Valentina Ferrarese

Few words about my drawings and painting concept. The text is from an interview with Singulart curatorial team.


What was your first experience with/discovery of art? What made you want to become an artist?


Art was always my way to relate to the outside world and everyday reality. It was a safe place, beyond space and time, above rules and social structures. I started to paint and draw when I was about seven. I did find comfort in colors and lines and I used painting as a way to filter reality. I remember my mother putting a white sheet of paper in front of me on the kitchen table, she drew a circle on it and told me: “Now you fill the circle with colors.” So I did and I soon recognized that reality is a landscape of forms and colors. What you do when you are an artist, is to create your own landscape, invent your own vision.

I did use many mediums in the past, from painting to sculpture, installation, performance, music, and video. I also studied art history and memory politics.

Eventually, I went back to drawing and painting. Probably it is my form of meditation and the way I manage to “digest” the harshness of reality.


For many years I did use art to offer/create a neutral communication platform where different and even conflictual social realities can meet and interact. I researched the meaning and the forms of the border, produced videos and installations, and created situations, in which art could be socially active. In my closing essay at the Master Program of the UdK in Berlin, I wrote about the meaning of contemporary monument as a tool for interaction, and the role of the artist as an active „bridge“ between different social, urban, cultural, geographical realities. The idea of border fascinates me for years and most of my projects were dealing with it. Because of this, coming to Berlin was, in a way, almost inevitable, as the border has found here its most peculiar form in the Berlin wall: the „abwesenden Anwesenheit der Berliner Mauer“.


I am an activist, a vegan, and I fight for an ethical relationship between humans and the environment (and I see animals as part of the environment. Some people do not).

This love for nature and animals is a key-point of my work. It could not be otherwise.


Are there any key themes, messages, or theories behind your work?


I do not use art to send political messages although my works do channel a deep love and respect for mother nature and animals. Being an activist and a vegan, I also try to improve an ethical and coherent modus operandi of the artist, which includes a respectful and ethical use of materials and techniques. The artworld is still quite behind from this point of view and most of the artists do not realize what a bad impact on the environment some colors, materials, etc. can have.

I donate regularly part of my sales to various projects for animal rights, especially in Italy, where I am involved in the fight against Zoomafia. (A widespread corrupt system abusing stray dogs for lucrative purposes.)

As an artist, I have a certain “freedom of speech” because art is a space functioning a bit outside the normal rules or norms. It can be useful sometimes, you can say things or approach topics that would not be allowed to otherwise.


Could you tell us a bit about your artistic approach? (Style, medium, and specific techniques.)


Well, It took quite some years to develop the technique I am using now. It is a combination of soft pastels, charcoal, watercolor, gouache, and I work pretty much with my fingers and other tools…But is a kind of secret technique actually and I cannot talk about it;)

It requires time and is a long process especially when the works are big, but exactly this process is in fact very important too. 


I consider myself like Japanese embroiderers because they always stitch with their spirit, and their hands have a close relationship with their hearts. By integrating action and belief the embroiderer makes what is in the heart visible through his hands, creating works of art from nothing that existed before. Each work is a mirror of the soul and one can judge the state of my spirit by looking at what I have made with my hands. This art of creation is human-specific; it reflects what the artist is thinking or feeling, sometimes joyfully, sometimes sadly.


Because my technique is so specific each work is absolutely unique. I could not teach an assistant to reproduce my technique. Therefore I work alone, and this is very important to me too. As I said, art is like moving meditation to me. I wish I could focus only on producing art and projects, but unfortunately, I am still working on the side.


I am known for a very refined and delicate style and I wish my drawings to reveal a soft and poetical delicacy. The works are skillfully painted and drawn, with animals, plants, or women on backgrounds inspired by ancient Japanese and Chinese carpets and textiles. I like to think of my works as a form of surreal images. I am thinking about trying to bring together this form of surrealism to graffiti art, just on paper and not on walls. I like graffiti art because it is focused on sending a message, I like its power, and I feel somehow very influenced by the approach of graffiti artists. For a few years, I lead graffiti workshops with children under the name KIDS-DO-ART!


I never paint things like they are, I always create a composition of various elements like a collage and translate it onto paper. I don´t mind if things do not appear like they are in reality, on the contrary. I like to be drawn to the verge of abstraction and then pull back. My careful observation of things is evident in the works as I pay attention to every detail. Even the smallest insect is depicted with the same care as a gorgeous flower but these details might origin from an invention.

Such a method reflects an understanding of life, which is more common in Eastern religion and art than in Western ones. 

One can find a particular poetical and almost romantic feeling in my work: the echo of technique and spiritual intention, but also the expression of a deep inner connection to nature where the artist´s hand is almost mean of ideological expression.

A personal quote/sentence:

I need a bigger studio or a smaller mind.