Interview with Sonia Vinaccia

Sonia Vinaccia, born in the beautiful island of Capri, tries to spread a unique feeling in those who look at her works: serenity, kindness and beauty. Her works convey a feeling coming from the unconscious, that of a surreal world, of a deep conceptualism, admirably revealed in a figurative key.

Francesca Della Ventura (FDV): Dear Sonia, I am very pleased that you have taken the time to respond to this short interview of mine. You were born in Capri, but you live in Naples, two wonderful cities: would you like to tell the readers of inWomen.Gallery about your artistic education and how you came to surrealist painting?

Sonia Vinaccia (SV): My artistic path was born and grew with me, Art belongs to me as I belong to it, we have always lived in symbiosis, never being able to exclude each other. Consequently, my artistic studies at the Art Institute were a foregone conclusion, to say the least, but the choice of a university course, architecture, which was not exactly in line with my aspirations and dreams, was less of a foregone conclusion, but this did not prevent me from continuing my painting career. Living for art, I already had a clear idea of what I wanted to do: my dream was to paint in oils, right from the start, and so it was; I had no masters, so I experimented, tried, made mistakes, but in the end I found a path to follow, knowing that it is and will always be in evolution. My approach to the surreal was simply a choice of life, to live everyday life with a touch of irony, to be able to represent even complex problems by making people think about important issues, but without weighing down or depressing them.

FDV: Many of your works, such as those on display in the gallery, want to convey kindness, serenity and beauty. Can art still do that? How do you try to convey these values and why are they important for you and for art in general?

SV: The values that I imprint in my works are those of my life, today perhaps considered “exceptional”, but not for me; they are part of my being, of my education: kindness, honesty of spirit, goodness, should be solid pillars that distinguish the human being in its entirety, but then I realise that this is not the case. What is natural to me becomes the exception in this era. And yet these values in relation to art could be a beacon for the new generations, nourishment for the soul and heart, to get us out of a vortex that is dragging us more and more towards ineffectiveness. In this context, my strength is to persist with the ideas that my works espouse, because, even if rarely, it happens that I meet people with a similar spirit and I realise that it is worth continuing even if only for them.

“L’unicorno magico”, Oil on canvas, 20cmx20cm, framed,  2020, © Sonia Vinaccia
“Ciruzzo”, Oil on canvas, 20cmx20cm, framed,2020  © Sonia Vinaccia

FDV: In your works, like the ones on inWomen.Gallery, animals are often present and you often deal with the issue of their mistreatment. Why did you approach this theme? What are your tips for preserving nature and the environment? Can art be sustainable?

SV: I often depict animals in my paintings because they are pure souls, so who better to represent my message than animals. Then, as with art, animals have also been a fundamental part of my life; I lived my childhood in a house full of animals, where they were real family members, so I have always considered them an integral part of my life. Never before has my message been stronger than now, and that is why I will carry on my ideas as long as I live, never backing down; never giving in to the temptation to take the easy way out, because the decay of the human soul and the dryness of its heart give rise to horrors that my mind truly cannot conceive. Witness the numerous videos of violence that circulate on social networks, fuelled by the desire for prominence and the vanity of the human being.

FDV: If I’m not mistaken, this year you should have taken part in an exhibition from where I’m writing to you, in Germany, which was postponed because of Covid. Can you tell us about it?

SV: This year, as in the past, I was supposed to exhibit in Germany, but due to the pandemic, the event was postponed until a later date. Needless to say, this international health emergency has affected all spheres of society, including culture and therefore art, which was already undergoing a major crisis due to changing social values and the loss of sensitivity. The pandemic has thus dealt a coup de grace.

Francesca Della Ventura
Francesca Della Ventura

Francesca Della Ventura is a journalist, curator and contemporary art critic, as well as founder and director of inWomen.Gallery.