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Illustrator and artist Stina Persson: Immacolata and her Friends

Exhibiting at Gallery Hanahou at 611 Broadway, NYC through July 6.

Find more info here: www.galleryhanahou.com

Keep your eyes on Stina Persson from Lund! A well-known illustrator whose ethereal watercolors have been seen in publications such as Elle, Marie Claire, and Travel & Leisure, Persson now brings to New Yorkers a set of portraits of fiery Sicilian beauties, which can be seen at the Gallery Hanahou. With smoldering eyes and sultry lips, these women stares at us with a professionally bored look, bringing back the old-world beauty of screen sirens like Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida. The portraits are fresh and creative, looking at them feels sort of like browsing through a vintage Vogue.
“I studied fine arts and fashion in Italy and feel especially attracted to the south there, with its mixture of beauty and grime,” Persson said at the opening of her Immacolata & her friends exhibition. “And then when I was pregnant, I got a book with all these fantastical southern Italian names in it, because I wanted to give my child an Italian name. Some of them are really over-the-top, you know, Crocefissa Filomena, Onorata… I decided to take these names and give them faces. They represent my image of Italy.”
Persson, however, usually works digitally, scanning, fixing, and rearranging her images until they reach a state of perfection. Not so now. These Italian ladies are done in watercolor, gouache, ink and cut Mexican colored paper (the festive Papel Picado) and they are true works of art.
“The gallery told me not to worry, they didn’t want a commercial look, they wanted it like this,” Persson continued. “However, I had a lot of anxiety, because I saw all flaws and couldn’t fix them – as I would’ve with my regular illustrations – because I had glued paper on top. That was a bit frustrating, and a lot of the paintings didn’t work at all because of that. But I liked doing them, it was fun, and I want them to feel direct and have texture.”
Persson currently lives in Stockholm, but has lived, studied and worked in Tokyo, New York (she lived in Queens for nine years while studying at Pratt), and Florence. Her illustration style is, she says, about “finding the right balance between the edgy and the elegant, the raw and the beautiful.” Some of her recent projects include the poster for the musical Billy Elliott, the cover for the magazine Flaunt and a summer campaign for Absolut Vodka. Among her corporate clients are: Godiva Chocolatier, Atlantic Records, Macy’s, Björn Borg Clothing, and DKNY.
“I have drawn since I was little,” Persson said. “Then when I was in my teens I stopped, that’s when you feel you can’t get anything right. Then I picked it up again. I live in Stockholm, but I work mostly for the American market, and I have an agent in Japan.”
Immacolata & her friends can be seen through July 6.
For more info, see:
611 Broadway, Suite 730
Phone: (646) 486-6586

Text: Eva Stenskär
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