Tuesday, January 01, 2008

On doll making in Europe:innovative papier-maché artist

This is an interview made by me for the CDAA Newsletter. I'm the reporter from Europe on dollmaking.
The papier-maché artist is Nives Cicin-Sain. She lives in Split, Croatia.
Listen our voices...

What is The Doll for you?
-N. For me as sculptress who is interested in human
form and figurative art is just one more way
to express myself

What do you think about European
dollmaking?
-N. There are many different styles and materials
that dollmakers are working in, so I cannot have
opinion in general. I prefer doll as artistic object
and I can say that there are much artisan (craft)
dolls than really make art dolls. In ethnological
museums you can find some art dolls

Do you think the American dollmaking
is different from the European dollmaking?
And if so, why?
-N. I know only the best dollmaking artists work
and all of them (who I admire) are the NIADA
(National Institute of American Doll Artists)
members. For me art piece has not nationality,
and the best is if the art piece isn’t traditional

What is the situation in Europe from your
experience?
-N. I’m a freelance artist and I don’t belong to any
society or group, so I’m not following situation
enough. My experience is expressed in first answer,
I look for original and new art expression
in dollmaking

Tell me about Croatia and the Croatian
Arts

-N. My country is very small, 4 million inhabitants
only and a lot of talented people for sport,
and art too. Region where I live is Dalmatia, the
town is Split near the sea area and it is 1700
years old. It was built on Diocletian (Roman
Emperor) Palate and it’s today a Zero Monument
of culture under Unesco protection. We
have many artists in my region, a good middle
Art School and Academy too. We have Art
Academies in all big cities

Do you know other Croatian dollmakers?
Tell me in your language - ‘dollmaker’
-N. Only dollmakers (Lutkari) that I know are
employs from puppet theatres. In my country
doesn’t exist doll scene

Tell me about your projects: when you
create...what is your procedure?...
you think...you draw...? and the inspiration?
a book...a discussion..a color...tell me the
way of your creativity
-N. I work everyday and sometime it’s a project
or topic for international doll exhibition or
something that I have to express because idea
was mature enough to be born...anyway I work
everyday, whole day, as possible. I have a
very good condition to work at home. I haven’t
childrens and my partner is also dedicated
to his work. He understand my commitment
and support my need to create. I am inspired
with life and communications with people, from
good movie or book, and also from travelling in
other countries and meeting new people

Do you think there is good business in
Europe on dollmaking?

-N. Some of them are selling very good and
people like to collect sweet realistically made
porcelain dolls

In Italy, the dollmaking is a ‘work for
childrens’...or we have thousands of porcelain
dolls - NOT an expression of ART, like
sculpture...and in Croatia?

-N. We do not have doll scene here at all. No
competitions of any kind. I saw it for the first
time in Germany and start exhibiting there at
Doll Art Exhibitions

In your Country is there any tradition on
dollmaking?

-N. There is a tradition of dollmaking in folklore
costumes - it is something that tourists like to
buy as souvenir

Your customers...are they Internationals?
-N. My customers are from all over the world.
My art is not hard to understand...children
love and understand it as well as adults

Do you know European Dollmakers?
-N. Yes, I met many at exhibitions in Austria and
Germany

You exhibit at Art Galleries?
-N. I have my solo exhibitions in Art Galleries
and museums only

Tell me about exhibitions
-N. For the first time I exhibited dolls at International
Doll Exhibition -1987 Munich, Germany,
Bayerische Kunstgewerbeverein. Almost every
year I am exhibiting at International Art Doll
Exhibition in Neustadt by Coburg, Germany in
Museum of German Toy Industry. Few times at
Austria Zeltweg Castle Farrach at International
Doll Art Exhibition

Who is Nives?
-N. She is somebody who is trying to give some
love and cheer up people with my art because
there is a lot of sadness and problems all
around us and she is someone who is never
satisfied with achieved

The world IS competition. You are a rare
flower! No envy, no groups...interesting...
have you in your mind a preferred artist?

-N. I don’t have a preferred artist. In history of
art, I have so many teachers and artists I admire
and I can learn from. When I saw Van
Gogh in Amsterdam I was overwhelmed with
energy emitted from his art. It was twenty-three
years ago and I still remember that feeling.
Two years ago in Paris, Louvre, I saw original
art by different artists which left footprints in my
soul and I’m grateful to God that I could see it.
Also I can learn and get inspired by beauty of
the flowers or my neighbors lovely dog

Not influenced by Italy? Italy is so near
Croatia. Have you travelled in Italy?

-N. Italy is ‘meravigliosa’...I love Italy, Italian
art and design, music and food. I saw Venezia,
Milano and I spent two months in 1991 in
Trieste doing masks, costumes, stage design
and artistic props for ‘teatro de mati’. I even
learned Italian!

Is it your dream to be a NIADA member?
Would being a NIADA member change your
life?

-N. I’m not dreaming to be member of any society.
As freelance artist I prefer freedom. For
me, art is not a competition and I don’t compare
myself with anybody. Each artist must
have his/her own world

If you are part of clubs, mailings, forums,
associations - you lose freedom?
-N. I simply don’t like to have any labels or
trademark flags to protect me. I simply feel
citizen of the world and in art too, no boundaries
and no rules to follow.
I visited the USA for the first time and it was a
precious experience to promote my book and
to make a workshop. I was to my nephew’s
graduation. He now has a degree of Art from
Charlottesville University of Virginia. I visited
almost all museums in DC Washington - thanks
God! I also saw Baltimore and Alexandria

How important is your computer?
-N. Computer for me is a contact with the world.
I’m not into mailings. I don’t write at forums because
I cannot spend hours trying to explain in
English (which isn’t my language) things which
I can teach in person in one minute. That is
why I wrote a book. Everybody who is really
interested, can learn all my methods of work.
Also, who really wants to learn from me can
come at my home or organize workshops in
his/her country and I shall go there

...why dolls and not pottery or jewels?
-N. My interest is wide. I am making sculptures
and jewelry too, and illustrating books and
making art photography. I prefer papier-mâché
technique because of her endless possibility

What in the future?
-N. In 2008 I plan a solo exhibition and I will
write a new text book together with a professor.
This is a text book on papier mâché for
school and Art Academy. In two months there
is a workshop in England and Israel


I invite your opinions
regarding my interview.
Stefania Morgante

the site of Nives is:
http://www.nivescicinsain.com

6 comments:

Dawn Alice Rogers said...

Wonderful, wonderful interview! Thank you so much for posting this.
:)

Kerry said...

Terrific interview...so lovely to hear Nives in her own words...Thank you Stef!

Mo'a said...

This is a great interview...I am loving your blog and what you are doing with it.
I have a new blog/web site and I have linked you on it...sorry it took so long.
I was very sick after I came back from Italy...so everything took longer than I hoped.

Pepperh said...

Very nice!!! I like her artistic independence and was especially struck by her eloquence. Saying that certain great artists' paintings had left footprints on her soul really moved me. That's exactly what art should do, and it took an artist to articulate it...in a language not her own at that! Thank you for sharing the interview.

irene said...

Stephania,
That was an excellent interview. I am not familiar with the work of Nives. Is it possible to see her work online somewhere?

Gufobardo said...

http://www.nivescicinsain.com

go to this address, you will see the Nives's works, Stef