La storia di Illusorya: esplorando il "Dark Grotesque" - Intervista su Beautiful Bizarre Magazine

The Story of Illusoria: Exploring the "Dark Grotesque" - Interview on Beautiful Bizarre Magazine

The premise is simple: asking the public saying no ə same ə , especially as an artist ə, is a real nightmare. We are always afraid of creating misunderstandings or even making a fool of myself.
When Beautiful Bizarre , one of the most famous international contemporary art magazines, gave me the opportunity to talk about myself, I never imagined I could read an article ended up so concise but also blunt as a slap in the face. Who better than them, could bring to life all that you wanted to express?

A journey through the first attempts to enter the world of art, with the colorful Fairy Art, the exciting but also disheartening successes thanks to the Creepypasta world up to the awareness - due to inner conflicts - and the entry into the world Dark Art .
Also, a brief step about my, alas, now adventure "on hiatus" with the foundation of Memento Tea Gallery -together with the "art partner in crime" Sandra Hultsved - and why lately I am more focused on my personal projects than exhibiting in galleries.

Below, the link to the interview in the original language:
The Tale of Illusorya: Exploring the "Dark Grotesque (

Obviously, if English is not part of you, I invite you to continue reading this article for the complete translation!
Happy reading , and I hope you find it interesting ... Let me know what do you think, or if you want to ask me more, do not hesitate to leave a comment below!

WARNING: this article explores the topics of suicide and self-harm.

The Story of Illusorya: Exploring the "Dark Grotesque"

Article by Natalia Joruk (deputy director - Beautiful Bizarre Magazine)

A question that constantly arises is: what makes a person an "artist"? Is it when you feel comfortable and practicing your profession or when your work is appreciated by others? Is it when you finally find yourself exhibiting in a gallery? Or is it simply the moment when you feel the satisfaction of creating your own art? Luckily, Stefania Russo - better known as Illusorya - never got too caught up in the philosophy of the title. She is an Italian artist who identifies with the most elegant and dreamlike forms of the " Dark Grotesque ", evolving through many styles and genres in her journey to date.

Illusorya is probably the product of instinct and following one's heart. She was open to change and experimentation, and quite impressively, she threw away the fear of completely changing her style as soon as the right time came.
“In December 2019, I decided to say goodbye to my old path and start a new one: Illusorya. I informed my followers that I would no longer create [the same art] ... And, surprise: they were thrilled and happy with my decision! " laughs. " Most of the feedback was about how I was also professionally improved, with this transition ".

[My followers] have told me that, finally, my art truly reflects [who I am]. This is the most appreciated response I have ever received.

Caccia Selvaggia - Illusorya - Stefania Russo

Travel is often an integral part of the destination. This is the arc in which we learn and grow; Sometimes, we're not even the same person we imagined we were achieving when we started. But personally, I love learning about stories like Stefania's ...

A story of popularity, rejection and creepypasta

" I worked, a long time ago, under the pseudonym of LadyFanhir - more as a hobby artist You could say that I was" born "as a Fate artist, mainly to give pleasure to those who looked at my art. , everyone makes mistakes that then influence the straight path! I worked mainly in Letraset Pantone Markers (the influence of the fashion design school I attended), so with very vivid colors.

I switched to "Stefania Russo Art" in 2014 when I started exhibiting in Comics Fairs - it was nice to use my real name. Here, I was popular for my Creepypasta illustrations.
Interestingly, this wasn't intentional at all: I once painted Slenderman and BOOM!
Unfortunately this was not the way Stefania wanted to focus.
“My intention was never to be a Creepypasta Artist. During those years, I also had a desire to exhibit my works in international galleries and collectives, but I often found myself being rejected on the assumption that my art was confused and could not follow a certain genre. Subsequently, I developed a strong art block. On the one hand, I was able to make money with my Creepypasta art. But on the other hand, I was tired of getting noticed like that ".

Till Death Do Me Part - Illusorya - Stefania Russo

Depression, evolution -e from the ashes Illusorya rises again

Stefania Russo's world has changed dramatically after a personal event of her led her to suffer from a period of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. She, therefore, ended up undergoing rehabilitation at an auxological institute, to help recover from her BED binge eating disorder and anxiety. During her time in the clinic, she made many friends, hearing the individual stories that brought them here and learning through their difficult experiences.

