Interview with pop surreal artist Simona Candini

Simona Candini 's works embody a beautiful yet sometimes dark world inhabited by big eyed girls and improbable creatures. With a stirring of emotions translated onto each new work of art, Simona brings her love of the old fairytales and childhood imaginings to us in a unique and poetic way. She is a traditional artist and enjoys using acrylics, oils, watercolor, graphite and pencils.
Hello dear Simona, please, tell us how did you find the artist inside you? How long have you been doing art? Is art something that you always wanted to do?
I always knew that I was meant to be an artist but this didn’t happen right away. Before becoming a full time artist I worked at several different jobs, I was a clerk, a secretary, a customer service operator, an art teacher, but I’ve never stopped drawing and dreaming. I’ve been doing art as a professional artist since 2010.

What was / is your major influences? Other artists, books, movies, music or any other media....What inspires you to create your artworks?

My art has been influenced mostly by my favorite artists, music bands, movies, by the old masters, nature, by people I met or situations, by fairytales and children books, dreams, nightmares, by different cultures and travels. It has been influenced also by my feelings and experiences, and those who know me on a personal level can probably read some autobiographic influences in my work.
How does "a normal day of artist" in your life look like?
Being a full time artist means to take your passion very seriously and make it your only job. I currently don’t have a collaborator, and I attend to every aspect of my work by myself. So it’s not all about painting and drawing, but if you want to get your art out there you must also be your own manager.

I try to keep over 10 different websites updated, including online stores, social networks and this takes a lot of my time. Also I’m the one who takes care of all the orders and packaging items for shipping. To get everything done and still have the time to paint, the secret is simple….just sleep very little! LOL
I don’t have much free time, but whenever I can, I like to get out and be with my friends or enjoy some fresh air in a nice park with my two little dogs.
What’s your background? Are you self-taught artist or did you study art? Do you think an art education is important or imperitive for anybody wishing to be an artist? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages that you have encountered throughout your career with/without the formal training of the Art Academy?
After scientific high school I decided to finally follow my passion and so I chose the Fine Art Academy University Of Bologna (Italy). I wasn’t taught how to paint though, because teachers assumed that you already knew it by going to the art high school, so in my case I had to learn on my own.  That’s why I consider myself a self- taught artist. Most of what I know about painting techniques derives from my personal study and experiments, mistakes, tears and sweat.
I absolutely think that formal training is not imperative for being an artist and that sometimes having wrong teachers can mislead you and send you down a wrong path which could slow your progress.
What fascinates you the most about pop surrealism? How would you describe your style? What themes do you pursue, what surrealism mean to you and what do you hope the viewer will take away from your art?
I would describe my style in the pop surreal genre. I love pop surrealism because I love figurative and realistic art, but at the same time this is provocative and makes you think. It is beautiful and sometimes terrifying at the same time. It’s stimulating and it wakes up hidden emotions. It always fills my heart with joy when I receive e-mails from people stating that a painting of mine describes how they feel, that they can connect with it on a deeper level, and it gives them emotions. I think that these are some of the best compliments for an artist.
My most current themes are death and love. I like to work with series and characters that sometimes appear in more than on artwork, creating a story behind the scene. All my characters have a story and if you’re a good observer you can read between the lines. I love creepy-cute-creatures with an aura of melancholy.

