My little sweet nightmares

with Nicoletta Ceccoli



A different world
cannot be built
by indifferent people

Peter Marshall

Do you have a surefire method to protect your creatures against the cold machine of our world?

Drawing is my little colored haven, my wonderland where everything is possible, beyond the rules and conventions. The teenage girls of my drawings are all a little bit Alice. The world of wonders is my refuge from the prosaic and the greyness of everyday life. In the drawings there is room for every feeling and emotion, to reinvent the world, to fold it and revise it in an unusual way. That’s where I look for my identity and my dreams.

You studied in Urbino, medieval place by evocative visions: do you have memories or atmospheres you still carry with you from that time?

The city and the school where I studied, teachers, challenging and sensitive, have left a deep imprint in me. The classrooms were in the sixteenth century ducal palace that houses masterpieces like The Flagellation by Piero della Francesca. I was very impressed by his so frozen, measured and metaphysical painting. The city of Urbino, with its Renaissance architecture, is like suspended in time. The memories I have of that period of my life are a little troubling, I was a silent teenager with a lots of complexes. Drawing, my refuge and voice.

Beautiful Nightmares

If you could replace the term “pop surrealism” with another one you feel most appropriate, which would you use?

About my work, I would use the words “poetic”, “romantic”.

Is there some hope that the baby might be saved by an education or dark places of childhood, eventually becoming something else?

I believe our pain can be reworked and transformed into a non-destructive something, it can make of us people more sensitive and able to empathize with the pain of others, make us careful not to reproduce those models of education that have made us suffer.
My way of exorcising unconscious nightmares, to calm my anxieties, is to express myself with drawing. This is the way I overcome or work out insecurities and wounds. Pain is also an engine driving me to create… and even depression, is to me a state of “conscious helplessness” that enables one to grasp the deep aspects of life that usually escape us.

Beautiful Nightmares 2

How did you take it, once discovered that life is not like the one told in the books?

The loss of innocence is a recurring theme in my work. The transition to adulthood, the abandonment of painful illusions. On my worlds, covered with sugar and apparent sweetness, a whisper of anxiety looms. My drawings of sweet and lovable things almost always bring a dark side peeping just behind them, in balance between disillusionment and dream, a game of contradictions, a nursery rhyme showing its dark side.

Why it’s only in art that you reveal the beauty and the utopias of the world?

Through art, man imagines himself, rereads the world, is able to reinvent it, getting in touch with his dreams and imagination. It’s important continuing to consider dreams as serious and important, as in childhood, in which there was a more magical approach to what surrounded us. You tend to give too much importance to more rational forms, to interpret reality, but I think imagination can connect more better to life, to the mystery, to the truest part of ourselves.

Nicoletta Stage

Do you think it’s good not believing too much in the “stories”?

The stories are important for me, they use the same magical language of children, help them to confront their own fears and insecurities. They are a kind of game illuminating the real world, that is entering into a parallel world where the darkest and impenetrable places are brought to light. Fairy tale comes there where thinking and rationality can’t, to “understand the emotions.”
I don’t like the patterns of forced happiness. I’m fascinated by everything that is unusual, bizarre, by the “monstrous” beauty of freaks. So, in my work, beauty is always a bit “monstrous”, and my beauties are also a bit beasts. All that is marginalized, unpleasant, and that arises out of those canons of beauty and happiness imposed to anybody, as impossible tasks, reveals the beauty of the freaks.

What’s the difference between the naive and the dreamer?

Life without magic is just a big scare. The enchantment, illusion, trust in men and things, brings closer to happiness, which is the state of naive people, simple as children.

Nicoletta Cake

Your most “beautiful nightmare”:

All my drawings are my little nightmares. My girls, through they skirts, body extensions emanating magic and power, encase birds, devour princes.
I describe the pleasures, but there’s a sense of guilt floating around these worlds of sweet and lovable things, there’s a disturbing side that shows itself. Beyond a first appearance of sweetness and light, cakes to me are also a metaphor for desires not always fully satisfied.

The memory of your childhood you’re most fond of:

Me, painting on a plywood’s piece, and my father who comforts me because I’ve spilt the color. I was four years old, and that picture still hangs in his carpentry shop.


He Brought Her Red Berries

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