This transition in portraying a deep "reservoir of emotions" has led Stefania on the new path she was looking for.

"From that moment on I felt the need to represent much more than just a portrait. If, initially, I enjoyed adding horror details, now I felt the urge to let the protagonists tell their own stories. My art is just a message that the characters portrayed want to tell.
At first you might see a smiling protagonist, well dressed in a gold crown - and then, notice her blood running from her wrist.
You may see a tortured character with bleeding open flesh smiling at his own pain, happy, because hearing that makes him feel more alive than an illusory comfortable life.
Emotions can be good or bad. But they are still Emotions. "

And ... Hymn to Dark Art

Having grown up under the spell of the likes of Luis Royo and Gerald Brom, she found herself creating worlds of Fantasy and Dark art; two genres that she has always adored.
"I love the atmosphere and feeling in [Royo's] art. He taught me not to be afraid to play with light (and white). His women are sensual, desperate, strong warriors. ... For me they are not just representations. They convey pure emotions. And Gerald Brom: I am emotionally attached to his art these days. I love Brom's creatures, he taught me that it is not always necessary to have a detailed background to tell a story ".

This led her to open the Memento Tea Gallery with her "art partner in crime" (Sandra Hultsved).It was a hymn to dark art in gallery form Memento Tea ran for three years before the conflicting bureaucracy of her home country (Italy) finally forced them to close.
This struggle to thrive as a company in less mainstream genres is an all too familiar story.
Stefania, however, did not give up. She started focusing on herself again as an independent artist: "I wanted to represent what I really feel, in my art and in my soul" c undivide.
Thus Illusorya .

was born

The emotional artist

Human emotions are complicated and reactive, and Stefania has found that her artistic creation methods have radically changed to reflect the nature of her themes. “My main inspiration is to be quite instinctive. It is rare that you do preliminary sketches (unless it is a project or a commission, of course). My characters develop directly on the canvas; they are human and mental behaviors. I love to see the daily moods of the people around me and turn them into a kind of fairy tale, sometimes relating them to myth and folklore ".

“Sometimes, I put my feelings, like dreams, on the canvas. They are quite violent and full of action. I often dream of someone hurting me and killing me. I really feel these sensations, such that I wake up with pain. Of course, all of this is due to anxiety, but I appreciate them because they make me feel more "alive" - ​​I feel like a character in a story ... Like those in my paintings! "

Illusorya she loves to play with artistic styles according to mood, but in the past this process has made her incredibly uncomfortable. While some appreciated her versatility, " most galleries and projects" admit, " rejected my work because I didn't seem to follow a set style ".

"That was my first depressive battle over my work as an artist. But, now I have learned to follow what I feel and to respect the emotional artist I feel I am".

A Trapped Life Into To Fear Die - Illusorya - Stefania Russo

Your art is like a comfortable home

I assume you are here, reading this article, because you are interested in the art of Illusorya. This would make you one of the many people who find solace in her darkly dramatic images of her. There is something in the realms of dark art that can strike a chord in the viewer - beyond the initial horror often lies meaning and thought, representations of emotions and experiences that we all know. Good or bad, we can connect with art.

Illusorya 's paintings, both in watercolor and, more recently, in oil, are wonderfully Gothic. Although it focuses mainly on women, Illusorya also enjoys portraying queer and androgynous people.
Her characters portray the self-proclaimed " Dark Grotesque " themes that Illusorya connects so deeply with.
As a collector puts it: " They are perfect in their own darkness ".

Clients often commission me for their portraits or paint works that represent their stories, because (as one collector put it): "You and your art are like a comfortable home, where I can talk and open up without judgement" . I really appreciated that someone felt that way.

For now, Illusorya leaves the gallery scene, focusing instead on exposure at Comic Fairs and Festivals. However, with the pandemic triggering an unknown future, it obviously cannot confirm which events will still be confirmed.

When we finished our chat, he left me with the following insight, and I can't wait to see what he will create next:
"A few years ago, I was so close to suicide that it opened me up for good. eyes .. Now, I am slowly waking up to paint what I really want and personally I feel more satisfied with the latest works ".

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1 comment

Bravissima ti meriti tanto successo…È stato emozionante leggere questo, anche se ha fatto male almeno so ora come nascono le tue meravigliose opere. Complimenti! Erica


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