We had the good fortune of connecting with Vittoria Colonna and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Vittoria, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”

― Salvador Dali

I just love this quote! It teaches me to surrender to all outcomes knowing there’s no such thing as failure but only the outcomes you or your outside world may fear. I am reminded that I am liberated to the flow of all possibilities! For imperfection is just another perfection of humanity. If I reach for the Moon I’m sure to land among the stars, right?!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.

What sets me apart from others? Well maybe the obvious observation would be that I’m named after my renowned ancestor VITTORIA COLONNA, famously known as the original badass Renaissance poet, influencer and muse to Michelangelo Buonarroti. She was a devoted god fearing woman and cultural ambassador, that made her mark in a male dominated world. Not an easy task to follow! I’m still navigating this vocation of simply being a human being!

My journey started with curiosity and ambition! I grew up in Europe, between Ireland and Italy. I trained as an opera singer and studied painting in Rome’s L’Accademia di Belle Arti, then I dived into the performing arts at Dublin’s Gaiety School of Acting, landing small film and theatre roles for a while. I became frustrated with the powerlessness I experienced as an actor, especially awaiting the constant approval of others! So I started to write and direct my own material. Having never properly trained in film, I suddenly found myself in my element. Winning numerous international festivals with my music videos, documentaries and films. One feature documentary I made called ‘Identities’ told five personal stories that overcame the stereotypes and categorizations of gender identity. I gave each character an imaginative performance art segment to free their soul expression. These performance vignettes were selected as part of the Worldwide Italian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2011.

I was thrilled when the offer came to direct a project in Hollywood! I packed my bags on a rainy Dublin day and set off for sunny Los Angeles. I was welcomed with failed promises but great optimism! How life has a funny sense of humour…! I won’t bore the reader with my cruel twists of fate, but let’s say I found myself unveiled with multiple movie miscarriages! One after another I was on the cusp of greatness then stripped down to humility. Why Universe Why?! I would cry. Then upon the completion of a personal film ‘Sandboy’, I was so physically weakened by putting myself through so much unneeded stress that my body actually collapsed. Finally I was forced to pause and seek some deep internal truths. Mediation, yoga and meaningful friendships led me to revisit my true yearning. I was forced to really question: Who am I?! What did I want?! What did I need?

The answer always came back to my pursuit of beauty, colour and LOVE. In this re-awakening, I took to my own expressive medicine and ironically became like one of the eccentric characters I would write screenplays about. Destiny was teaching me that my human journey would become my masterpiece. So I used circus, performance, shamanic practises and paint as tools of expression. I reached new audiences and alternative platforms. I began to lighten up, learning that play was more powerful than pain! These endeavours even brought me to new lands such as Japan and Argentina. There I collaborated with other curious misfits and amazing artists. I was even approached by the World Woman Foundation to become a 2020 honouree #Shesmyhero for empowering young women with my work in the arts and entertainment.

Then with the great global pause called Covid, I found myself in Ireland with one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe. Pain, sickness, loss and confusion surrounded me. Creativity was my strength. Pop abstract paintings took the front stage and I embraced being a full time artist more than ever! I chose to stay in the realm of imagination and this led me to open a studio in the center of Florence, Italy. Today, I’m creating a whole new series of art works, using paint and textiles in Topanga Canyon, California.

So when asked what would I want the world to know about my story? My answer is that I’m simply a bright, quirky and colorful puzzle piece in this spectacular giant Labyrinth jigsaw called LIFE. No more nor less important than any other single portion. Everyone of us is unique and fits into this bigger picture of Creation!

As my future is still to be written, I accept that I may never reach the historical accolades like the 16th century Vittoria Colonna, but I certainly embrace the freedom of being the 21st century VITTORIA COLONNA! Acknowledging all the previous and incredible women that came before me, with their sacrifices, untapped dreams, endless battles, sexism, racism, sadness and unfulfilled expectations… They went through so much for me to exist today in this present moment. NOW!
So in living my creative truth and journey, I know I am honouring their struggles!

If I can inspire the next generation of women to become the masterpieces of their lives and not just the muses then I’m not doing too bad at all!!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First of all I would take my special friend to experience the best of Cali Nature!! First stop would be my hometown Topanga Canyon with all her amazing hikes! Then we would hit Malibu by stopping off @TheSunsetRestaurant at Zuma Beach for lunch followed by a spot of sunbathing and dolphin watching. Most given nights would involve immersive music, workshops and unique community surprises all held in the heart of Topanga @edencooperation. Exploring this city means visiting the numerous museums and galleries including my personal favorites; @TheBroadMuseum @Hammermuseum @BreweryArtsLA @Santamonicaartstudios and @TheGettyMuseummalibu! If my friend felt inclined to stretch to the East side towards my old hood; Highland park, we would hit the yoga studio @kinship_highlandpark followed by the best pizza in town @highlandparkbowl. Of course any visit to LA is not complete without experiencing Venice beach for people watching, drinks and ecstatic dancing at sunset @ecstaticdancela. Given any opportunity I would take my special friend for a fun road trip to Joshua Tree, Pioneer town and Palm Springs. Further off the road adventures would include Salton Sea, Bombay beach, San Francisco and Big Sur! Then upon our return to LA, Downtown always seems to provide fun events, street art  and independent film screenings too @lastbookstorela and spectacular views with scrumptious food and drinks @perchlosangles. Just some highlights…

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?

I may not be where I am today without the crucial support from my family, friends and creative peers. I have learnt that it is vital to surround yourself with your kind of loving and authentic eccentrics! But I also thank the begrudging individuals who bullied and tested my beliefs too! I consider them the shadow teachers that taught me the importance of nurturing my own honesty, passionate drive and healthy boundaries. It’s always easier to imitate rather than to create!

Today I want to give a personal shout to my fellow L.A creators, the sole artists that continue to inspire me: Check them out on Insta! @mikiyokoyama.art, @waltererrahubert, @monsterluna, @litaalbuquerque @Maureenhamiltongrady and @beckdance to name but only a few… Each one awakening and reminding me I have permission to fly!

And in those times of doubt, I always return to these nourishing books; The Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell, The Spiritual Journey of Alejandro Jodorowsky and Tamara de Lempicka- a life of deco and decadence. I also highly recommend listening to any interviews featuring Elizabeth Gilbert!

Website: www.colonnavittoria.com

Instagram: VittoriaColonnaStudio

Linkedin: VittoriaColonnaStudio

Facebook: VittoriaColonnaArtist

Image Credits
Portrait of the artist taken by Daniel Holfeld 2020 Art photography by Jeremy Boxer & Vittoria Colonna 2021 All rights reserved (c)Vittoria Colonna 2020

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