An interview with Dannielle Gianna Carbone of DGianna Studio

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On a sun-soaked Thursday morning in Richmond, Melbourne, Dannielle Gianna Carbone, of DGanna Studio, opens the door to her bone-white gallery and welcomes me as we pass numerous sculptures and artworks to her beautiful outdoor garden and workshop. Her artworks are both tastefully minimal and intensely emotional, blending materials to create echoes of the divine feminine and evoke the inescapable complexity of human life. Her garden is dappled with plantlife and bright flowers in different colours, warm winds caress each and every one of them. Her room, that sits above the studio, is adorned with various artworks, a quaint dining table and ocean blue floorboards, which have seen better days. A somewhat damaged chandelier rests beside a mirror in the corner, and a window looks out over Bridge Road like a crow’s nest, observing passersby as each person carries on in a common rush.

What originally struck me about Dgianna’s work is the conscious acknowledgement that no matter how beautiful, peaceful or undisturbed a setting is, human interference or interruption will find a way. Hands reach out at the viewer from canvases or claw at the fabric, which comprises a portion of the artwork. In saying this, there are artists who acknowledge the human impact on our shared environment, and there are artists who simply fall short of addressing this. Dgianna involves human limbs and details in her art in a way that is definitive, endearing, provocative and subjectively gorgeous. Artworks like ‘Make Me Feel’ (2022) and ‘Where do I Feel Safe?’ (2020) are clear statement pieces and conversation starters for any home or venue. Form and function are delivered in the form of vases and bowls in a variety of materials such as plaster, aggregates, pigments, limestone, and mortar.

Firstly, thank you for having me in your gallery and it’s a pleasure to meet you. How did you get started as an artist, you mentioned that your mother made art, it began in childhood?

I think it was when I was young that I always thought that I wasn’t going to be an artist because I couldn’t draw. My mom could draw ultra-realistic scenes of life; she had a perfect draw; she was just extremely creative. I felt creative in different ways. I definitely expressed myself through fashion and beauty a lot more. So I started studying fashion design and after my fashion design course, I kind of hated the industry. I mean, hate is a strong word, I will admit, but I didn’t love the industry as much as I thought I would after going through my education and sewing. I started working with discarded textiles and towels, upcycling them and repurposing them, and that is pretty much where it began. I was sitting on my brother’s bedroom floor. I remember during COVID thinking, What am I going to do? Like, how am I going to make money? And not that it was ever about money, but it was somewhat out of boredom. You know, we’re all sitting here doing nothing. So I saw this girl doing something like, Do you remember expanding foam mirrors? They were kind of like a trend.

Oh, not really.

I saw these girls like, making businesses out of that (using expanding foam). I thought to myself “I could make something better than that,” and it just popped into my head. The next day, I went to Bunnings, bought a canvas, I bought some plaster, and I was like, sweet, this is what I’m going to do. I’m gonna dip the fabric in the plaster and I’m going to see where it takes me. And I just kept experimenting, experimenting, experimenting.

Your works merge sculptural and canvas elements. You had said about plaster and ‘wearable art’ that it was a new chapter for you as an artist. Tell me more about that.

I just wanted to create something and I didn’t know what. It was that feeling of when you just have the urge to create something, but you’re like, “oh, I don’t know where I want to go with this.” It seemed normal to people who create art, the pain of indecision. The first thing I do is I grab a canvas. And then I wanted to add that sculptural feel. But getting into the industry is so difficult. You kind of don’t know your place and like, who’s gonna buy a sculpture from me? I’m nobody, so I thought, all right, maybe I can make it more functional, something more interactive.

Right! When I noticed hands and feet, whole legs emerging out of the artworks, I was like, whoa! You know, it was sort of like. It reminded me of that weird scene in A Clockwork Orange with the Korova milkbar. I was like, “yeah, that’s something else.”

Yeah, I know it’s a lot, it’s a lot to take in visually. The owners were incredibly accommodating to my work and allowed me to create art using three casts of their own hands to be placed on the wall of their venue in Fitzroy. Being that it was my first commission it was a real pleasure to work with people who had a vision and let me do my thing.

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So you’ve made a functional art piece of the lamp I was seeing recently with all the draping. Why did you take your art direction into lighting? Do you think there are collaborations in the future with lighting companies or design companies?

That lamp was the first piece of lighting I merged my art with. I would absolutely love to collaborate with a lighting company because I’ve been really, really focusing on lighting as a concept lately. I just think it brings life to lots of my pieces. Like I was saying before, I want my pieces to be a little bit more functional or duplicitous. I currently work as an interior designer for this place in West Melbourne, Twostyle.

I’ve always had a love for space and interior design. I think a lot of my art stems from the question of “How could this work within a space?” I adore space, I adore creating, creating a loveable space, and I look at a lot of my work in a functional way, “Where would this work within a space?” So lighting has become a recent obsession of mine.

I’m looking to go and study some more. I believe that I cannot stop learning. It’s just about timing for me. I want to learn literally all that I can. I really want to learn more about welding and glasswork.

