by ANNE JANO (It)
Multidisciplinary artist Elisabetta Fantone launched her career as a reality television personality on Loft Story in 2006. The established visual artist and actor demonstrated creative abilities from a young age. Today, she has celebrity clients such as the Kardashians and Celine Dion, and her artwork is displayed around the world. Panoram Italia sat down with Fantone when she made a public appearance at Gallery 203 in Old Montreal.
Can you describe the process of creating a piece of art?
First of all, I paint portraits of people who inspire me. It can be their music or their work, but I need a stimulus that comes from what the person has accomplished. Then, I start researching. I look at pictures of them and analyze their clothes and surroundings, and look for images that speak to me. Finally, for the backgrounds, I like to paint something that fits the personality of the person. For example, Twiggy’s portrait has a very ’60s vibe, which really speaks to me. I love that era. Also, I tend to paint at night and listen to music while my husband and child are sleeping. It’s the only way I don’t get distracted and can concentrate.
You were born in Montreal but raised in Italy. What’s your fondest memory of living in Italy?
My home! It’s located in a small village in Incoronata, Macchiagodena (Isernia), Molise. I have fond memories of the house we lived in. In fact, we still own it. I haven’t been in a few years but I would love to bring my daughter there. My room there looks exactly the same as when I was a child, and it’s a special feeling to go back. Also, I love Florence. It’s my favourite city. There is so much art, history and architecture – it’s just so beautiful.
As a vegan, what is your favourite Italian dish to make?
I make a killer risotto (laughs). I love mushrooms and like to include them in my cuisine. I also make really good gnocchi. I learned by myself. When I was younger, my mom wanted to teach me but I was really stubborn. Now, I am proud of cooking vegan Italian dishes.
How do you connect with your Italian roots?
Many of my friends are from Italy. I live in Miami and a lot of Italians live there. It’s great to speak Italian with them and keep in touch with my heritage. Also, I only speak Italian to my two-year-old daughter. We want her to learn French, English and Italian!
What would you like the public to know about your work as an artist that is often misunderstood?
When I started, I was told (from publicists and people in the industry) that I could not have multiple careers as an artist. I received constant negative feedback. Today, I have success in various artistic careers and I want to inspire people to do what they want, as I did. Now, more than ever, it’s definitely possible.
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