Stephanie Lucchese’s painting practice is largely self-taught, and is influenced by pop culture and images of women where she grew up in Sao Paolo, and how sexuality within culture and entertainment shaped her identity as an adult, and as an artist. Find more on her Instagram page at the link following the interview!
Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I am from Brazil, and currently based between Sao Paulo and New York. I’m an art school dropout and taught myself to paint. It can be limiting sometimes, but it also forced me to come up with solutions and little tricks that I probably wouldn’t have learned from a formal education.
What do you like most about working where you do?
New York is such an electric, inspiring place. Every three steps you take, you see about five different things happening. Strange scenes and interactions, odd forgotten objects, visual information written on the walls, interesting looking trash, art, food, people, pop culture clichés… It’s endless. It feels as if you’re in the eye of the storm and there’s this crave to cast some lightning bolts yourself.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
I’m crazy about food and fiction. I like to think of banquets, and how sometimes food can make us think of sex, and how sex can help one understand humans. Why do we sometimes ritualize food and the act of eating, and what is it that makes it so erotic?
Growing up as a girl in Brazil, fetish was a key factor in shaping my identity. Maybe it was the semi-naked women on television during our most celebrated national holidays, or the fact that my favorite children’s TV show was hosted by a former porn-actress in a mini-skirt. With time, this became a theme of interest and a tool of self-discovery, as I incorporated it into my practice.
I am slowly learning to look at fetish with fresh eyes. Sometimes it instigates a perverse sense of curiosity that is so interesting and sincere. Desire is a mirror that reflects unintended layers of identity, and this is what I want to paint.
What is your process like?
I write and draw a lot. Sometimes talking nonsense to myself while doing it, making up stories about fictional people and places. These disconnected fragments usually inspire a rough drawing that later become a painting.
Is there any subject or theme you’ve been particularly interested in lately?
I’ve been obsessed with the story of the birth of Venus, from the severed penis of Uranus that fell into the sea when Saturn chopped it off because he wouldn’t stop raping his mom, Earth. Which means violence, blood and vengeance gave birth to a goddess associated with love, desire, inspiration and everything that’s sexy. So disturbing, but kind of… makes sense?
Do you have any routines or rituals in the studio that get you into the mode or mindset to make your work?
I usually start by listening to really old-fashioned love songs and singing them out loud while cleaning up or mixing colors.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a series of zoomed-in portraits of women inspired by characters from mythology, like Europa, Antiope and Leda, disrupting it’s assumed roles as secondary characters — victims of rape by Zeus — by making them into protagonists and suggesting a plot twist.