That chandelier in your bedroom, on the floor, is that a piece you are working on?

That’s a vintage piece, I adore vintage. Like I was saying, with my mother, I inherited a lot of cool little items.

Designers have that keen eye for beauty and just identifying it out there in the world. What is one piece of architecture, art or design that you keep returning to as a source of beauty, something that you would seek to emulate or otherwise recreate in your own way?

That’s an interesting question. I think I’ve always kind of had an obsession with beauty and romance as a woman, you know? Very Venus, the goddess of beauty type of thing. I am constantly looking to the past to inform my artistic decisions on how to redefine the classical.

Women are God’s gift to the world. Muses for all artists.

Right, I love to be a woman and I think that is in the essence of architecture and design. I think it comes to me from a sense of emotion. That is at the core of my inspiration for everything I create. The emotion that I see in classical art has always been something I’ve reverted back to as well. That is where my love for drapery started, especially, you know, I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Italy.

Only Milan a few times.

I absolutely fell in love with Europe, the classical sculpture work over there, the cloth that they were wearing and that the emotion in their face was just frozen in time. All of Rome is a source of inspiration to me and especially the Uffizzi gallery in Florence was a massive source of inspiration for me.

What is your definition of Art?

I have struggled with that for a long time, but I believe there is no right or wrong way to be an artist. Art is absolutely anything that you want it to be. A lot of people have spoken to me about this and they say “I want to be creative” and I always say “you are creative.” Art doesn’t have to only be defined as putting a brush to a canvas. It is raw expression in any form. My first expression of art was in the way that I wore things, my fashion and the way I walked into a room. I wanted to have a presence, to be visually striking to the eye. That is truly an art form.

The way that Leo, my partner, the way that he makes music, that is an art form. I think it is absolutely anything where you are expressing yourself is the definition of art. Good art or bad art doesn’t really exist. It only exists in, you know, this billionaire kind of echelon where everything is scrutinized.

A lot of people praise Melbourne as a great city for artists, What is your experience with Melbourne as far as making art, putting it out there, and is there anything you would change or improve as far as Melbourne life for an artist?

That’s a really interesting question because I grew up in Melbourne. I grew up in the northern suburbs, around Essendon. People were creative, but I don’t think that art was favoured or shown around the streets like in my suburb. We had no art galleries anywhere or not that I saw, honestly. I just wasn’t exposed to this creative scene, whereas in Richmond, there are lots of galleries which foster an artistic community, like Artist Central. I don’t even think moving to Richmond was what did it, Melbourne is more fashion than art in my opinion. Melbourne is Australia’s fashion capital, no other city. I am still looking to go to Paris or New York. When I found art, I decided not to leave melbourne, you have to be committed to your craft.

Your studio on Bridge Road feels like the last vestige of art in Melbourne, it is nice to see at least some art in this neighbourhood, considering its proximity to the city, it is a very intimate thing to invite people into your studio, how has it been opening your space up to be a for-hire studio space?

It was definitely a big step, it was always very very personal every time someone walked in, I always felt that I needed someone else out the front. The amount of people who would come in and say something like “hmm, very interesting.” Richmond is still in Melbourne, and Melbourne is still in Australia, where we are not as obsessed with art as the rest of the world might be.

There are people who walk around this city who might not even consider the impact of art on a person’s life, the effect of art on the world. The essence of an artist is free and crazy, and what I wanted to bring into my studio is exactly what I wanted to bring into my studio, a sense of freedom, even if I was selling a product.

Speak about the difficulty of building yourself up as an artist.

I think people sometimes look at me still, like, “She must be so successful because of what you see on social media,” but there were definitely days where money was tight, It’s real. You make sacrifices paving the way for what you love, and that means you suffer for your art. My dad is my biggest supporter, my family is very supportive. I do believe that Melbourne is full of so many amazing young aspiring artists and I’m blessed to be apart of a generation of people who value self expression in any form it may be

Oh, it definitely takes a village.

Absolutely, when I was a child, my father asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I told him “I want to be an artist,” and he told me “well, you know it’s rare they make any money” and I told him, “well I want to at least try. and he’s been right and I’m still here trying” (laughs).

This is part of the reason I wanted to interview you, talk about these times, I can’t stand to think that people assume it fell in your lap, the life of an artist is won, earned, it doesn’t just happen.

I acknowledge that I am privileged, not everyone at my age can be in a place where they have some form of support, and a studio to create in, so that is something I am grateful for. It has been hard, it has been hard emotionally to know if I am doing the right thing. It has been more of a mental game than some sort of creative struggle, I have never had a mental block for creating, but there have been times where I wonder if people care. Trying to make people care is a portion of the role of an artist.

Thank you so much for opening up about your art and how you feel about being an artist in our city, Melbourne, Danni, it has been a rare and distinct pleasure speaking with you.

DGianna Studio is open to commission and negotiate original art, offers a venue for hire, and offers some of the finest art in Melbourne, Australia.

Source Credit:  Content and images from Wall Street International Magazine by .  Read the original article -