Obsessed with drawing, in all its forms. She experimented with all aspects of it, from graphite pencils and powders to charcoal. Using very hard pencils with very long tips, and soft graphite sticks, and I play a lot with powders applied with dry brushes and mixed with water and glue. ” It’s like using drawing and graphite for a layered work of a totally pictorial type, but without losing the very direct and immediate freshness of drawing. “, says Antonella is known as Lantomo- 童木 which sounds like Lan Tong Mu and translates as “blue boy wood”.
Which kept the artist in a certain anonymity and mystery. All her life she has drawn exclusively faces and bodies, being incapable of devoting herself to a landscape or a still life. A portrait presents a solitary and individual image, which starts a dialogue with the viewer. The process starts with a digital sketch, consisting of a photo of the model, taken by the artist or requested directly from the individual. In other cases, combine several images of faces to get exactly the expression and posture she is looking for.
” In this sketch, I also combine other elements and coloured backgrounds to make several tests before starting. Once I have precisely defined the image I want, the artisan work of many hours of drawing begins. The support on which I work is paper glued to a wooden panel. I start working in layers and slowly increasing the shades.” explained Lantomo. She works with layers of water and glue to consolidate the graphite and to be able to continue darkening the tones and reinforcing the shadows at will.
The background appears for the last, whether they are acrylic paint or charcoal and graphite powder in gradients. Antonella’s work reflects the juxtaposition of women’s roles in modern day society as well as their iconic representation in art history. Moving between the boundaries of painting and graphic design, inspired by images suggested from the fashion and advertising worlds to those of the most classic art history. Silhouettes and symbols taken from street art are part of the artist’s language representing personal experiences.
“I’m inspired by the iconography of traditional Asian drawings, especially Chinese and Japanese while trying to avoid excessive. My characters have neutral expressions, hard to penetrate, that don’t fully share their feelings. It is the external gaze that discovers the hidden secrets and the details of the women portrayed in reflexive and contradictory moments”. The intention is to reveal an internal storm, the inner psychology hidden behind stereotypes and social burdens. The fragility in Lantomo’s subjects contrasts with the female strength and rage that hovers beneath the surface of her girls. She frequently hides the features portrayed with urban symbolism, childish innocence, and protest iconography, to symbolise the layers that often hide reality. “My subjects are mainly female, proud, and powerful”.
Written By Filip Adamczewski