Balance as a freelance artist

My tips for surviving as a full-time artist and balancing productivity and self-time.

Art is a business.
It is not just twinkles and colors, but also marketing, planning, production, selling, shipping, and all that stuff that may sound boring but still necessary.

As a full-time artist and the only person in my small business, I have learned, and keep learning, to extricate myself between the duty and the pleasure of this job.
I thought about the possibility to have a gallery or an agent to care about all the bureaucracy and paperwork, leaving to me just the joy of pure creation.
But I have chosen to deal personally with the people, managing by myself the production and the selling of my artwork. This because I want my art to remain accessible not only to a niche of wealthy collectors but to everyone who wishes to admire my works on the walls of their own houses.
Day by day I roll up my sleeves and organize my time to administrate every aspect of my artist profession. And believe me, it is really easy when the boundary between job and passion is bland, ending to work seven days a week, 12 hours a day or more.
But I am a lover of self-time, the time for rest and leisure. I cannot and do not want to give up on it.
How do I manage it?

PLANNING, PLANNING, AND AGAIN, PLANNING!

Yes. Planning is the golden rule.
A bit for my engineering studies, a bit perhaps for a personal predisposition, I admit that I enjoy creating to-do lists. 
Lists and plans, short and long term. I usually plan the year goals, the monthly ones, and every week I make a detailed plan for every day. Maniacal? Maybe, but this allows me to keep always at least one day of the week free for the necessary leisure.
And as a day rule, no work after dinner! Also because, maybe for my Sicilian genes, after eating my belly steals all the energy to my brain.

GRATIFICATION AND REWARD: GET YOUR SPIRIT UP!

To keep the mood up, it is absolutely needful to gratify and reward yourself after the hard work, to remember the simple and beautiful things that are the purpose of our efforts.
I don’t want to sound like an Italian cliche, but a good meal (even better if shared with the people we love) always remembers us that the essential is simple, and we are lucky to have it because it is not granted, even if we sometimes forget it.
A nice warm bath or a long shower works just as well for me, face masks, body oils, and so on! Self-care and the exclusive me-time as a reward for the hard work.

MOVEMENT AND POWER: KEEP THE ENERGY HIGHT!

Sport and movement are also essential for me, although the Berlin winter makes me particularly lazy. But even just half an hour of physical activity or a little stretching in the morning before starting the day is enough to have more energy, and everything flows much more smoothly.
Dancing? Everyday. Yes, I know, the world pandemic made clubs close and who knows when they will reopen. But that certainly can’t stop us from shaking the body. Dancing helps me to release negative vibes and replaces them with energy and happiness.
I dance everywhere, walking on the street, in line at the supermarket, in the studio, at home alone.
And of course, just to bring out another Italian cliché, I sing! And loudly!
At home, in the shower, while working, in the park, on the bicycle.
And after that, I’m feeling much better.
Just try it!


That’s more or less how I try to survive as a full-time artist.

I hope you enjoyed my tips!
And you? How do you manage to balance productivity and self-time?
I would be really happy to read your thoughts about it.

grazie 2020

Eccoci qua alla fine di uno degli anni più disastrosi della storia.

Non ho intenzione di riepilogare la serie di catastrofi che si sono susseguite nel corso del 2020.
In realtà voglio solo dire grazie, perché questo 2020, nonostante tutto, è stato per me un buon anno.

In quest’anno speciale appena passato ho avuto la fortuna di trovare un atelier fantastico, condiviso con grandi artisti e amici. Sono davvero riconoscente allo Studio4 a Friedrichshain, e a tutto ciò che questo posto magico mi ha regalato, alle persone che ha portato sul mio cammino, inspirandomi e sostenendomi personalmente e artisticamente.

In quest’anno così difficile per tutti, particolarmente per gli artisti freelancer, sono davvero grata di essere riuscita a sopravvivere continuando a fare quello che più amo.
So che poter vivere d’arte è una fortuna.

