Italian artist Roberta Zeta’s delightful portraits of contemporary women show us a world that is often invisible to us or in the least drown out by the constant parade of artificial looking femininity and sampling of “feminine experience.” Roberta instead offers a refreshing look at a quiet way in the world, punctuated with a sense of political urgency at times, inclusiveness, humor, sexiness and even a tenderness.
The self-taught artist began drawing very early in life, in fact, as soon as she could hold a pen. Roberta has experimented in various industries, but her urge to draw, to make and create an illustrative world populated by a sort of self-portraiture has prevailed, a persistence of a creative mind. Much of Roberta’s spare time was always spent honing her skills, and within this intimate world there is always the feminine protagonist, a leitmotif that remains in Roberta’s work today. Of this reoccurrence, the artist shares
“I always end up drawing girls. They’re probably all projections. I never meant to do self-portraiture though, but I know I’m attracted to faces I can see myself in. Or, at least, the one I would like to be.”
RB: The pairs of girls and lesbian portraits evoke a certain stylish casualness, and I find the style refreshing and believable. It’s great to see this sort of love expressed in such a natural and contemporary way, can you tell me more about these works?
RZ: When I’m drawing, I try to be as authentic as possible, and I welcome all the small incidents that make me diverge from the initial plan, like accidentally moving the collage elements. I was carefully trying to assemble, and so on. In that case, I was trying to portray two people sharing a hug. Only at the end of it I realized they were both girls, but that was more than fine for me.
RB: I think this naturalness is what makes these pictures so sweetly profound. I love the two recent images of the young women with the American flags, may I infer these images reflect the despair so many of us feel about the incumbent president? Can you share your thoughts, and more about the project? Women’s rights seem eroding everywhere I look, in Poland, here in the USA the little we have achieved is certainly in considerable danger….
RZ: The two images of girls with the American flag certainly reflect my feelings after the election, my fears that the world would take another direction from the one that speaks about progress and peace. But it’s easy to get overwhelmed by despair, while the wisest things I read and heard during this confusing time urge everybody to go ahead, to be strong, to keep fighting social injustice, because that is the only way we all can live well.
RB: What’s next for you?
RZ: I’m working on a book, the biography of Audrey Hepburn, timeless fashion icon, and it will be out this summer. Then, I just came home after spending 3 months in Los Angeles, where I had the chance to visit museums with wonderful collections and astonishing national parks. Last, but not least, I’m about to move to Belgium with my husband and our 21 months old son, for another couple of years. So, big changes ahead!