Vulnerability and Art: An Interview With Chiara Magni
In this post, I was fortunate enough to interview a famous artist and woman entrepreneur who emotes emotion and vulnerability through her paintings. As my blog is dedicated to connecting people through vulnerability and expression, I am extremely honored to share her story with you. Her pieces “The awakening of Venus” and “Breathe” speak to the natural beauty of the female form. Through hard work and passion, she has created a successful business doing what she loves.
Chiara Magni is a 31-year-old professional oil Finger Painter living by Garda Lake, Northern Italy. Since childhood, she surrounded herself with art, and like many of us have had to overcome putting limits on herself, creativity, and emotions in order to find her purpose, and she is thriving! Here is her vulnerable share.
Your art is extremely unique. Can you talk about your technique and how you cultivated your style?
Thanks a lot! I am specialized in oil finger painting, this technique is done by painting only with the fingers, the paint gets put straight from the tube to the canvas, most of the times it is pure as to give a very textured and 3d effect, it is absolutely very therapeutic and worth a try. However, I have the idea that every medium is allowed to get the exact final result that I intend for a specific painting. So even if the great majority of my pieces are finger painted, I do not put any limits to my creativity and I would also use brushes, spatula, wooden sticks, sometimes even fabric, everything that I think can fit that specific project.
When you paint what is your artistic process? Do you have specific emotions that drives you?
After so many hundreds of completed paintings, I now have my set routine and it is always the same. It is always the same as far as the process goes, but it is never the same as far as emotions. I am that kind of painter that gets a little frightened by a solid white canvas, so as soon as I get a stock of new canvases I do open all of them and do the under paint, the priming; this is a very beginning step done that allows me to work on a surface that is not white. Priming the canvas also helps the color to move better and more smoothly, the color of the underpaint doesn't really matter, sometimes I would choose orange as a background and do a painting without any orange or any other warm colors in it……
Well, once I’ve made sure I don’t have any white canvases around me I feel more serene.
What do you feel your art says about women in today's society and the way the female form is viewed?
I don’t want to be a hypocrite, I am well aware of the fact that all of the women in my paintings are skinny and beautiful, I am absolutely aware of the fact that my beauty standards do influence a lot the final result of the panting.
However, what I am trying to do is to focus on the extremely high level of the aesthetic that EVERY WOMEN have. I’ve lived the majority of my life struggling with my exterior aspect, I’ve been bullied when I was a little kid and this created a huge introversion, I’ve spent too much in my life looking inside of me and finally wit my ART I am able to look outside.
Yes, I do depict beautiful women, but that is what I see when I look INSIDE of them.
It is not about their breast or their butts, it is all about their SOULs!
Chiara Magni- "The Awaking of Venus"- 2018
How do you define ‘body positivity’?
First of all let me tell you that I do believe that we own a body and not that we are a body.
With this said I see our body as a tool to live our lives, it is something that we need to express ourselves and to do all of those things in life that give us emotions. This is why we need to stay healthy as much as possible and we need to treat well our body.
But aside from ensuring to have a healthy body
I think that we are absolutely free to do everything that we want with this. I’m absolutely pro tattoos, pro piercings (I do have several of both) I’m 31 and I still dye my hair blue or pink or whatever and the last thing I want is to be judged “as I’m not 15 anymore”.
How important is vulnerability to you and your art? What advice would you give someone who is looking to embrace their vulnerability in order to enhance their creative expression?
Vulnerability .... it can be an ugly beast ... in a job like mine, but in any job that involves realizing a dream, vulnerability is always present.
I have gone through various stages in my career, especially many years ago, in the beginning, or even before the beginning…. think about this....you are a person with a dream and you hope that everything is easy and you believe that things simply with a little effort will come true ...... but no, the more the dream is important to you the more you will have demons that will interfere with it.
It happened to me, I went through very difficult years, in despair and confusion, I was much more than vulnerable, in all this boiling of negative emotions, there was only one stable thing: that I could not give up!
In chaos and whirlwind, only that kept me standing. I had made a promise to respect myself and my dreams I had to be true to myself. This helped me a lot, it was my flickering light on the darkest nights, it was the tissue that dried my tears; it was the only thing that saved me from the overwhelm. I could not give up on myself and I’ve endured.
I know that everyone says not to give up but that is truly the best tip, absolutely do not delude yourselves: it requires a lot of sacrifice and a lot of hard work, but it can be absolutely achieved!
Chiara Magni- "Beathe" 2019
Do you remember what it felt like to sell your first piece of art as a professional business owner? Did you ever imagine becoming so successful?
Ahahaha sorry, I am laughing remembering this…. so glad you have asked. Yes, it was several years ago, I guess in 2015, I’ve just opened my Instagram account and I was doing a lot of soft pastel and ink drawings, was quite fun. I was still experimenting with all of the techniques that I used to know…. Well, I posted a drawing, and a lady from Canada bought it, so my first collector was not from Italy but from Canada. The drawing was a A4 size cardboard, did not needed a particular care for the shipping. I was so thrilled for my first sale and such a beginner in shipping that I choose the most expensive, faster, and probably the higher assurance that I could possibly get from FedEx…. the painting probably arrived to Canada in 2 hours… I’m kidding, but this gives you an idea. Between the money for the materials and the money for the shipping (not counting the hours needed to create the drawing) at the end my gain was less than the 15%, but I was so happy…. oh boy I was happy.
No, to be honest, I did not imagine to make so much progress in a few years, but I’ve always dreamed that.
How far did you go with your art? How many paintings have you sold?
I do have collectors all over the World, surprisingly enough the majority of them aren’t from Italy but from the USA. I also have collectors in the rest of Europe, New Zealand, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Swiss…I’ve sold over 200 paintings in the past few years.
How do you measure success and what do you value most both professionally and personally?
Well, money is part of the game called life, but I don’t measure my success based on that.
What I do consider more valuable is to what degree I am making a change in this society.
Am I helping other with my art? Do people feel happier when they see my works? Do they feel more at home when they stare at my paintings in their houses? Am I a good example for emerging artists?
I would like to thank Chiara Magni for taking the time out of her day to be open and vulnerable with me. It is my hope that by connecting with others who share their stores of success, struggle, and encouragement we can build an understanding of what it means to be vulnerable and connect with each other and ourselves.
To stay updated with her work here are her links!