Un anno fa decidevo di voler dipingere ritratti. E il 2020 mi ha dato la possibilità di ritrarre gente splendida e di imparare e migliorare questa pratica. Grazie a voi che avete creduto in me e mi avete permesso di dipingervi così come io vi vedo.
In questo nuovo anno appena cominciato ci saranno molti altri ritratti nel mio cammino d’artista ed io non vedo l’ora.

E il 2020 è stato anche pieno di progetti d’animazione (che condividerò presto pubblicamente), portando questo mezzo ad essere una parte fondamentale del mio lavoro.
L’animazione frame by frame è una fatica, ma ogni volta che guardo il lavoro concluso dimentico l’affanno nel creare quell’incredibile numero di disegni che compongono quei pochi minuti di magia.

Grazie a Svenja (Cochaine) che mi ha spinto ad esplorare con l’arte un’intimità ed un erotismo libero e puro.
Grazie a Marnie (Marnie Feuerriegel) che mi ha portato ad ampliare la visione più introspettiva e spirituale nella mia pratica artistica.
Grazie a tutta la gente che mi spinto a definire e rafforzare i miei confini, a credere nel mio valore per difenderlo.

Dunque grazie 2020.
2021, io sono pronta.

Portrait commission – 42×59,4 cm, mixed media on paper, 2020
“Water above sky below now” – frame by frame digital animation, 2020
Tre donne e un gatto” – 42×29,7cm, ink and charcoal on paper, 2020

Nuovo atelier – Studio 4

Ed è passato già quasi un mese da quando ho trasferito baracca, carta, colori e pennelli allo Studio 4, nel cuore di Friedrichshain.
Ho trascorso 5 anni a dipingere nel mio appartamento, in uno spazio ritagliato sotto la finestra della camera da letto, ed è andata benissimo. Sono affezionata a quel davanzale che ho riempito di piante e sporcato di gocce di colore, e devo confessare che mi piaceva lavorare in pigiama, soprattutto lungo gli scuri inverni berlinesi. Ma quest’anno ho sentito fosse giunto il momento di uscire dalla mia confort zone pigiamosa e rischiare un po’ di più, investendo su me stessa e sul mio lavoro.
Così eccomi qui, nello studio in Samariterstraße 4, condiviso con altri artisti e designer fantastici e non potrei essere più convinta che sia stata la decisione giusta.
Quindi se vi trovate a Berlino, passate a trovarmi, la mia scrivania è giusto accanto la finestra.

Studio 4 – Samariterstraße 4, 10247 Berlin

 

2019

Il 2019 è stato una fatica.

Ho sgobbato un sacco, davvero, rimboccata le maniche e olio di gomito, dalla Sicilia, a Berlino fino in Giappone. Mi sono sempre detta che per arrivare a farcela come artista, per arrivare a sostenerti con l’arte, ci fosse un solo modo: lavorare, lavorare e lavorare sodo, senza fermarsi. Non sono una stacanovista anzi, sostengo che il riposo e il diletto siano essenziali per un sano equilibrio mentale necessario, a mio parere, alla creazione. Inoltre se lavoriamo tutto il tempo senza vivere, da dove dovremmo mai prendere lo spunto creativo per fare arte? Dunque impegno continuo, e poi il riposo ed il diletto.

Detto ciò, questo 2019 è stato davvero impegnativo, forse l’anno più operoso ad oggi. E si sono stanca, ma sono anche grata e felice, perché alla fine ogni sforzo è stato ripagato. E non credere, non è che sia stato facile. I momenti in cui ho pensato di rinunciare, o quelli in cui ho pensato che non ne valesse la pena, che fosse tutta fatica sprecata, ce ne sono stati molti, e continueranno ad essercene. Eppure sono contenta di non essermi fermata.

E lo scrivo adesso qui per ricordarmelo, che va bene così, procedere con calma, senza alcuna fretta, l’importante è non fermarsi.

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Discuvry in Kanaiwa – 2019 Art Residency, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

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Kanaiwa Diary, 2019 Art Residency, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

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Kanaiwa Diary, 2019 Art Residency, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

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Kikkake, Okinawa concert, 2019 – picture by Yuta Nakama

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Kikkake, Okinawa concert, 2019 – picture by Yuta Nakama

Diva – Exhibition at AnkoKai, Berlin

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I’m happy to announce my next exhibition, in the frame of the fantastic and sparkling AnkoKai event!

