7×13 | 2021 | Series 3 | Irene Messia

/ / Latest News, Meet the Artists 2021 7x13 Series

Irene Messia QLD


What was the inspiration behind the piece that is a part of the SWELL Sculpture Festival 2021?

Ulysses’ shipwreck tells the story of a man and his journey. Ulysses is asking “Who am I?” “Where have I come from,” and “Where am I going.” This piece represents the journey of a being, an internal journey that we must all take in our lives to find our true self. To find what we cannot see on the surface. In order to find ourselves, first we must get lost.  Knowing ourselves better, will allow us to evolve as a person and eventually the entire community. So perhaps this is the time to be brave and get lost…

Do you follow a process or plan for each new piece or do you ‘wing it’?

I have a plan but I try to communicate with the stone itself; it is more a collaboration between me and the stone.

Would you describe your artistic journey as a slow burn or a wild ride?

It depends on the project. This one project has definitely been a slow burn given the nature of the stone.

Can you tell us a little bit more about how you became the artist that you are today?

I started to draw when I was quite young. My parents and grandfather were artists, so I was naturally inserted in this world. I trained as a painter in Rome and decided to research my own style in my early 20s. I’ve always been attracted to Greek, German and Eastern philosophy, and interested in knowing more about life & death and the world that surrounds us. I’ve attempted to bring that research into my art practice. I (almost) practice every day, because it is important to have discipline – but always with a smile! I would say I’m never too serious…

Describe your ideal environment where your creative juices flow?

I love to be by myself and surrounded by nature.

Is there an artist or body of work that you would consider your muse?

Michelangelo (especially his unfinished slaves), Rodin and Camille Claudel- The Gates of Hell, Giulio Aristide Sartorio, Giacometti.

If you had to choose 3 words to describe your artistic style, what would they be?

Materica (material), solida (solid), ma spirituale (but spiritual).

Beyond SWELL 2021, is there a forthcoming project you are most excited about?

Yes, it’s a secret hehe.

What does exhibiting in SWELL 2021 mean to you?

Exhibiting in SWELL means a lot to me. It gives me the opportunity to show my work in a public space and to be able to share my vision with a lot of people, a vision that means a lot to me and that I’m excited to share. To me, this is about creating something—creating a connection between people.

Is there anything you do to continue developing as an artist? Would you describe yourself as self-taught or formally educated in your artistic practice?

I practice every day, as I believe you need some sort of discipline to evolve (in anything!) I read and study different philosophies that I think are right for me in that moment. I draw every day… it is my way of explaining what I see. I trained in different art schools in Rome but always as a painter. I’ve always wanted to carve stone and marble, so last year I decided to start. So in this case, I have been more self-taught than normal (though I’ve also had guidance from some very talented local sculptors).

Do you have a must visit for someone visiting the Gold Coast?

Currumbin of course!

What book are you reading at the moment?

“How to see Yourself As you really Are” by the Dalai Lama and “Ethics Demonstrated in Geometrical Order” by Spinoza.

What best describes your creative space; organised or chaotic?


The Author

Courtney Stephens is an emerging creative event producer based in Tweed Heads. After a successful career as a Practice Manager, her passion for the creative arts industry has led her to study a Bachelor of Business in Convention and Event Management. She hopes to balance her love for the arts, culture and nature with her strengths in communication and management to create community based events.

Follow her on Instagram @courtneystephens