Taking a “back to basics” approach to this exhibition, Antiquity, Ilaria (pictured right) explores her love for still life objects alongside artist Jack Paterson.

We had a chat with Ilaria about her inspirations, finding her right medium and what to expect with this exhibition.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with CHYA, how are you and what are you up to at the moment?

Extremely busy, but everything is well. I’m currently in the middle of my Honours year in Ancient World Studies writing up a thesis, while beginning in the adventurous world of archaeological fieldwork – so it’s a really interesting time balancing the distant past with contemporary art-making.

Congrats on the exhibition coming up at Courthouse, how is the prep coming along for the event?

Thank you! It’s been a slow but steady process.

And are you able to please fill our readers in on what to expect with the pieces.

Expect a ‘back to basics’ approach, removing any autobiographical narratives through still-life subjects. Also, lots of pots…

This exhibition you’re working alongside Jack, how did you both meet and how do you think your works will look together in the space?

We met years ago through mutual friends. Over these years we’ve influenced one another’s art both theoretically and stylistically, for this reason the works in the space will look really harmoniously in-sync.

You seem to work a bit with graphite, how did you to find what medium worked best for you?

As an artist the medium will find you more often than not. For me graphite is the contemporary ‘foundation stone’ for all other mediums, in terms of brainstorming ideas and its fluidity. Graphite is also the most non-discriminatory of all mediums—open to all people regardless of where you are, where you come from, and how much you have access to.

And in terms of your artistic style, is it something you find is still evolving or have you come to find your niche?

Artistic style is a lot like handwriting, one can make conscious efforts to use another style, yet the ‘default’ will always shine through in one way or another. As you will see my ‘defaults’ differ between mediums; in terms of painting I enjoy isolating detail and playing with colour, while my drawings are consciously heavy-handed and aggressive (since unfortunately we live in a world which glorifies masculine violence, and most female artists who work in a soft “timid” style are accordingly not taken as seriously). I’m content with what my hands can produce stylistically, although art (and life in general) is a never-ending journey of self-improvement and learning.

How has studying art influenced your own artistic process?

I come from a heavily theoretical background to art having studied scholarly art history rather than practice on a tertiary level, for me this entails a hyper-awareness of factors impacting my own production and interpretation of art-making. It’s difficult for me to just jump in and create “art for art’s sake”.

In addition to this I did study Orthodox icon-painting for a while, so my understanding of more ‘traditional’ artistic processes goes beyond those canonically Western ‘old masters’ of bygone times, oil paint, and illusionary perspective. My general avoidance of oil paints and woven canvas is a personal homage to non-Western two-dimensional art forms which so often were paper or wood-based in terms of support medium.

Lastly, my predominant and ongoing area of interest is really archaeology and material culture before ‘art’, or in other words trying to understand the innateness of human expression shared across cultures.

Going back to the beginning, do you remember your first experience with art and what you created?

I’ve always been a visual creature more than anything else, so a child standing in church; being captivated by all the beautiful Byzantine-style frescos, icons, and ornately embroidered items. These have really shaped my outlook in life and my own pursuit of wanting to make beautiful art/items/objects. Luckily hand-eye coordination came natural to me from an early age, meaning I was always called on in school as that “art person” drawing, painting, and making everything and anything.

Thanks again for taking the time to chat with us, is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you for not only having us, but for presenting this wonderful opportunity to all young artists.

‘Antiquity’ runs at Courthouse Youth Arts until July 6. Read about co-exhibiting artist Jack Paterson here. Or follow Ilaria on Instagram here.

If this has inspires you to create your own exhibition, send us a pitch here. We’re all ears!

Image via Leikography.