Elisa Rossi came to realize that art shapes you as much as you shape her.
Interview by our author Asia Radko. Text is given without edition and reflects the real spirit of dialogue.
Eliza Rosie is an extraordinary woman who can help people to love themselves.
Her life was filled with danger, and she was overcome with problems. I like strong people, and Eliza is the kind of person who has revived courage. She forgot about stereotypes and changed her life. She began to fight for the right to be herself. And she won. She became an artist who gives everyone the best she can — her own art.
Asia: Okay, first of all, we would like to know more about you. Can you tell us about yourself? We know you are an artist, but we don`t know about your personally, and we must correct this mistake. Why did you choose the path of artist? When did you start painting?
Eliza: Hi, thank you for showing interest in my art practice and into my story.
Art was my very first passion, since I have memories. I have been drawing and painting since I was 5. It started as a spontaneous burst of emotions. I didn’t know though why art was so necessary to me. It took me 25 years to become aware of it. I didn’t go to an art college. When I was 17 something terrible happened and I lost touch with my inner self, with whom I really was. I also experienced total isolation and lack of emotional support around me. I was broken in million pieces and to be honest it is a miracle that I survived.
As a consequence of a life threatening experience I shortchanged myself. I thought I wasn’t enough and I wasn’t deserving of following what I loved. I ended up opting for an International Relations Master’s degree as it seemed to offer employment opportunities and it was a type of choice that would not be as unacceptable as art studies for my family. I am grateful for having had a chance to graduate and to collect highly formative working experiences in different countries(I worked in Belgrade, Berlin, Brussels). One’s true calling and ‘soul-mark ‘ never stops asking for attention until it is honored though.
I developed a dissociation disorder cause I was living a life that wasn’t mine and I felt that I had to be an artist, just didn’t know how to drag myself out of layers of this other life I was living and of the perceptions that others had of me.
After I lost my father in 2013 without a chance to say goodbye, I had a relapse into darkness and I couldn’t keep it together any longer.
I left Belgium and went back to my hometown in Italy with the hope of finding a more supportive environment.
It turned out to be a poor choice. I attempted suicide in 2015. After that I can say my life started. For real.
The moment you realize how fragile life is, how limited our time is here on this planet, it is easier to pursue your passion and dreams. That’s when my artistic expression exploded.
All that I learnt during my early years was preserved and what I added to it was a quite intense baggage of life experiences that have been informing my art practice and how I translate subconsicius mind states into artistic form.
Art is my ultimate Deus ex machina, the equalizer that I will always be grateful for and that I’ll keep on explore till I live.
Someone like me, with piled up traumas and daily struggle with self regulation and emotional balance can survive only through art: by making art, studying other artists’ art, surrounding myself with highly sensitive people.
I am aware of how many people go through traumatic and life threatening experiences every day and of how many of them struggle with PTSD and have no support, ending up alienated or, worst scenario, taking their lives.
I hope that by having the courage of pursuing the art path (not easy at all!) and by showing reverence for life through creativity I can offer some help to others who might benefit from it.
Asia: Your paintings are perfect. How do you birth your ideas for each one?
Eliza: With respect to my paintings, each one is unique. I have 40 pieces and they belong to different collections. For instance, the first collection ‘Organizing Chaos’ includes paintings that are born out of emotional states that were not controllable with the logical mind and needed to be liberated subconsciously. That’s why they tend more towards abstraction than figuration. I think I didn’t want their content to be identifiable. They are what I don’t/can’t talk about.
The second collection ‘People’and the third collection ‘A third way, alchemy’ reflect an improvement in my own perception of reality and a more balanced emotional state.
I started to paint portraits inspired by some amazing artists I met in LA and I became friends with. Several portraits have as subject L.P. and her fiancee Lauren Ruth Ward who are the most beautiful souls I could have met here and encouraged me all the way since the beginning.
I expanded my interest towards all people around me who inspire me. Other artists, a girl that worked at Starbucks, friends.
