On Tuesday February 26th Italian artist Daniela Mastrangelo opened her show at Tonic,in Foggy Bottom. Daniela had created a series of portraits that were hung in the loft of the bar. The room was packed with art lovers enjoying the company of friends and the beauty of Daniela’s work.
I caught Daniela as she entered the bar after a smoke, in true European artist style. At first she was tentative to talk, fretting over her broken English, and overly apologetic. Although, there was a slight language barrier, she spoke with such emotion that no translation was necessary. Finding artist that are as passionate as Daniela is always a delight, and often their passion shines through in their work.
The series hung in Tonic had been created after a trip she took to India. They were photographs of individual’s face, many complete strangers that she had briefly met on her journey. “The eyes can show all the feelings,” Daniela said as both of us looked to a picture of a teenage girl. It was true; gazing into this girls eyes you could sense all of the love, fear, sorrow, and curiosity that shown from her eyes.
I inquired about her artistic process and whether this was a form of art that she did often. Daniela said that she experimented with all forms of art and this was a new process that she had come up with. She printed her photos onto regular paper and then played with the textures. First starting by coating the paper in wax, then adding different materials, and color. “I try to use things that show the emotions of the subject,” says Daniela as she points to a picture of an older man. His face was harsh and she accented this with caramel creating a bumpy texture.
In closing I asked one last question, “What inspired you to create these pieces of work?”
She looked at me, and then to her works and begin to speak with her hands, “Well, I think the human body is beautiful. I really love it. It has always been an inspiration.” I nod as she looks for the words to finish her thought. “The body can show emotions, and I like to use wax because it acts like humans.”
“What do you mean?” I ask looking for clarification.
“Wax is constantly changing. I believe that humans are always changing. Wax can be vulnerable and tough all in one, so can humans.” And with that we parted ways, and I was left with the inspiration and passion of her words as I walked back home, contemplating the ideas of human nature and the acceptance of change that all of our lives seem to undergo.
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