Valentina Morianz (25) is a talented and emerging artist who lives in Graz and is in her last year of studies at FH Joanneum. She tells us how she stands her ground within the creative scene in Graz by designing illustrations and graphics, and making videos and photos. We also get to know why she loves to steal quotes in old taverns. Some selected works have already been shown at the Graz-based gallery Les Editions Artfabriek , where you can also buy them.
You are still so young and have already traveled the world – what influence did that have on you?
That is correct. I already experienced time in Australia, New Zealand, Bali, an exchange year in Valencia and some internships abroad. I was 16, when I was in New York for the first time. I immediately felt that I wanted to do something creative, because in NYC creativity is in the air. You get hit by it at every corner and it really inspires and motivates you. After returning to Graz, I did feel limited in terms of opportunities but I still had the feeling that this is my place. The only problem with staying over here is that you sometimes think too complicated and in repetitive patterns, due to the fact that the creative community is very little. As soon as you visit other places, you find new and innovative things that you can mentally save or pack and bring home. Still, Graz is also a great city for artists to test their potential. From all fields there is only a handful of things and representatives and it is ‘live and let live’. There is by far less competition than in big cities like Vienna or New York. I think it is an intimate and manageable environment, where everybody is quite open. At the moment I do not know any other city that I like more.
Are you traveling because of wanderlust or better prospects in your professional future?
For sure it is my personal interest because there are also things about Graz that I do not like, like bourgeois thinking. Hence, I love going to other places and explore if there are other cities that are nice to live in. As far as work is concerned, I do think that it makes sense to live and work abroad. It can be super helpful to be able to handle cultural differences. And you always grow in a personal way.
What has been your favorite place until now?
Every place is different and peculiar in a positive as well as negative way. So I cannot answer that objectively. I think that New York is a very cool city but unfortunately you can practically not survive there because everything is so expensive. Still, the good thing of today is that theoretically you can live and work everywhere because you are so independent due to the internet. These days everybody is linked and there are people who live in Thailand, work in any co-working space and go surfing every day. At night they skype with the Graz-based company they work for. Also Detroit is a place to be again, especially for New Yorkers who move away from the Big Apple, because they want more life quality for affordable prices.
What is Austropoetry (s. also www.valentinamorianz.com) about?
While I was staying in other countries I realized how peculiar the Austrian language is and that we have so many terms and sayings that Germans, for example, do not understand. In Spain I met some Germans who did not even know what a ‘Sackerl’ (Austrian word for ‘bag’) is (laughs). I found that hilarious and started to play with our language in terms of graphics. You can only hear many of those quotes or sayings in old taverns, pubs or you find them in rural almanacs. Still, they are part of our culture. I find it a nice contrast to beautifully illustrate something that actually has a dirty connotation (s. „Wer viel sudert, wird net pudert“ – translated freely: ‘The one who moans a lot, is less likely to get laid.’). People of my age do not use those sayings and if you do not maintain or save them, they will disappear. Additionally, illustrations like those do not yet exist and I find them more refreshing than all the ‘Carpe Diem’ slogans on Pinterest. The name Austropoetry of course derives from Austropop and I did also process one or the other line from well-known Austropop hits.
You produce videos, too. For which celebrity would you like to make a video?
I learned a lot when I worked for OchoReSotto and met already a lot of cool people. Afterwards I got to know Gregor Schenker and started to cooperate with him. We both know what we are like and how we work. The big problem with video productions is usually money. I am not really a big fan of famous people because I think that the less known have much more potential. The big ones are being pushed by everybody anyway and there is a huge marketing team behind them. The little ones are more interesting and need to be supported. If I had to choose somebody known, then I could only think of OK Go now, who were very successful with their treadmill video.
How do you deal with criticism?
To tell you the truth, I am thankful for constructive feedback. I have the feeling that we Austrians do not criticize enough. If everybody just applauds and tells you how beautiful your work is, you cannot learn anything or further develop. Sometimes I would be really grateful for more reflective opinions instead of having a blade in your back as soon as you turn around. That is somehow very Austrian (laughs).
How does your workspace look like and what do you need to be creative?
I am a total slob and work anywhere possible. I always carry my drawing stuff with me and if I feel like it, I start drawing.
Do you prefer working alone or in a team?
Both. If you work in a team, you must be able to rely on others, which is not always easy. Still, it depends on every single person.
What is the work attitude of your generation like?
I have realized that within my generation the limits between work and private life blur. I often meet people in the evening that I also work with. I find it important that I do something that makes sense in my life – if it was different, I would consider it a loss of time. Maybe I could do something that I would not find satisfying for a lot of money for a short period of time. You also learn something from that – maybe only the fact that you would not want to do this job ever again.
What would be a perfect Friday evening for you?
I would invite friends, open a bottle of wine and later go to a concert together. Afterwards maybe have one or two drinks and return home between 1 and 6AM.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
Wow! Love is such a big word. I do believe in fascination at first sight. Maybe this can lead to love one day but you need to get to know each other. You can only love someone you know – everything else is a kind of admiration.
What is your perception of the female gender?
Unfortunately, we are not confident enough and very often stand in our own way. We should not always compare ourselves to others – most of all not to those women who present themselves perfectly via different social media channels because that is not real and it is unhealthy to compare yourself to them. We must not forget that this is their job and they do nothing else but work on those pictures. And then the women’s quota! It should not matter whether you are a guy or a woman – the better one gets the job. Obsessive feminism really annoys me!
Which superpower would you like to have?
I’d love to be invisible. I would watch people the whole day. It must be really interesting to see how they behave if they feel unobserved.
What is still on your bucket list?
OMG – I have a long list although I have never written it down. I would really love to do the Dive-Master – now I am an Advanced Diver – and I wish to learn many more languages. I think that if you learn a new language, suddenly there is a whole new world available to you. And there are still continents I have not seen yet, like South America. I die to go there.
Who would you like to interview?
There are so many great singers that I fancy. Maybe Nina Simone or Janis Joplin – still, they are not alive anymore. I also find Sophia Coppola and Grace Jones interesting. Frida Kalho for sure would have had a lot of stories to tell, too.
Challenge: Daily life. Doing what you love. Relationships in general.
Respect: You should meet everybody with respect.
Pain: The mental one is the worst.
Freedom: Having enough of everything so that you can do what you want.
Failure: A chance to gather experiences and to grow.
Womanliness: A big pool of opportunities. The power to control men. The burden of education.