Art | January 21, 2023 |

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Image courtesy of Flavia Lovatelli

Featured artist
Flavia Lovatelli

I am a Columbia, SC based artist, my work is created with strips of recycled paper collected from magazines, flyers and papers found in my daily life. I am intrigued by the colors and textures in everyday printed matter. Coiling is a very tedious and time-consuming process, it takes countless hours to roll enough strips of magazine pages into coils to create anything of substance. It is an intuitive and ongoing visual experiment.

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Image courtesy of Flavia Lovatelli

Each piece begins with a fleeting idea that comes by chance. My mindset is programmed to think paper, circular coils and the natural evolution of the product used. Like a puzzle, the composition evolves one piece at a time. I continue to cut, roll and otherwise manipulate possible elements, making decisions about what works and what is needed next to complete the composition, balance, movement, and growth.

I am a sustainable artist with a compulsion to create unique visual stories that tie us together through discarded materials. My inspiration comes from the salvaged material that finds its way to me, the shape and color inspire the work to be had. The material itself dictates the direction it wants to go and I know it is done when all pieces feel they are in harmony. I consider my work finished when I see a good balance in play between all the pieces, a dance frozen in motion.

Image courtesy of Flavia Lovatelli

Image courtesy of Flavia Lovatelli

Image courtesy of Flavia Lovatelli

Image courtesy of Flavia Lovatelli

Image courtesy of Flavia Lovatelli

Some people would consider me a workaholic, but I disagree. A workaholic by definition works, I create, play, and exult. The word work has a bad connotation to it, people react to that word negatively, I love working. Working to me is not taxing, it’s meditative, it’s rewarding, whatever the job may be. I make all work a game. If the work at hand is a taxing one I challenge myself to continue one piece at a time. The production of the paper pieces is my favorite part, may they be the coils, quills, peaks or twirls; the task is cathartic, peaceful, and meditative.

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Image courtesy of Flavia Lovatelli

At the completion of any given piece, I see my past and my present. I reflect on shared experiences with my mother and my creative family. My spirit is constantly reflected in my work, where I inject myself into my work and become a part of it. I don’t have a favourite color, I love them all, but I seem to favor the purity of white white comes to me as a dictionary or bible and they are both plenty to be found landing at my doorstep.

I am inspired by organic shapes found in nature, and the structures I create are made with organic materials, paper & wood, they more or less dictate the shapes I decide to build around, which in turn become organic looking. I create coral pieces because I was always drawn to the ocean and loved snorkelling. Neither the use of paper nor the love of nature and the ocean is unique in any way, I am but one artist in a million inspired by nature, and I have a bit less competition with the material chosen; paper. What sets me apart in my work is my ability to manipulate it in the way I do. I consider myself extremely lucky to have loved paper in the way that I do to keep forging forward with my craft which led me to my present focus. I love what I do and do what I love.

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Image courtesy of Flavia Lovatelli

My work is extremely time-consuming and somewhat taxing, and it goes like this: I start by collecting unwanted paper, my community brings me old magazines, shopping receipts, junk mail, books and so on. I have to sort through all of it to find a viable paper and recycle that which doesn’t make the cut. I then sort, separate and store the different papers. Once I decide on a direction for my next sculpture I go to the desired paper and start my process by cutting the paper to the desired shape which is typically 4″ x 10 average. I then roll each sheet into a tube shape, flatten the tube and roll it into a coil. Once I have a good number of coils I set off to manipulate them into the desired shapes; coils, domes, cones, and tentacles.

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Image courtesy of Flavia Lovatelli

Once they are in the shape I need, I glue the inside of each piece so they don’t flatten out, and let them cure. Lastly, I build the structure I have envisioned and glue each coil onto the structure when that is cured. Any given small spore takes from 8 hours to 3 days to make, while the larger coral pieces can take up to 6 months to make, working full time. Sometimes the work feels insurmountable but every single finished piece has been the driving force behind the future pieces, they remind me they wouldn’t exist without all the labour that went into making them.

more. www.flavia-lovatelli.com

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Image courtesy of Flavia Lovatelli
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Image courtesy of Flavia Lovatelli
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Image courtesy of Flavia Lovatelli

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