Artist In Residence is a monthly featured artist. Each month, we profile an artist who creates original artwork for Byline's homepage. Just as we seek to give writers a byline, we seek to give artists space.
Giorgia Ascolani, the multimedia artist with a knack for collage-like video art, is a multipotentialite. Drawing inspiration from the worlds of fashion and music, Giorgia looks to magazines, museums, and of course, tumblr for hits of creativity. "In my mind, I’m a big mish-mash of experiences collected in all three places," she says. "Maybe that’s why I always artistically lean toward collage style." During the pandemic, the artist created collages for Elle magazine, in which she and her sister were the models (imagine running to the newsstand to grab the copies). Read on to learn more about Giorgia's world of collage.
Where did you grow up? How was art integrated into your life in your childhood?
Giorgia: I was born in Milan, but moved to London when I was 6 so I had quite an English upbringing - I went to a rather cerebral all-girls school, rode a double decker bus to school and used to get piercings on Oxford Street on Friday’s after class. At school my teachers thought I wasn't "artsy" so they didn’t allow me to take art as a class. To be fair, I’m terrible at drawing, so it was a relief. My art education came from my Mum whose always been interested in fashion and music. She collected old magazines for years, which I still go back to for inspiration now. I always have that image of my Mum playing fashion show soundtracks as background music when I was little - Maxmara SS 1999 was a particular favourite of my 5 year old self.
Are there any artists or makers who specifically inspired your career as an artist?
Giorgia: Too many!! But I have to say that when I was introduced to Jean-Paul Goude’s work at fashion school, and I saw the cover art for ‘Slave to the Rhythm’ by Grace Jones, it blew my mind - who knew that defacing and cutting imagery up could look so right! Another amazing artist / graphic designer is Jamie Reid. My Mum used to listen to albums produced by Malcolm McLaren a lot growing up, which lead me down the Sex Pistols route, and all the incredible work created around that Punk period - Reid created the most iconic imagery of that era.
For Departures Mag.
How has your art changed over the years?
Giorgia: I'm always trying to elevate and evolve in my work, sometimes it's by going more "retro" with my tools and using actual scissors and scanners, sometimes its by using the most ‘techy’ softwares. I guess I know a few more programmes now so I don’t have to physically move every layer in Photoshop and save 500 jpegs to put together a video! There is still a looot I don’t know, so much new technology, and I like that because it makes me think outside the box. At the moment, I’ve been playing around a bit on Midjourney, trying to see how I can incorporate AI into my work - for now I haven’t quite cracked it, but I’m working on it!
Now, where do you look to for inspiration?
Giorgia: Living in London, there is so much at my doorstep whenever I’m stuck artistically. I love The Royal Academy of Arts - I recently went to the Francis Bacon exhibition and it really stuck with me - one of his triptychs nearly made me cry. I’ve never had that kind of reaction before. I also spend a decent amount of time online - I love looking at Pinterest, Tumblr and sites that champion fellow creatives such as ‘It’s Nice That...’. Finally (this is a very cliche answer), travel. My Dad is Italian and my Mum is a Kiwi so my family was always shuttling between Italy, London and New Zealand growing up, which was a privilege as I’ve always been able to extract inspiration from all three cultures and lifestyles. In my mind, I’m a big mish-mash of experiences collected in all three places - maybe that’s why I always artistically lean toward collage style haha.
What is one or a few projects you’ve worked on that you’re especially proud of?
Giorgia: I spend so much time looking at a screen, and a lot of work I create is for digital purposes, so I get super excited by anything in print. Having a tangible result is really thrilling! One that was particularly fun was a collage done during lockdown for Elle. We couldn’t leave the house, so I used my sister as a model, and we created a whole collage world with her in it. When it came out, we both ran to the newsagent to grab as many copies as we could.
What are you up to when you’re not making things?
Giorgia: Catching up with friends and family! With all my loved ones so spread around, it really is important to keep up with everyone. However, creating things really started as a hobby and it just so happened to become my job, so I still do that in my spare time - my boyfriend works in film and production so we’re often discussing his projects or bouncing ideas off one another. I also love eating and exploring new restaurants - that is a BIG passion of mine haha
When you are making things, what do you need in your creative setting?
Giorgia: Not a lot! As long as I have my laptop and something I can sit on, I’m good! Actually, I also do need music - I love listening to Soulection Radio, or Sasha Marie Radio on Soundcloud and just zoning out and getting into a flow. If I come across a banger, I find it REALLY motivating.
What’s one project you would love to work on in the future?
Giorgia: I would love to work on something that is seen by people who aren’t necessarily in my industry. For example, I would LOVE to do something for the London Underground, like creating the pattern for the seat fabric - imagine how many bums would sit on your art! So cool.
What are you wearing these days?
I go between looking like a Milanese signora, to wearing a lot of Stussy and Aries.
Favorite recently-listened to album?
Frank - Amy Winehouse. Amy forever!!!
Last destination you visited that you loved?
Lisbon - Portugal. Great food, beautiful people!
Little-known favorite food joint?
Sushi Erika in North Miami Beach
Favorite way to find new artists or creatives?