From Psychologists to international Artists
BY Maria Sole Codello for "Parlare d'Altro"
Do you believe in Destiny?
I personally still have an uncertain opinion about it. Sometimes I believe that there is a superior and uncontrollable force to rule our lives and we can’t escape from it; in other moments, instead, I believe that somehow human being can decide his own destiny with his behavior or changing his mind last minute. Who knows!?
Last weekend I had the honor and the pleasure of talking with two persons that strongly believe in Destiny: Neva Epoque (Asti, 1978) e Alessandro Vignola (Torino, 1977), in art Delta N.A.
Neva and Alessandro are happily married and since some years they are heart and soul into Art. But it wasn’t always like that, and, above all, it wasn’t always that easy! We are talking in fact of two psychologists who have decided to free all their creativity and imagination becoming artists.
They told me how they worked their way up the ladder, how hard it was to get into the art market, their experiences overseas between eccentric gallerists and their long walks in the cities- artworks underarm- searching for a place to exhibit. They told me then about their continuous evolution in art and about their artworks.
Literally working side by side, favoring drawing and painting as art expression, Delta N.A. step by step have found their way in the bizarre and at the same time difficult world of contemporary art, and now I let the images of their art and their words, speak.
Neva and Alessandro, first of all, which is your education?
Neva: We are both psychologists and completely self-educated artists, and we are very proud of it. We just had one teacher in Asti, graduated in Brera Academy, who trained us on the basic knowledge: use of colors, diluents, different techniques .We studied also many artists of the past, but the rest is all flour of our mill (made by ourselves).
Alessandro: We also have learned a lot staying in touch with other artists, especially to discover new medias. Particularly in USA, artists are very avant-garde in choosing new materials and techniques and there are the biggest art shops to stimulate you to try new and unknown materials.
Why did you become artists?
Together: Because we are crazy! (they laugh).
A: We believes that going on looking for answers inside ourselves made us crazy so we got lost … and then we started thinking with our heart. When we were children we have always loved art and we have always been in love with drawing and painting even during our past as psychologists, then finally, when we met, our madness has become so strong to be uncontainable.
N: After my master degree I have been asked which kind of therapist I wanted to be and I said I didn’t want to be a therapist. It is a noble work to help other people , but at the same time I knew a side of me would be totally unhappy, so I started thinking that I needed Art in my life.
A: Before choosing psychology at University, I met a graphologist and she told me that art was part of me and choosing Psychology I would have become bored and that sooner or later Art would have knocked again at my door. She was the first person I called when I decided to become an artist!
Why Delta N.A.? I see N and A are your Initials, but what about Delta, what does it mean?
A: the Greek letter Delta symbolizes the Destiny and its strength. It is part of our painting, it is in each line, in the consequentiality of events and in the connection and overlapping shapes, circles and levels. And then it is the same destiny that made us met.
N: We first met at University, I really liked him, last time we have spent time together we were in a place named “ Who seeks, finds” then we haven’t seen each other for seven years and then, by chance, we have met again exactly in the same place !
A:This is one of the reason we believe so much in Destiny ( laughing).
Where did you start showing your artworks at the beginning of your career and how did you emerge as artists?
A: We have started here in Asti. We had for a while a small space we used as studio/gallery. We were never satisfied with our ability so we were studying and painting until late night. Our light was always on and people passing by were very curious!
N: then we started exhibiting in few shows for nonprofessional. But, you know, we were very immature until we haven’t found our path in art, so what we were painting at the beginning was not original or unique. To access to art galleries we needed to become very self-confident. In that period we realized that there is a big difference between an artwork made by a pro or a non-professional, and we had to learn on our skin how to grow as artists and to be accepted by an art gallery.
A: Our first “real” show was in Los Angeles. We were there since few months still looking for the right expression in our painting, and we have finished our money so we had to find the courage and look for a place to show our artworks before leaving the States. We went down town and we started looking for opportunities until we found a nice tiny gallery and the owner, a young guy, invited us to get in. He was organizing a group show and he asked us to participate. That was the beginning and only few years later we have been able to show our art in Beverly hills and then we have started working with Catm agency.
Which are your favorite past or contemporary, artists? Do you take inspiration form them?
A: this is a complicate question, we can say that we have studied a lot the expression of great artists as Renoir, Cèzanne, Monet, Picasso, Modigliani and Miro’, but we have some way digested and absorbed their art, we have it inside.
N: yes we absorbed their teaching but honestly I can’t say that we are inspired by them, at some point we stopped looking at the past to become more focused on our search.
A: exactly, as a matter of fact we don’t go anymore visiting museum or art exhibition to avoid confusion, we just go to see contemporary art, better if it comes from some friend of us! Anyway American art, as well as the abstract expressionism, has also been very enriching to us, over all for the use of colors.
One of your original characteristic is your tight collaboration, Is it always easy working together?
N: this is the most asked question: “do you quarrel a lot?” Actually not! It started as a game, because a collector asked us an artwork on commission and we were approaching our honeymoon, so we had just four days left, so I told him: ”let’s try to paint it together, otherwise we won’t make it”. So we started working side by side on the same subject and since then we started developing a way of expression that works and keeps an high level of energy on canvas.
A: We are both free to do what we want on canvas, this is very important. At the beginning we were a little bit afraid to modify the work made by our companion, but after a while we have become more self-confident.
N: it is absolutely necessary to trust your companion’s choices, because in this way we are in synchrony and there isn’t any problem at all.
Which show is your favorite and more emotional memories?
A: maybe the show in Beverly Hills with Soho Gallery, it was a magical night. The gallery was amazing, we liked the style of the other artists and the quality of their artworks and for the first time we were feeling mature in our expression. Then we met nice people and good friends.
I know you are planning an itinerating show, can you tell me more about it?
N: the show is titled “A Journey with heart” and it collects our feelings and emotions about travels and places we have visited in the past and about our perceptions of the world all described through the lens of our language, the Existential Mechanic. In this exhibition we wish to describe the sensation of living in connection with places we love, it is an itinerating show not only because it is about travelling but also because it will move across Italy beginning from Die Mauer Arte contemporanea in Prato and Davico art gallery in Turin to flight then in Indonesia to the Institute of Italian Culture of Jakarta and more locations to come.
A: In this show there is a sort of dualism between the idea of journey around the world and into the human soul as a research of the meaning of life and art.
N: it is about the concreteness of human life mixed to an ethereal vision that we define Destiny.
After your experience what would you suggest to young artists approaching the intricate world of contemporary art?
A: to be mad enough to believe in their own madness.
N: to go on, not being afraid to destroy their past and change, because if you stop at the first painting you make, you will not reach any result; and to search for the greatness of your soul.
A: and beside this it is important to be very humble, the world may not understand you completely but you also need to wonder if you are doing enough or if you need to work more.
Now I ask you something I like to ask to every artist: what is art for you?
N: Art is something enormous, art is the search of art itself and in my opinion it’s a sort of a mystic moment during which you feel balance, harmony and perfection all around yourself, art makes you feel small because even if your perceptions become clearer and clearer you know that you will never understand the greatness of the Universe. It is the language of the soul, it is going beyond ourselves. It’s the immensity.
A: In my opinion is the search of truth and it’s through this search that you open the doors to the immensity of the Universe and you can catch a hint of it. Our show is titled “A Journey with heart” because our heart is home to the truth. If artworks are made with heart you feel them and your mind melt. The most beautiful compliment we can receive is to discover that people are feeling emotions in front of our works.