This week we had a chat with Ginevra Babini, a US-based artist who focuses on figurative painting and captures zeitgeist of the generation Z.
Lets talk about your beginnings. When did you first realize you were an artist?
My father is a fashion photographer and my mother was the makeup artist for a lot of his shoots so I swam amongst creativity from an early age. They supplied me with coloring books, drawing pads, and large packs of crayons to keep me occupied. If you ask my mom, she remembers me being very selective with my colors and always having a rhyme or reason to every choice. I specifically remember blending colors of similar range together and then adding in pops of opposite colors and liking the reaction on the page. I think I still work that way!
What are the things that inspire you the most?
I am inspired by language and social norms in the United States, and more so with the language and fads used and created by Generation Z. I am also inspired by high fashion. I tend to make more references to Italian designers in my work, due to my roots. I work out of my studio, it’s about 10 minutes from my house; my basement was getting a bit cramped to work in. — I usually start out by picking the music I’m going to listen to while I work, have a 10–15 minute jam session/ private concert in the open space of my studio, and then start painting. Painting may also include a few occasional dance breaks. — I create because it puts me in a state of mind like nothing else. I find myself getting excited and amped up by the endless opportunities of what something can turn into and yet, it also can zen me out unlike any other stress relief activities. I like creating ridiculous images. The world is so full of perfect, pristine, flawless ads, Instagram posts, etc. and I like challenging them all in concept and imagery.
What is your research focused on?
Social media, language, consumerism, and classism. These concepts are constantly at the front of my brain and I am always questioning.
The works you are most proud of?
I am very proud of “Food Coma”, “Basic”, and “The Triumph Emoji”. I think with all of my work, I experiment and hope things will turn out well but they don’t always feel like they will in the middle stages of creating them. With “Food Coma” and “Basic”, I found myself putting a lot of faith into my experimentations, stressing deeply that they would not be worth the time and effort, and then ending up so extremely satisfied in the end after all the hours and stress I had put in. More satisfied than I could wish to be.
Who are the artists you look up to? Any role models?
Duchamp was one of the most inspiring artists I first learned about. I was obsessed with him and his rejection of what art was considered for his time. Modern day artists that I find myself looking to are Wayne White, Robin F. Williams, Kehinde Wiley, and Yvette Mayorga.
Getting out of the studio: what was your encounter with the art world like?
My first “show” since graduating took place in Philly at the very beginning of 2020. I was terrified. I had never been to the gallery before and up until then, all I had experienced was rejection after rejection from shows I wanted to be a part of so desperately. I remember thinking they were going to boo me out of the gallery and that my work wasn’t going to fit in. And my work didn’t fit in! It was unlike everything else brought to the gallery that night. Because of that, it drew a lot of traffic to my corner of the gallery and I met a ton of amazing, sweet and supportive people. I haven’t been able to have an experience quite like that again because of Covid but it was an amazing affirmation from the real world that I am doing right by making my work. I have had difficulties trying to emerge as an artist. It is difficult balancing a full-time job along with an art practice. Sometimes, there are long periods of time where I don’t pick up a paint brush. But in those times, I am still looking at work, talking to other artists, thinking about potential projects, applying for shows, etc. I also live in a very artistically conservative area. Most art from around me is of farmland, barns, animals, sweet things. My work doesn’t quite mesh with my town’s aesthetic so I find that my best bet is to drive to cities that my work is more likely to be received in.
Any exciting new projects coming up?
I have a show coming up at the beginning of March! EXPO 40. It is virtual so everyone can go see. — I have been working with the concept of glamorized grocery shopping and monochromatic style work. I want to challenge myself to create works that are not so diverse in color but still exciting to the eye. I am also considering fusing the two concepts together.