The Brazilian born and New York based artist Nicole Della Costa is a true multi-talent; she writes, she paints, and makes images, both in front of the lens and as a model. In just a few years, she has published two poetry collections, has been featured in Nin Magazine and modelled for German fashion giant Zalando and American Stoned Immaculate. Last year she exhibited at the emerging contemporary art space Fabrica Behring in Rio de Janeiro, in collaboration with fellow Brazilian Júlia Brandao. Della Costa is an exciting talent who mixes languages and genres. DANSK sat down to talk with her about her work and the process of creating a name.
This interview is about emerging artists. What is the next step on your career ladder?
It is to always keep producing, making sure I’m in the right place in my mind for things to come together.
Do you find that the internet/social media made it easier for you to develop with your art, or the contrary?
It helped me quite a bit. My work was exposed to people and other’s work exposed to me. In regard to my poems, I have a tendency of not posting them on social media. If I do so, it is from a layout of the magazine it was published or from my own publications. I would like the reader to read my poems holding this sweet object in the morning, having a cup a coffee, taking a bit of time do decipher it, voluntarily invest in it. That would be the ideal scenario and how I enjoy reading my favourite poets.
Are there some themes that you find yourself and your art to come back around to? Why do you think it is so?
I feel like it always comes back to my own experiences and what is around me, what I know. I just spent Christmas photographing my boyfriend and his family in their hometown in Tennessee. I’m fascinated by him and how he portrays himself in the world. You can’t really decipher where he came from, there seems to be no emotional attachments to the past. Of course there is one, so I wanted to capture him in contrast with it all.
Do you ever feel anxious about ‘deciphering’ an object, in this case a person, a boyfriend?
I worry about the receptiveness of the subject more, how willing they were to be photographed. With his family, there is a very interesting dynamic and it was the first time I was specifically staging pictures. I had this idea in my mind of taking very traditional family pictures, but I wanted this carpet to be laid on the grass, where they would stand and take turns positioning themselves. I wanted to create this form of physical boundary and explore the family dynamic within.
Did you come closer to ‘decipher’ his past?
Close, but not too close; it’s not fun if you know too much.
What is the purpose of your images?
Sharing what I know, communicating and hopefully becoming a psychical tool for empathy.
Why is that important to you?
It is important because I don’t think there is room for the artist to make art for his/hers own sake anymore. It should be a social and communal practice, not only after the process, when the work is out there and it instigates discussion. That is why I think collaborations and skill-sharing is so important.
Many is talking about the pressure on young people. Now that you have created (quite) some success do you still feel this pressure? Did you ever?
Yeah, it rises to the surface at times, but I try to remind myself that it’s not worth engaging. To be an artist is a lifetime thing, I truly think I will only understand my body of work when I’m 40 or even older. I’m not trying to attach meaning to it now. I feel like this pressure sometimes can come from a hurry of creating my best work at this very moment in time. Every work is very special to me as it represents where I am, who I’m involved with and what is inside.
Where are you now?
In a good place, being easy on myself.
Words by Mathilde Nielsen