Craftsmanship is often passed on from generation to generation. For centuries, families have passed on the craft of baking, gardening or writing. Art is another craft that often runs in the family, for instance in the Italian Marcatajo family. The youngest addition to the family is Donatella Marcatajo, who feels lucky to have inherited her passion and talent for art from her grandfather.
In her realistic paintings, Donatella explores femininity and the power of women in today’s society. Donatella has a strong opinion about the portrayal of women nowadays, and likes her art to tell that story. We were lucky to have Donatella talk to us about this issue, as well as her career path and inspiration. Enjoy!
If you had to tell somebody about your work and are only allowed to show one piece of art, what would you show and why?
It’s always difficult for me to choose just one painting. I’m still in the phase when my last painting is always the best one because I evolve and make progress every day. I think that I’d choose my last one, “Trapped”, because it’s the best expression of my art today: restless atmosphere, symbolism and strong message about women’s rights.
You create hyper-realistic work: a quick glimpse at your work and it’s sometimes not easy to distinguish from a photo. What is it about hyperrealism that you like so much?
I think that hyperrealism in art has changed the way of seeing art; it has “reconciled” people with painting and brought back the attention to the meritocracy of an artist. Even the most skeptics could never say, “I could do that, too!” So I admire hyperrealist painters very much, but I define myself as only realist painter with a lot of things to improve.
You come from a creative family and cite your grandfather as a huge influence on your painting skills. Did you always want to become a painter, or are there other creative jobs that appeal to you as well?
My grandfather died when I was a child, unfortunately I couldn’t get to know him better. But I remember his passion for art and believe that in some strange ways he passed his artistic gift on to me when he died. I started my creative path early with comics, before that manga and after that with a more realistic style, such as Manara or Bonelli comics. When I was a child, I wanted to become a comics artist. Sometimes I still work in that field, often with book illustrations. I feel that something of that world has never leave me.
Your work strongly emphasizes on women and their place into society. The series ‘Violence on women’ for instance deals with aggression and suppression on young women. Is it hard for you to work on such heavy subjects?
I’m a female painter and I see a lot of difficulty in a world dominated by men every day. I think that every woman can notice the difference in all fields: there’s no equal employment rights, no real respect or freedom. I focused that series on violence against women because this world is still infected by that and all women must fight for their own freedom and for the rights of women in the future. I think that it is important for a painter to give a personal contribution with art and this is my personal way. Sometimes with gory and bloody images and other times with kind and pure ones.
What’s the best museum or gallery exhibition you ever been to, and why did you pick this one?
In 2013, I visited the Gottfried Helnwein retrospective in the Albertina Museum in Vienna. He’s one of my favourite living artists and that exhibition was a fantastic overview about his life and artistic career. The museum is immersed in the green of trees and you can breathe art and history all over there. I will always remember it!
If you could pick one artists, dead or alive, for a collaboration, who would you choose and why?
I admire a lot of artists! I would choose Victoria Francés for the world of illustration, with her surreal and gothic atmosphere. I would choose Gottfried Helnwein for painting.
With social communities like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest around it’s almost impossible to not have an internet presence. How important is the internet for you as an artist?
Nowadays it’s essential for an artist to be on social media. Especially for an emerging artist: you can be connected with many other artists in the whole world and you can exploit it like an opportunity to follow and be followed in return by your favourite galleries all over the world.
Can you tell a little bit about the project you’re currently working on?
I want to explore the portrait and the female figure in every aspect, so I think that my next projects will continue in that direction.
Last but not least: can you recommend a book, movie or artist you’ve enjoyed lately?
Well, lately I enjoyed an American tv series so much, “13 Reasons Why”. It’s based on a novel with the same title so you can also read the book.