On this occasion I will show a series of portraits of the AnkoKai’s beauties and performers, queer, colors and lipstick!

The portraits are inspired by Alberto Granzotto photos.

 

When: 6th April 2019, 20-01h

Event: Anko-Kai vol. 106 いろいろやりまっせSP🌸

♥♥♥ Party for hairy Geishas and Yakuzas with boobs ♥♥♥

Where: Club der polnischen Versager, Ackerstraße 169, 10115 Berlin

Facebook: AnkoKai

 

Mama: Mitani Nobuhiro a.k.a. Nobué

Dj: Parisienne Sasazuka

Dance Performance: Rieko Okada

 

I will be happy to meet you there and drink a glass (or two, three, four…) together!

Cheers and glitters,

Chiara.

diva-cicca

After Bologna, it’s time for working!

Two weeks have passed since Bologna Children’s Book fair.

It was a great experience and I will definitely do it again next year. I met beautiful people and I had the possibility to talk with many publishers and amazing illustrators, in particular I’m so grateful to Javier Zabala and Giovanni Manna for their advices and constructive feedback, I came back home full of energies and a clearer mind about my work, which are my strong points and what I still have to learn, of course a lot, well I think I will never stop to learn all my life, but I am ready and my motto is “NO HURRY”.

And a special thinking goes to my adventure mates, friends and great artists Daniela Spoto and Luca Di Battista, check these guys out, their work is stunning!

So now it is not the time for relaxing, I will roll up my sleeves and keep drawing.

Draw o Die!!!

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Old markers

I’m writing from my family house in Catania. I came here to visit my family because tomorrow my mother will have a medical operation and I wanted to be here to support her.

I am very happy to visit my family and my beautiful Sicily, also because now there are about 20 degrees more than Berlin… By the way every time I come here I order a bit the stuff I left here, behind me; many things go into the garbage, something has been donated and something else stays here, waiting for me to have one day a house in Berlin big enough to bring it with me.

Beside my bed there is, since always, a silver tube that once contained a bottle of Chivas whisky. I had even forgotten what was inside when today I opened it and found a bunch of old markers. Most of them are consumed and useless but, before throwing them away, I wanted to do the last drawing.

I thought about the just started winter that I will find in Berlin next week, once I will be back…

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Rainy summer and Illustrations on vintage ceramics

Hello hello! Happy Saturday and summer weekend to everybody!

The most of you is already in holiday, spending the time in the sun, on a beautiful beach, snorkeling in the sea…aaaaaaahhh!!! I would like to go to the sea too! But this summer I’m staying in Berlin because I have a bunch of work to do.

As some of you maybe already know, I am from Sicily and the month of August for me has meant just sea, beach, summer festival, camping under shooting stars…I am missing all this so much! And also I have to say that this year the summer in Berlin is not really nice, most of the time the sky is cloudy and the temperature makes me think about the end of October in Sicily more than middle of August…

But maybe is better like this, I mean, I have to work anyway so maybe it’s better that the cloudy sky and the fresh air delete every chance to go even to the nearest lake…so sad……….

So let’s try to do a happy twist in the cloudy Berlin’s summer, for example adding to the our lunch table this vintage GDR dish that I hand-painted with the illustration of colorful little girl in the summer rain with her yellow umbrella!

You can find it on my Etsy shop, together with my prints and some of other hand-painted ceramics items.

piatto ombrello

NEONCHOCOLATE FESTIVAL

I have exciting news for Berlin friends, Cicca will be debuting at Neonchocolate Festival at Berliner Postbahnhof on this weekend, 23rd-24th July from 1pm till 11pm.

I am so excited and a bit nervous, as this is the first time I will be attending an art festival with my illustration work.

I will display my new works of painting on vintage ceramics and some art prints, postcards and two handmade coloring zines!

I have still some work to do, as hand-binding for the zines and painting some pottery, but it is almost done 🙂
Please come this weekend and say hi!

Bacio,

Chiara.

cicca stufff