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How They See - Issue #19: Brigitte D’Annibale on salvaging stories from the past to shape stories yet to tell

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Brigitte D'Annibale has the rare ability to skilfully combine things that at first glance doesn't go
 

How They See

November 7 · Issue #19 · View online
How They See will help you to meet artists from all over the globe and understand their perception of art. Published weekly on Saturday.

Brigitte D'Annibale has the rare ability to skilfully combine things that at first glance doesn’t go along with each other. She creates out of them interesting compositions which later turn into art objects fitting perfectly the area they are put into. I was looking at the photos of her art and asked myself why and how, it made me curious.
I got my answers in my talk with Brigitte. Finally, I think that now I fully understand why Brigitte on her website welcomes visitors with the statement: “Art in any form or medium begins with intention”.
You can find more about Brigitte D'Annibale on her website or Instagram.

What is UNTITLED ARTS and how it was born?
Untitled Arts, which has evolved throughout my life, is a multidisciplinary art and design studio focused on creatively driven projects. I have always blurred the lines between art and design as they feed off of each other. My diverse appetite for materials and process’ really reinforce a notion of not wanting to be labelled and put into a box. The studio is a safe haven for all these ideas to incubate. A seamless union where art, life and design intertwine.
“Art is more vital than ever”. It is a very bold statement, can you explain why do you think this way?
To me art is a fundamental thing. It’s about the search for truth and intent that matters. And as artists we have to ask ourselves “what do we have to say?”. At this time we need this more than ever. We need people to question, we need artists that have something to say. Both in a philosophical way but also for inspiration.
Art is how we document our cultural history and this is a monumental time. We’re bombarded with ideas of “real vs. fake” and we all collectively feel it. I like to think of art as little postcards of life that document unspoken stories… shedding light on various perspectives… for me personally it’s always provided hope!
Brigitte D'Annibale in her studio with the work “AM | USEME | NT"
Brigitte D'Annibale in her studio with the work “AM | USEME | NT"
In our modern world, most items have very limited expiry date yet you collect old things and turn them into art. Where does this interest, or artistic recycling, come from?
In my twenties I found myself living on an island after a hurricane had swept through the area. Having no money and no resources I used what I had readily available. These broken pieces of what was. It was devastating but gave me momentum as I started piecing them together. These little artifacts told stories of peoples lives. About this beautiful place that had been destroyed. Creating these little collages brought out the eternal optimist in me - being able to find the beauty in what is not necessarily beautiful.
“Brigitte has an incredible talent for seeing the potential of overlooked or discarded things and spaces”, this quote made me even more curious. What do you find special in them?
I think it’s the artists role to see what is invisible to many people. The medium you chose is nothing more than that, the medium. There is great power in taking things that have no intrinsic values and creating a connection. It forces people to look again and can get an audience past any title or preconceived notion of the ways things are or should be. It can start an entirely new conversation.
Here we are in the pandemic, stripped away from everything familiar and everything we knew. We are finding a new language and rising to the challenge, there is an excitement in that.. a new way of coming together.
Your works, that I had a chance to see on the internet, are mostly large-scale paintings. Why are you choosing such big formats?
With a background in architecture and design, where the land and building are part of my art form, scale has always come naturally. I look at a two acre parcel and think of it as an installation art piece. How the pieces inside a home thread together, how the property will exist within the landscape to form a home. That’s the same way I approach the art.
It starts organically, as all these little pieces coming together. An old piece of fabric, a drawing, discarded materials, bringing them together as a harmonious whole. It naturally grows and that’s the beauty of collage.
Brigitte D'Annibale, UNEXAMINED WORDS
Brigitte D'Annibale, UNEXAMINED WORDS
When I was looking at your work, inevitably I started to think whether do you consider your art as a separate entity or something that belongs to the space it is situated in.
Yes there are times my art exists as an independent entity, this is especially true for painting. But there are of course mixed media pieces I create as installation art. In this process I’m very conscious of the space and architecture: how it will be suspended, ceiling heights, lighting and all the elements that come into play when creating a unique space. It does matter.
In UNEXAMINED WORDS you are exploring the powerful concept of language. Where did your interest in this particular area come from?
It goes back to the search of truth and what we say. Questioning what we believe and why we believe it. It becomes less about language and more about how we convey information. The words people use, they have power and they matter. There is a responsibility that comes with that and it’s diluted when we can no longer trust and believe in what’s being said.
With social media and everything that’s out there it is just this entangled web of language and truth… it can be completely disruptive. At the same time it can build bridges and create beautiful and powerful things. It’s the way we express ourselves.. it’s messy.
In your work AM | USEME | NT you incorporated messages from children around the world. It focused on children facing a different type of isolation in these difficult times. Pandemic brought to our eyes whole spectrum of different issues, what made you focus on this particular aspect?
Being able to share and create with children inspires me and can also help empower and raise their voice. We always see our future in children, and I have always loved mentoring and working with kids. It continues to amaze me how clearly they can see things sometimes. As adults we are conditioned to these messages of hate, fear, division and anger. The beautiful messages from the kids cuts right through this noise. Simple, honest reminders of what really matters.
We exist in this system of constant over stimulation and mindless distraction, designed for our amusement. But at what cost? When we strip away everything and are spending more times with our family in isolation I think it gives us all a chance to see things more clearly. As we’re trying to imaging a world that will never be like we knew it, to experience it through a child’s perspective and ask what are they going through?
Brigitte D'Annibale in her studio
Brigitte D'Annibale in her studio
What inspires you?
Challenge and adversity. The unknown. When I strip it all away during the hardest times, when you have to dig deep and push the limits of your own boundaries, that’s when I’m really alive.
I don’t like anything all the time and I thrive in diversity and change.. that would be my best answer.. because I hope to constantly grow and evolve. There is no one static thing that is an inspiration. The search for truth is always changing. Whatever I’m inspired by is what I express and that changes frequently.
Can you give some advice to any self-taught artist or designer?
Spend time getting to know who you are. What do you have to say? You are expressing yourself - you have to have a self to express… if that makes sense. To create great art you have to have a vision and have something to say.. and get as much experiences in as many different things as you can.
What is your favorite color?
I’ve never really thought of colors as singular. It’s all about how they interact together and the play of complimentary tones so I couldn’t pick one. Color to me is a mood. Like asking what is your favourite food or wine?.. It’s dependent on a feeling. It’s the same with color. An abstraction that elicits emotion and response.
Thank you for reading my art newsletter! 🙏
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Have a great week!
Piotr
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