Naima Morelli

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Tag "creativity"

artshub15

Carving out time to work on creative projects doesn’t require an artist’s residency. A staycation is cheaper, simpler and focuses attention where you need it. My new piece “Take a creative staycation” looks at this fascinating trend and has just been published Australian/Uk webmagazine ArtsHub.

Here’s the link to the piece

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busking

Aussie magazine Birdee has just published a personal essay piece of mine. It was good fun to write – and it’s still about art, in a way. It’s the tragicomic account of my super-short busking career in Melbourne: “With a full set of paints and an open mind, Naima Morelli took to the streets of Melbourne to try her hand at busking. Three hours later…”

Here’s the link to the piece

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zevola3
I don’t now if your grandmother ever had a garden, and in that garden she used to keep palms, bamboos and other tropical plants. Imagine yourself sitting in a corner of the porch after a good grandma-style lunch. The November sun behind the vegetation transforms the leaves into mysterious green neon lights and makes the bark of threes shine like silver. You may call it a Sunday afternoon enchantment, you may call it Refulgenzia. In that moment you can even expect a tiger jumping out from behind a terracotta pot – which of course, now looks like a column from some Bengalese temple. It’s the exact same feeling that Paolo Conte – the Italian musician – so well depicted in his song Azzurro: “Cerco un pò d’Africa in giardino, tra l’oleandro e il baobab” (“I’m looking for a bit of Africa in my garden, between the oleander and the baobab”). It’s about looking for the exotic in the familiar and the familiar in the exotic. In contemporary art not many artists are able to convey that. Oreste Zevola does it.

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There is a mesmerizing Patti Smith’s song I used to listen to when I was in my teens. It’s called “Land” and tells – in a very surreal way – the story of this guy called Johnny. Since the chord progression wasn’t too complicatedly, I quickly learned to play it on the guitar. There was a particular line that made me pretty excited when I sang it. It was “I hold the key to the sea of possibilities”.

When I was seventeen I had a number of small abilities, but very little how-to knowledge.
My guitar practice alone branched off into my folk Neapolitan repertoire, my intimate Carla Bruni-like songs and my love for punk rock. These three aesthetics were not conflicting to me. That was confirmed by reading on a magazine that Norah Jones also had a punk band. I thought, if she does it, why I shouldn’t? (Well, if you have ever heard me singing and playing, the answer is pretty straightforward).

Way before I would learn the position for a E chord, I was making been comic books. Since I was born, I have never stopped drawing and creating stories. As often happens, I started making comic books since I was in high school and my school mates were my first readers. Never in my life I considered to stop that. Then of course, there was the writing. I was that annoying kid asked by the teacher to stand up and read her essay out loud. I didn’t really like to do that, mostly because my pulp Tarantino-confronts-Romero-on-the-theme-of-abortion like essays were meant to be read with a little verve. Which I completely lacked of . Anyways, at eighteen I started writing for an art magazine and a number of rock and general publications. Around the same time, I started covering every blank spot I could find in the city with graffiti. Man, that was real fun!

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glory1

When it comes to creative jobs in general – and jobs in contemporary art in particular – the word “work” often assumes nuanced meanings.
After all work is not supposed to be fun. It has to be a daily ordeal, something that drains off your love for life, fades the colours around you and makes food tasteless.
Well, I think that today, more than ever, that is simply not true.
If you are into Brain Pickings, TED Talks, School of Life & similaria just like I am – and you probably are since you stumbled on this blog – you listen to people spurring you to make a business out of your passion every day. Nothing seems to be impossible in the era of internet. The sheer fact of owning a computer opens up a myriad of resources and possibilities.

Yet once again I hear people in contemporary art industry saying “Obviously with this project we are not interested in making any profit. We are doing that for the glory.” What followed is usually a resigned nodding: “That’s the way it is.”
The glory? What the hell, I thought, we are talking of contemporary art! If you are in for the glory, you better choose something a little more mainstream. Contemporary art gave fame and glory to very few people. The majority of these people are just a handful of artists, the rest are Hans Ulrich Obrist and Achille Bonito Oliva. Full stop. You may worship Palma Bucarelli (the late charming director of Rome’s National Gallery from 1942 al 1975) just like I do. But you also have to acknowledge that she’s pretty niche. Niche to the point she doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page in English. The best part is that I don’t think she would care about having a Wikipedia page either. She was not in for the glory; working in a museum was her job and it was a real respectable job, the kind that pays the bills – and in her case all those glamorous dresses as well.

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Productivity and Bohemia are concepts which are seldom associated.
You have to admit though that having grown up reading Sartre and Simone the Beauvoir – or at least having seen the pictures – you are not immune to the charms of café.

Every city has is own aesthetic when comes to cafés.
Not everyone is snob enough to live in Paris and go to the Café De Flore – whom has turned into an established place for loaded folks anyways.
What it is left to us is send to hell the Café De Flore, and create our own, well… café mythology.

If you live in Rome you certainly know the cafés Canova and Rosati in Piazza del Popolo.
During the sixties these two cafés gathered the so called “artists from Piazza del Popolo”, but now Canova and Rosati are the equivalent of the ultrachic cafés in Saint Germain, Paris.
Sure, it is always cool to pass by Piazza del Popolo and say hi to the Italian dandy artist Ontani– last time I checked he had a permanent permit to be parked at Canova – yet these cafés are too posh for us.
Same things with the cafés in Via Veneto, once Antonioni, Mastroianni and Fellini’s reign.

You have to consider as well that in Italy there is this tradition of kicking you out if you take too long to sip your coffee.
If you are in Rome and you are a writer looking for a place to read and write quietly, you will be likely accepted in some cosy and shabby-chic looking cafés in Via Giulia, Pigneto or San Lorenzo.
You can start to create your own café mythology from there.

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