What do you love most about creating and being an artist? What does “being creative” mean to you?
Being creative for me means to finally be myself. I can be myself and be present 100% when I’m concentrated on my creations. Some periods in the past when I wasn’t painting very much, I always had to channel my creativity into something. The things that I love the most being an artist is that I can do what I love.  I know that I’m very lucky and blessed for that. Every day I thank God/The Universe to have combined things in such a way to make it possible. And every day I also send my gratitude to all the people that helped my dream to come true. My family, James, Pattie, all my awesome collectors, the gallery owners and curators and all the wonderful people that follow my journey daily on the social networks and share the love with their friends. Thank you!!
Can you describe your typical workflow when you’re working on your art? What are your tools of trade? What medium do you most often use and why?
I have a notebook where I write down every new idea as it comes to me. Sometimes I just have an idea and I start a new work. Other times I go search for a good idea in my notebook. I usually make a sketch before starting the work on the final panel. I don’t normally make many sketches of one idea, because if I do, it normally happens that I end up liking the first one most anyway.
I’ve been using mostly oil, acrylics and watercolors. As a support , I use wood, Masonite, canvas and paper.  My favorite combinations are currently oil on canvas and mixed technique on paper, which I often like to stain with coffee. I also love to complete my artworks with a custom frame that I paint and decorate to match the subject. I think that the frame is part of the artwork itself.
Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?
At the moment  there aren’t any new painting medias that I would like to try because I’ve experimented a lot in the past and feel I’ve found what works best for me.
Tell us more about your workspace. What was the most funny or weird thing that happened to you in your studio? What is / was the most strange thing hidding in your studio?
My workspace is constantly a mess... If it’s not messy it means that I’m on vacation! Even my computer desktop is full of icons. But I normally know where everything is in my messy studio.
My two dogs and one cat keep me company during the long painting sessions in my studio.
One night coming back home, I found a bat flying around my painting easel! The strange fact is that the window was shut! So I wonder how and when the poor creature got in…. The little bat was so scared and took a while before finding the window to fly out. For a few seconds I was hoping that it came for me and that it would transform into a hot vampire…… LOL
What toughest challenges have you faced as an artist during your art career? What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far?
Every day is a challenge…. In the beginning the biggest challenge is to believe in yourself and to have the courage to show your work to the world and accept critique from people that may not always be kind or constructive. As an artist you have to be prepared to receive critiques and use this to push yourself to get better and stronger and to find your own path. The biggest lesson that I’ve learned is never let anything stop or discourage you.
What’s the best and worst advice you ever received in your art career?
I’ve received a ton of bad advices. At a certain point I just pressed the “erase” button.
The worst advice that I’ve received by a teacher was something like this about 10 years ago: “Why do you want to paint these girls with big eyes that look so much like manga? Nobody would be interested in something like this painted by an Italian, because it’s a Japanese style.” 
Well…. No comment.
What do you dislike about the art world? What is the hardest thing on being an artist? Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
About the art world and from my personal experience, I dislike the fact that there are some people that try to take advantage of artists. I must say that I’ve been lucky so far but I’ve heard lots of bad stories. You have to be very careful about who you are dealing with and keep your eyes open. As for the loneliness, yes being all day in a studio by yourself can be lonely. Also it can be hard to keep track of time and deadlines. I don’t like deadlines very much, but they are useful. If one day you don’t feel good, there’s nobody that can substitute for you and do your job. You have to learn to organize your day without a boss telling you what to do, which on one hand is very nice, but on the other hand it requires a lot of self discipline. I always make a list of what I have to do, try to be on top of things and look ahead. It’s not easy. Whenever I can, I go out and see people, get fresh air and exercise. I like to dance, so lately I’m attending a dance class which is a lot of fun! It’s very important to move when you stay for so many long hours sitting in one position painting at the easel or at a desk. I recommend to always choose a comfortable seat, and take breaks once in a while to stretch.
Where do you see yourself in the future? Professionally, what’s your goal?
I’m very ambitious. Professionally my goal is to constantly improve on all levels and keep exhibit my work around the world. In the future I'd love to have the possibility to hire someone to do computer work, packaging, and help me out with my work, so that I can dedicate all my time to paint and create.
Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others? Maybe advice for beginning artists out there?
My tip is: Don’t be afraid of failing, and also don’t be afraid of succeeding! To start is the first and most important step if you want to accomplish something. So, first of all: Don’t’ listen to bad advice, take the path you like. Make your own mistakes and learn from them. Don’t lose time on irrelevant things. Focus on your goals. Show your art and don’t be afraid of critiques. Don’t think that you are not ready yet, start now!
Your favorite art or life quote is ...
I don’t really have a favorite quote. “The Power “ by Rhonda Byrnes  is a book that I really appreciate and that helped me a lot.  She writes: “Your thoughts become things!” She mentions Henry Ford and this quote that I like very much: “Whenever you think you can or think you can’t, either way you are right.”
Do you have an online portfolio or a blog where we can view your work?
Official websiteEbay shopEtsy shopFacebook pageBlogSkins and casesInstagram ✿ Twitter @SimonaCandini ✿ E-mail: simonacandini (@) hotmail (dot) com
Is there anything else you’d like to say? Is there any project you are working on right now or any ongoing event or exhibition you would like to share with our readers?
The past 2014 ended in a great way, with my artwork being showcased at Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco, CA for the "Wonderlust" group exhibition.
2015 started with fireworks with my "Princesses" solo show which will be on until Feb 11 at Wrong Gallery, Taipei.

I've been currently preparing for four shows coming up this March. I'm very excited to be part of "The Legend Of Korra" show that will take place at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, CA. Also I will take part to the "Loteria" show at Cactus Gallery in Los Angeles, CA, the "Intimacy" show at Swoon Gallery CA and "The Year Of The Sheep" show at Wrong Gallery, Taipei.

2015 will be full of nice surprises :) Thank you for this interview, much Love! Simona
Thank you dear Simona, it was a honor to interview you, I wish you only the best for you and your art and already looking forward to see your new art works :)
By contributor Linda. Jan 2015. Find Oh, So Surreal on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google + or RSS