As a member of the international community in Florence, I’ve gotten many a crash course on the historical importance of fine arts here and its continued cultural significance both in Italy and even globally. With all due respect to Botticelli and his dazzling Venus, I’ve grown curious about the more current art scene, who’s fostering it and if any of them look like me. To my delight, I discovered that there’s a growing community of young artists from all over the world who have decided to set up shop here. It’s courageous to pursue art in one of the most artistic cities in the world. To be a voice heard among the masses is no small feat and so in an effort to explore the scene, I talked to three emerging international artists about their experiences in the Renaissance city.
Arianna Anda (29) is a painter originally from Ecuador, but who grew up in south Florida, USA. Before coming to Florence, she had completed her undergraduate degree in painting at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia. She’s a lover of new experiences so, despite her adoration for Venice, her passion for tactile design combined with video making brought her to Florence to study fashion art direction at Polimoda in 2020.
She finds herself more independent in Florence. During her time as a student in Venice, she was surrounded by a strong art scene and was able to easily meet and socialize with like minded artists. In Florence, the creative atmosphere is generally more expanded with a strong presence of music and theater as well as classical arts. Because of this, Anda has taken the opportunity to enjoy working in her own space. Previously working in ateliers and more student-orientated settings, Florence has been an opportunity for her to find solitude with her work and become more in touch with what she wants to present to the world. That being said, she notes that the support she has received has been a big motivator to continue her art practices and expand her interests.
The greenery of the city has become a major focal point in Anda’s work. In this city of stone, the little green gems such as the rose garden are some of her favorite places to draw inspiration from. She doesn’t miss any of the indoor treasures, however, as she graciously takes advantage of the countless art museums and regularly visits them to appreciate and be inspired by her artistic predecessors.
Inna Morozova (24) is a cinematographer, painter and jewelry maker living in Florence. She arrived here a year ago after traveling extensively to other countries but always dreaming of Italy. She has an adoration for Italian cinematography, architecture and Dante, which she took with her to study at the Florence Classical Arts Academy in order to complete her third higher education degree.
During Morozova’s time as a student in Russia, she met a professor who would inspire her eventual leap to the Renaissance city. Combined with a strong intuition that Florence would suit her well, she made her way here and hasn’t looked back since. Upon arrival, the rest was like magic.
Florence is, no doubt, an inspiring place. As an artist, Morozova finds that a crucial step in the creative process is to be inspired by your surroundings. Being in a place with extensive history, culture, and heritage is what fills her soul and inspires her to create. Florence is also a great city in terms of accessibility. Visiting bigger cities like Milan or Rome is simple and the slower lifestyle that Florence has to offer allows her to relax and enjoy each day as it comes.
The city is as classical as it is beautiful, so one goal through her work is to maintain the classical techniques that Florence is so well known for, while simultaneously pulling the art scene into a state of modernity with rule-breaking themes. She finds that there’s an importance in showing both ugly and wonderful parts of life, but chooses to show all of it through rich colors. Compared to a Wes Anderson film, it’s important for her to display the depth of life with a sense of candidness. Inna has just finished her first movie here in Florence and is currently showcasing successful exhibitions featuring her paintings and handmade jewelry.
Poiret Masse (30) is a ceramist from the San Francisco Bay area in California, USA. During her college years, she spent a semester in Siena, where she tried painting restoration for the first time. Upon returning back to California, she began working with a potter, meanwhile dreaming about her eventual return to Italy. She then pursued dual citizenship through her Italian heritage and moved her life to Florence.
Masse initially found her footing in art conservation. Through working with paper restorer Beatrice Cuniberti on biographical research in conjunction with a restoration project on Siriès Cerroti’s The Virgin Mary Presents the Baby Jesus to Santa Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi, she was able to discover the city in a new light.
She found ceramics by chance when stumbling upon a pottery school in her neighborhood, where she later learned the craft and honed her own style. She notes that her hometown in California bears a lot of east Asian influence in ceramics, however her works are more reflective of her own experiences and desire to be engaged with the history here.
Throughout her eight years in Florence so far, she has found that it’s a city of high connectivity: everyone knows everyone. This interwovenness leads to a network of artistic people who want to help each other grow and find traction in a city so saturated with art. Any international resident understands the work it takes to have a life here, but it’s a stimulating and worthy challenge.