Interview with street artist Simoni Fontana
Simoni Fontana is an artist based in Greece. Her style is characterized by an almost childlike innocence and is equally effective on tiny canvases as it is on giant murals. Her references draw from Japanese iconography, manga, filtered through a sensitive western outlook and her personal aesthetics, dictated by pop surrealism.
Fragile and dreamy, the trademark female characters contain traits of the artist, both morphologically and emotionally, thus abstractly hinting to self-portraiture. Opting for absence of extra adornment and simplified characteristics, Simoni uses the bare minimums to tell a story. Despite their aloof naivety, the works have a positively adult undercurrent, touching upon feelings and issues belonging to the grown up world. There is a mystifying element about them, embodying the sum of human interaction, emotions and dreams, and eventually the end of innocence.
We at Kingdome had the pleasure to get to know more about the artwork of Simoni Fontana
When did it all begin? How did you first become interested in street art/graffiti?
Painting has been a major part of my life, ever since my early years. It seems almost as part of my DNA. I remember always immersing myself into the world of colors and textures, constantly trying to explore new ways of making use of media, trying to express myself through this fascinating exercise. My interest in street art however, developed through my relationship with my partner-in-crime, Argiris Ser. It was he who showed me a new perspective in art that instantly appealed to me and seemed like the perfect outlet for my creative pursuits.
Where did the name come from?
It is my real name.
What gave you that initial push to be a street artist?
The feeling of freedom and the way in which the street gives access to art and, if I may say, a new prospective of democracy in art.
How do you describe the style of your pieces?
My references draw from Japanese iconography and manga filtered through a sensitive western outlook and my personal aesthetics dictated by pop-surrealism. Full of female energy, this fantasy word inside my mind is a fragile and dreamy wonderland overflowed with emotion.
Which artist is your biggest inspiration?
Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your artwork?
Like most kids of my generation, I grew up watching Japanese cartoons and reading comics. That style of art had a huge influence in the early years of my life. Some time later, I came in contact with the movement of pop-surrealism and I realized that it was very close to the kind of art that I was creating at that time.
What are your sources of inspiration these days?
My newborn nephew. He is pure like an angel and when you are with him, the only feeling is pure love.
What do your pieces usually focus on?
Female energy. Sometimes, I feel like it’s really missing from the streets.
What would you say is or was your greatest challenge?
To be happy and to do what I love most.
Can you tell us something about your process? How long does it take from beginning to end to create a painting?
I usually have a standard classic routine: first the sketch and then the colors.
Time really depends on the project itself. It might take a day or two or even a whole month.
What were some of the challenges that you faced in the process?
The size and deadlines.
Are you generally satisfied with your finished pieces?
While I’m painting, I feel like it isn’t good enough for me to let it go. When I finish, I love it and then eventually get bored of it.
Does music play a big role while your working or do you need a quite environment?
Yes, music is really important to me.
If you do listen to music while working what is the one track that would usually be on repeat?
Last week I constantly listened to Amy Winehouse.
Do you have a formal art education?
My background is in art restoration.
Do you feel that you are benefitting from it?
I think it has offered me a lot. It’s helping me get an alternative perspective and a more in-depth understanding and appreciation of artwork.
Has your work ever been exhibited?
How do you feel about the transition of graffiti into galleries?
Things have changed for the movements of graffiti and street art in the last few years. Street art is now renowned as a major global art movement. For those reasons, I consider this passage into galleries a normal next step. Personally, I would like to stay in the immediacy that this art form has: the way we communicate messages and emotions to the viewer.
Would you rather paint alone or do you prefer collaborations?
Have you ever collaborated with other artists?
Apart from my individual artistic identity, there is a cooperative part that equally defines me as an artist. I work together with my official art partner, Argiris Ser, as often as I can. It is something that on top of being really enjoyable, helps us evolve artistically. We inspire each other on our cooperative projects. Whether we are working on a painting or on a wall, we try to reach out to each other and the results mirror both of us creatively. It is a meeting of expressions.
Are there any issues regarding graffiti that particularly engage you? Any messages you wish to convey to your viewers?
If you are spray painting, always wear mask. Enjoy life!
For more artwork follow Simoni on Facebook