On Saturday 04/05 we hosted From Fashion Ad To Protest with artist Naomi Vona. This is the second workshop Naomi has done for us in-store. We sat down with her to discuss how she started out hosting workshops, her particular style and the products she uses.
When did you first start teaching workshops?
I started in 2017, thanks to a collaboration with MT, the Japanese washi tape that I often use for my art. The UK official reseller offered me the opportunity to run events for them. After this first experience, I started to ask around if I could run some creative sessions on my own. I have been lucky to be part of different designer/makers markets and art fairs (Urban Makers, Crafty Fox, The Affordable Art Fair, etc.) where I had my workshops. I also started to have my event sessions in art shops as well, and I am still keeping these collaborations up and running.
Where did the idea for from fashion ad to protest come from?
This idea came up around 2002, while I was a design student in Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan. I liked the “power” of doodling over fashion magazines, and to completely switch the meaning of these posh portraits. I initially wanted to transform the models into some sort of monsters and other fearful creatures. I left this project on hold for several years, and decided bring it back to life in 2018, in conjunction with an Instagram challenge called “100 days project”. My project (called “100 days of lies”), was to alter one page per day of a fashion magazine, switching completely the meaning of the original ads. The project was also a good way to talk about socio-political topics that matters to me, and to discuss about the role of women in contemporary society. Once I started to share the project online, I received a lot of positive feedback, so I started to think about something to do with it. A few months later “From Fashion Ad To Protest” workshop was born, in order to bring this project outside the social media platforms, and to create an open discussion “face to face” with everyone interested in taking part on this creative sessions. I am pretty happy to see so much interest in this workshop, and I am trying to keep it up and running with at least a monthly session. Hopefully I will be able to bring this event outside London and UK soon. Fingers crossed!
How did you learn your techniques?
My particular technique was developed in 2013, when I moved from Italy to Dublin. I have always been fascinated by altering found images, and I collected a lot of vintage pictures over the years too. I just needed to find a way to use all these old photos, because collecting them was not enough. So I started to doodle over them using pens, stickers and tape. Once I started, I immediately felt that this was the right way to express myself, and I didn’t want to stop anymore. During these years I also worked on different found images as LP covers, vintage paper and magazines. In these last months I am also starting to work on personal self portraits, bringing a contemporary switch to my classic technique. Despite the use of 'new paper', my style has not changed that much.
What are your favourite products to use?
I truly love Posca, because they are the perfect marking pens. They really write over any kind of paper. I also love Sakura gel pens, because they keep their brightness over vintage or found paper, and they are perfect to make fine line decorations. The mt tape is of course my favourite one, it’s a high quality product that allows you to “paint” using tape, it’s phenomenal! I also love to use round stickers, the common colourful office ones.
We are looking forward to hosting more workshops with Naomi Vona in future.