30 is crazy!” But now I even go to izakayas with only my Japanese friends!
So you must be very happy to live here.
Actually, I have forgotten half of the kanji I studied (laughs), but yes, I’m very happy now. Tokyo is like a place with the best bits of Europe, so I think it’s very easy to live for us. If there is one problem with Japan, it’s the distance from my country, Italy. My mom always says, “Why did you go so far away?” (laughs) But it’s true that I also miss Europe a lot. I actually have many projects in Italy right now. I’ve just collaborated with an Italian fashion designer on a dress that is painted by me, for the exhibition “ART A PORTER” in Rome. I also have my own exhibition in Rome at the moment. But I would love to work more in Japan.
Lastly, could you tell us what you think about your work?
I want to spread happiness with my work. I love to think that part of me can be in “different” homes, and that “different” people can feel “different” sensations from my paintings.
Benedetta at her exhibition in Rome.
So are you happy that you didn’t become a lawyer?
Of course! You know, you only live your life once!
Thank you very much for showing us these perfect paintings for Christmas, Benedetta! We hope everyone in the world is happy and smiling right now. Merry Christmas to you all!
[Info] Benedetta’s works are on display at the Tad store in Rome, until February 2009.
Tad Conceptstore Rome
Via Del Babuino 155/a