As part of The Vision Project we took time to talk to our wonderful participants. In this series which we have called PEOPLE OF VISION, we explore how they came to join in with The Vision Project and what they have taken away from it.
Today we speak to the wonderful Carla Scarano D'Antonio who is a writer and all round creative individual creating all forms of art. Read on below for her interesting thoughts about The Vision Project.
1. How did you first hear of The Vision Project?
I heard about the Vision Project from Hannah Bruce. She posted the link on Facebook
promoting the painting workshops at her studio in Knaphill. I like Hannah’s work, so I
thought it was a good opportunity to learn more from her teaching.
2. And what made you attend the Acrylic paint part of The Vision Project?Taking part in the acrylic painting sessions of the Vision Project was a fresh way to join a group and learn more about the project and also have the opportunity to experiment new ways of painting. I have been painting for a long time on and off, attending workshops at artists’ studios, at Adult Colleges and Universities and with the Woking Art Society, but there is always something new to learn and experiment especially looking at the work of other artists.
3. How did you find the workshop?
The workshop was brilliant. We were introduced to the music and the dance and Hannah also showed us how she responded to the performance. I found her picture very interesting with soft tone of colours and strong marks. We had so many different materials available, not only acrylics but also soft pastels, charcoal, pencils and watercolours. We could experiment in different techniques, look at each other’s work and get new ideas.
4. What did the dance and music inspire you to create?
The music and the dance inspired me to create three sketches. They are very different one from the other. Two are abstract kind of pieces and one is more figurative; it represents a tree with expanding branches and a big red heart in the middle. I imagined the tree alive as the lyrics of the song say. The dance gave me a sense of resilience in a world that is changing. We resist negative events with our presence and movement trying to make sense of what happens around us and looking for a possible harmony. The dance gave me the impression that we can find this harmony.
5. What do you do outside of the painting workshop creatively?
I have been a foreign language teacher in my working life and my academic degrees are in English, in Italian literature and in Creative Writing. I also completed a PhD in English literature on Margaret Atwood’s work. I feel that my academic work goes together with my creative side. I write poetry and regularly read my poems at open mics, mostly online after the pandemic. I self-published a pamphlet, A Winding Road, in 2011 and my fist collection, Negotiating Caponata was published by Dempsey & Windle in 2020. At the same time, I carry on with my artistic work creating different kinds of products from paintings in oil, acrylics and watercolours to drawings, cards, textiles, embroidery and crochet. I regularly display my artwork in exhibitions organised by Woking Art Society and I am part of SAOS (Surrey Artists Opens Studios).
6. A little nightingale tells me that you have been working for a PhD - that is very interesting, what made you want to study for that?
Yes, that’s right! I completed my PhD in April 2021 in English Literature on Margaret
Atwood’s work at the University of Reading. The graduation ceremony was postponed
because of the Covid Pandemic and I am attending it at the end of June. The PhD coursewas an enthralling period. I was so lucky to have the opportunity to study one of the best writers ever for three years. The thesis was about intertextuality, that is, how different texts interweave with the main text. For example, Margaret Atwood often refers to ancient myths and fairy tales in her works; she discusses them and often gives different interpretations of the stories. I am still working on Margaret Atwood and taking part in conferences presenting my papers and publishing articles on her work on Canadian journals. Margaret Atwood’s approach is so innovative especially from a woman’s point of view. The protagonists of her novels suggest new ways of thinking about their roles in society and new ways of reading old stories.
7. What have you taken away from the acrylics workshop experience?
The acrylic workshop with Hannah was an incredible experience that merged music with visual art, something that I rarely do and so it was new for me. In my paintings I am usually inspired by what I see around me or in photos, pictures of other painters or events. The piece of music of the vision project was so involving that I couldn’t help but respond to it. The other thing that I liked in the workshop was the opportunity to experiment with different media and compare my work with the other people in the group.
8. What would you say to others who would like to join a workshop such as the acrylic painting one you recently attended?
Just go and feel free to do whatever you like. Create your piece and try again and again until you feel comfortable and happy with your work. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but it is important that you like it and that it expresses who you are. And have fun!
9. You have so many wonderful examples of your art online - why is creating art so important to you?
I have produced artwork and creative work for a long time. It is part of my life, something that I cannot help but doing. I like my teaching work as well (I work as a teaching assistant in a special need school in Woking at the moment), especially the contact with students, but I also need to release my creativity in some way. It is liberating.
10. For anyone who would like to discover your art and your writings - what is the best website to see them on?
They can visit my website where there are links to my blog and there is my email address as well. They can also visit my open studio and the exhibitions organised by the Woking Art Society. I am on social media as well; the links are on my website too.
Thank you so much for chatting with us Carla, we look forward to seing more of your work. Until next time,
Emma and The Vision Project team