Issue #138

Silvia Gallini

La Fata!

BA at the University’ Catholic of Milan in Modern Letters / MFA in Writing for Film and TV
Read and analyzed film scripts in Rome for Cattleya in 2004/2005
Certificate Program in Film & TV at UCLA Extension in Los Angeles
MFA in Film Directing at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles
Private painting classes with La artist Joe Blaustein 2005 – present
Currently showing art in Los Angeles and releasing my first full length documentary in early 2018

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What do you do in your life (work and fun)?

My life currently looks a bit like this:

Morning: yoga and meditation in my little home studio with a pug at my feet and a finch on my head.

Day: I dress up somewhat respectably and help professionals wrap their heads around the Italian past tense, the combined prepositions and the fascinating ten different meanings an Italian word can have.

Afternoon: I dress as a homeless, turn the music on and I paint either at home or in a rented studio.

Evening: I take care of social media, my online store, bills, and clerical things like this (in fact I very often skip this step). Then I eat a delicious dinner that my boyfriend prepared and watch an obscure European film together.

In the weekends, I wake up at 6 am and set up a booth at an art fair with all my art and prints. I love traveling wth my entire little world ready to pop-up in a show. It’s a lot like being in a village fair, a circus or a film set.

What made you leave Italy and chose LA?

Until quite recently, I would have answered this question officially, like: “I left Italy because I wanted to learn how to make films in LA, the filmmaking capital of the world”.
But there is a deeper thing that happened, that I can see now after 12 years. I came to LA to find my voice. Where I came from, there was no room for my voice to come out, even to exist. So my voice is emerging now in the form of painting, film, and hopefully writing (I always wanted to be a writer). And on a deeper level too, I came to LA to overcome my fear, the terrors I have inside of me. Terror of others, terror of love, terror of creativity, terror of money, terror of everything. Terror of my father.

Please share your best memory in the City.

Since you ask specifically about “the city”, I will leave people out of this.

I close my eyes and I see: my little one room studio in Laurel Canyon. It had many niches in the wall, and craftsman hobbit-like features around the doors and the arch that went into the vintage kitchen. It was like a little sanctuary, a church, the first time I ever lived completely by myself.

A lot of exorcising of fears happened in front of the little fireplace, that I would light just for me. And a lot of paintings too. It was a painful and magical time, secluded in nature but very close to the city.

What made you choose this specific location and outfit?

I chose this park because you can really feel the immense and mysterious energy of nature at work here. I believe it was a special place for the Tongva Indian natives who inhabited these lands way before us deranged destructive contemporary monkeys.
The trees are still as if in a perpetual dance, and I almost feel like I can have a conversation with them. There’s some green meadows too, and even a lake with alpine trees. It reminds me of Northern Italy a little, but it is more wild and magic.
Beverly Hills is only ten minutes away but most Angelenos don’t even know this park exists – and that’s how LA feels to me: an ever changing kaleidoscope of realities, where everyone can have their own version of the city.

When we first went location scouting I wore a long dress full of patterns and you told me that I would have completely blended in with the vegetation. So the following time I wore a white soft dress and a black top that make me feel comfortable and a little bit hippy. I suspected you’d make me climb a tree, so this in my opinion was the right outfit for standing on a branch.

Your thought about this project, ITALIANY.US

I feel very proud of now being a part of this project. Your portraits of our compatriots are so stylish and intriguing – it’s beautiful to see these people through your eyes. You are finding beauty in a situation – emigration – that however glamorous can look from the outside when career and status are achieved,  stands on very painful decisions and renunciations. Being away from Italy is a daily struggle, and we all miss it so much, it’s lacerating more often than not (at least for me).

How would you describe being an ambassador of the Italian style/culture abroad?

That’s such a good way to put it: ambassador of culture and style abroad. You’re right, that’s what we are. I was astonished when I first realized how loved and admired Italians are here (maybe everywhere?). In the US you realize that even the simplest habits and manners you grew up with are in fact symbols of a lifestyle that the world tries to emulate. I see that especially while teaching Italian to accomplished adults: their eyes lighten up when you tell them that you simply must say “Buon appetito” before a meal. Ours is a culture of life-loving, beauty-sharing, generosity and laughter. We have an altruistic fundamental nature wrapped up in beautiful clothes and elegant manners. I am so proud of being Italian, and I hope that with my life and my creative work I can bring back this image to Italy, and help our country see and value itself the way it’s seen and valued in the US.

  • Shots

    93

  • Time

    360 mins

  • City

    Los Angeles

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A visual celebration of Italians working, living and loving in NY and in the US