Social media allows me to connect with inspirational and creative individuals all around the world. (After all, I tweeted at my favorite artist... and ended up interviewing him.) Scrolling through Instagram gives me carpal tunnel, yes, but it also allows me to stumble across complete strangers that have more talent in one posted painting than I have in the entirety of my being.
Need an example of such enviable expertise? Let me introduce you to Eva De Nardi, a teenage aspiring artist who eats "way too many burrito bowls from Chipotle" and believes "art is all about experimenting". We connected on Instagram, and I am proud to share her genuine wisdom, incredible artwork, and confident personality here on Pull This Off. You can thank me when you're viewing her portraits at the Guggenheim.
MOLLY MINTZ: We’ve never met, and we most likely will never meet. Tell me who you are, what you stand for, what you like to do, what you love to eat, what you dream of accomplishing…
EVA DE NARDI: My name is Eva, and I’m 18 years old. I’ve attended Waldorf schools for most of my life, which are basically schools designed to balance the creative and academic aspects of education. Because of this, I’ve grown up having a lot of art classes, which I actually used to find extremely boring and useless. A few years ago, though, I became interested in art history and decided to start sketching. Seeing my improvement, as I used to be pretty terrible at drawing, gave me a sense of strength and belief in myself. Drawing seems to transport me into a peaceful bubble where I don't have to think about the outside world; you might experience the same thing when you’re writing. I’m quite talkative and loud; the sound of my own voice annoys me more than it should, so I seek refuge in art. Other than drawing, I play basketball, eat way to many burrito bowls from Chipotle, and pet my cat while binge-watching Gossip Girl and Friends. I haven’t quite figured out my goals in life, which is scary with graduation right around the corner. But I don’t feel pressured to go to college right away, which is why I’ll be traveling next year and attending art school in Europe. Hopefully it will give me some insight into what I want to pursue later.
MM: Tell me about a recent piece you’ve worked on that you’re really proud of.
EDN: I painted a new piece a few weeks ago for an optics class project. I took a picture of my mother standing in a hallway with long mirrors facing each other, and then painted the reflections. It was one of the most challenging images I’ve tried to illustrate because of all the rotating angles. It turned out to be more mentally demanding than anything else; I had to make myself a diagram to figure it all out!
MM: We’re the same age, and I believe we have some similarities in the sense that we are both creatives. I choose to express myself primarily through writing; social media allows me to connect with like-minded individuals that inspire me immensely. After all, I stumbled upon your artwork scrolling through Instagram! You choose to express yourself through art, so how has Instagram impacted your own sense of creativity?
EDN: Because I gravitate towards portraits, I find Instagram to be the perfect platform to find inspiration. So many selfies! Instagram allows me to search for inspiration through viewing other artists’ accounts and picking out their techniques as well as find new faces to draw.
MM: Do you think the impulse to share is specific to our generation or do you think that’s just something that people have always done?
EDN: I think that people have always felt the need to share, but our generation has an inclination to share on a whole other level. It’s intriguing and rewarding to hear what others have to say, whether it be praise or criticism. Our generation’s current society thriving through social media has given young people the reassurance that people care, that they want to know what we’re thinking and feeling. There are definitely pros and cons of this --people tweeting about every detail of their lives versus having an accessible platform to share opinions and connect with others, like this blog. It seems like that type of sharing is appealing to all people, it just happens to be our generation that has the means of doing so.
MM: Every one of your drawings is impressively realistic and detailed. I have noticed that your work has a strong focus on eye contact and female figures. What empowers you to transpose images of strong women?
EDN: We live in a society where women are constantly being put down, surprisingly often by each other. I try to resist the natural urge to judge and instead find a way to create a relationship of empowerment. I tend to gravitate towards images of strong women because I feel a sense of connection and appreciation.
MM: You’ve drawn incredible drawings of influential celebrities like Bella Hadid, Bridgitte Bardot, Adriana Lima, and Angelina Jolie. How do high-profile women influence you?
EDN: These women serve as a source of inspiration for me. Their beauty motivates me to put effort into my own appearance -- I think a little jealousy is good sometimes. Seeing how these women have succeeded in life not only inspires me, but also gives me a sense of comfort in knowing that they are only human.
MM: What do you believe is wrong with the way women are portrayed in the media?
EDN: I think most girls feel a subconscious pressure to be beautiful, which, as defined by media images, consists of being thin, tan, tall, and without any imperfections. This image is ingrained in young girls’ minds, and it also teach young boys what to consider attractive by creating unrealistic expectations. I experienced this when a boy told me I should “really invest in some black mascara” on the first day of seventh grade. Now I rarely go a day without it. Ads often present women as objects; for example, a “prize” or “guarantee” for wearing a certain cologne or driving a particular car. The idea that women will flock to a man for wearing a certain scent or driving a sports car gives the idea that a man is entitled to a woman just for being “manly”, or simply a man. This mindset, as a result of the way women are portrayed in the media, fuels rape culture, which I believe is extremely prominent in our society.
MM: Do you like fashion or do you think it’s shallow?
EDN: I love fashion -- nothing makes me more excited than putting an outfit together. I think style is such an essential element to self- expression. Like the wise Elvis Presley (my idol) once said, “Clothes say things about you that you can’t sometimes.” Putting effort into the way you present yourself isn’t shallow, I think it’s an act of self-love. That being said, loving oneself may differ depending on the individual or the circumstance. Some people might feel better about themselves wearing sweatpants and others in heels. I just happen to be the second person.
MM: How heavily would you say fashion influences what you create?
EDN: I usually gravitate towards drawing portraits where the clothes aren’t the main focus. But then again, fashion isn’t only about clothes. I think someone’s style can be seen through smaller aspects like hair and makeup, which are often the main components of what attracts me to a certain image.
MM: How does art influence your personal style?
EDN: Practicing art has made me a more relaxed, observant person. I feel more free in terms of trying new things and making mistakes. I think this mindset has been reflected into my personal style. Through sharing my art on Instagram I’ve discovered courage within myself, a strength to put myself out there, whether it be posting a drawing I’m embarrassed about or wearing bright blue eyeliner. For me, art is all about experimenting and stepping out of my comfort zone; I try to incorporate those objectives into my daily life and personal style.
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