Artist Interviews 2022
By Laura Siebold
Nina Barnini has chosen Italy as her artistic playground. She only started creating her femmecollages in the midst of the pandemic, and has since gained lots of support and recognition from the art world. In her interview, Nina tells us about the poetry inside every woman, about the importance of creating intuitively, and her choice of medium and materials. Her artwork, which she calls “visual poetry”, is a collection of the mystery of life, emotions, and love. Nina tells us about the community of collagists and her plans for the future.
Nina Barnini is based in Pisa, Italy.
You use your artistic talent to capture the beauty, and fragmentation of female lives. Which work are you are most proud of to this day and why?
I have so many collages and love them all so much. But when I saw your question, I remembered one collage that was made a very long time ago. This collage is so much about me and what i believe in this life. There is the figure of a girl walking along the seashore. And you can see the face of Mona Lisa through her image. Mona Lisa for me is a hymn to the mystery which lives inside any woman. She is image of the immortality of the female soul and beauty. This collage is so simple and so beautiful with this idea. Walking throug life with a feeling of a mystery inside. An immortal soul on a journey is what I believe in and this is “the answer” for me for any big questions.
We are curious about your background. Where did you grow up and when did you first start creating art?
Honestly, I’m not an artist with my education but collages let me feel like an artist. I started making and show my collages one year and three months ago. At that moment, my second daughter was born, she was about a month old. You know, the first year with a child can be very difficult for a mother who is constantly immersed in a routine and limited in her freedom. Therefore, I really wanted to come up with something for myself to inspire and support myself every day. So I decided to start my own Instagram account and post my collages on it. And to make it interesting for others, I decided to make it as a challenge to myself to create a new collage every day. And since then, every day I post a new collage. And It’s still like WOW for me because I can do it. It's really very cool. I started from zero and now I have over 10,000 followers. I’m receiving so much support and compliments from my followers. Perhaps my story will inspire someone who, like me, feels like an artist inside, but is afraid to start. You just need to start to create and to show your works.
Your work is centered on women. What was the reason behind making women the focus of your work?
I just love the poetry which there is inside every woman. Using the images of the women for me is the way to express this poetry without words. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s more about my intuition and my feelings about it. Of course, sometimes I also use images of men to express my feelings about male energy. But the woman, at the moment, is the key theme in my collages.
Have you ever thought about portraying members of the LGBTQ+ group as part of your work, as well?
For now I didn’t use this theme in my collages.
Your portraits of women are juxtaposed with buildings and inanimate objects, or feature traces of another human being. What is the method you use to put your femmecollages together?
I’m in love making paper collages. Every time I don’t know what I’ll get, I just search for my collages on my table, experimenting with pictures. It’s a simple way for me to find a stronger connection with my soul, because I create them intuitively, focusing more on my feelings in the process, than on my mind. And I love these feelings when I find something really beautiful in the process of these experiments.
Now I’m making many digital collages as well cause they are saving my time. But I love paper much more. My house is full of magazines and old books, which bought especially to make collages with them.
When did you create your first femmecollage? What is the message behind your art and how do you translate your view of the world into visual images?
I think that women have always been in my collages. You know I never think about some message before making my collages. But most of the time messages arrive by themself. I just find them inside the magic of connecting pictures which together create new meanings and new beauty. And I love so much the metaphors that arise from this simple connection. I think most of them [are] about the simple beauty of life, about sensitivity, about femininity, about the mystery of a human being that everybody keeps inside, about deep emotions, about love... I’m calling my collages visual poetry. And I like that everyone can find their own meanings in my collages. Meanings that are sometimes impossible to put into words, but can be felt.
Which role do color, shadows, and layers play in your work?
Colors, shadows, composition, layers, lines… every detail is really really important for me. Like I said before, I never learned about it. But thanks to my inner sensitivity, I can find the perfect combinations intuitively. I just FEEL when the collage is done. Or I feel that something needs to be changed. I always trust my inner instinct and my inner understanding of beauty. And I experiment a lot to improve.
Which has been your favorite gallery to exhibit your art so far? What have you learned from the interactions with visitors and viewers of your art?
For now I have only one gallery which is my instagram account @nina.barnini. And I’m so thankful for this. I receive beautiful comments and words about my art every day. And it supports me to continue my challenge.
Have you ever collaborated with other artists throughout your career? What was that experience like? Elaborate.
Instagram has a very large international community of collagists. It was a big discovery for me when I started. There are so many wonderful and talented people who are in love with making collages. And there are international challenges that bring collagists together to participate in common projects. For example, such as @februllage or @pariscollagecollective and many others. For me, every time it’s very inspiring to participate and see so many talented works connected by one theme.
In your opinion – what defines the madness of beauty of contemporary life and how does the artist become a part of this?
I believe that very often the art is medicine for our soul which makes us feel deeply, to be alive and to be more connected with our emotions, conscious and subconscious. I believe this is the best component of art and beauty in general. But of course, art and artists can have many other important additional functions in this world.
Can you tell us a little about future projects? What is the ultimate goal you want to achieve as an artist?
I hope one day I will be able to exhibit my collages in a beautiful offline gallery. It would be a very interesting experience for me. And of course, I would like to continue my development in this direction, to learn new techniques and create new beautiful collages that will delight my viewers.