In my third collection, that started with the piece ‘Magma’ I combined the two worlds. I express my dreamlike states together with figurative art. I have been focusing mostly on the female body, musicians and musical instruments, nature. In my most of my artworks you can also see in the background recurring cartoonish characters. They emerge spontaneously while I draw and paint. They demand to be there in a way hahah 🙂
Asia: We know you had an exhibition this week. Can you tell me more about it? How long did you prepare arts for it? And if you have any upcoming exhibitions, I’d love to know about them.
Eliza: Thank for noticing that I had a group show last week! It was amazing, I am very grateful and honored to have been added to the show by Wonzimer gallery. The show is open to public viewing for other 2 weeks in DTLA. 621 S Olive St, Los Angeles.
Wonzimer hosted my debut solo show in Los Angeles last June, 2019. We grew up organically and developed a friendship beside the artistic collaboration.
I feel that my message as an artist is deeply understood by Wonzimer and by the people that attend their shows.
It is not easy to show your art in a town with so many accomplished, talented artists.
Therefore, again, I am very grateful to keep on building my relationship with Wonzimer, a gallery that is standing out in Los Angeles for giving a voice to undiscovered artists and to any creative who has a strong, authentic message to share and maybe can’t count on the network of an alumni’s or family support.
Asia: What is the main idea of your work? What do you feel when you create each piece?
Eliza: How do I feel when I create a new work..
Well, while I create I feel great. The feelings that drive to the beginning of the process though are extremely diverse.
Sometimes I cultivate a vision for weeks and I wait patiently until I am sure of what I want to do. Sometimes I am very sad and lonely and I feel better only if I create. Sometimes rejections of any kind fuel more creativity because it’s like art is the only refuge and ally and I want it to stay with me no matter what external feedbacks are.
Asia: Can you say a bit more about your art career? In this day in age, realizing a career in art is difficult path to be successful in. Explain why you chose this path?
Eliza: The odds are against you for sure when you are an artists. That’s why you have to do it because you love it unconditionally (and art loves you unconditionally too!), not for success or validation.
You have to always juggle with side jobs and have to accept inevitable uncertainty.
No matter how hard it is, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. What art made available for me has no comparison. The way that art enriches your human experience and deepens your inner investigation is priceless and precious.
That’s why it’s good to find like minded friends and other artists because there are says when you will feel terrible and need someone who understands to tell that it’ll be ok and never stop doing what you do. That’s what got me going to be honest during very hard times. Even strangers that text you how moved they were by your art and why it is important to keep on going.
Asia: Do you remember your first painting? What was it?
Eliza: The first painting that I have memory of goes back to when I was in elementary school in Italy and I entered a contest. We had to make portraits of elderly who survived World War II. I think that from the very beginning I wanted to capture stories of courage and beauty with my art.
Asia: Do you have any plans to exhibit abroad?
Eliza: I was invited to participate to a few shows in Milan but to be honest I couldn’t cover the expenses. For now I am happy to take baby steps here in Los Angeles. In the future I would love to have the chance to be a resident artist or showing my art abroad. I am open to locations!
Asia: How do you see art evolving in the coming decades with the introduction of technologies such as digital painting?
Eliza: I don’t think that digital painting is a threat or a rival to art. I accept its relevance and it’s easier preservation. I love David Hockney’s digital drawing that he paints on his ipad.
Nevertheless I don’t think that the two mediums are comparable. The sensorial components of painting or drawing (the smell of paint or charcoal, the texture of paper, the tactile relationship between artist and medium) are too dear to me. I love all of the process. Even cleaning the brushes is a sort of mindfulness practice.
Under my personal perception digital paint stays to traditional paint as dating A.I. stays to dating a human being.
Asia: What advice can you give to emerging artists?
Eliza: My message to beginning artists would be to be so bold in the purse of what burns in their heart that nothing can stop them.
Follow what ignites you because that’s your path. What you love, loves you too. I would also like to add that mostly we refer to art as the product and to us, artists, as the makers.
I came to realize that art shapes you as much as you shape her. She will reveal truths that you would have never understand otherwise. What makes us humans and connects us to all that is is our heart. Never let anyone make you feel that your message is not worth it. You are worth it. Your truth is valid and is sacred. Each of us is unique and has a special gift to share with the whole.
Thank you again for the chance of speaking my truth.