- SaMo-art is an Italian self-taught artist with a soft spot for the characters from Gondolin. Here's an exampe of her art before we get to the interview:
1. Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?
Hi everyone! My real name is Sara, I come from the North of Italy, near the city of Turin. I’m graduated in Political Sciences and Sociology, but the great passion of my life is art. Together with love for pets (I have one adorable doggy and three beautiful cats).
2. It is interesting to find out the stories behind people's usernames. What is yours?
Behind my usernames there is … a mistake! It’s the title of one of my favourite song from the english band Placebo, Lady of the flowers. When I registered myself on Deviant site I forgot the final “s”, and now I am “Ladyoftheflower” ^.^
3. When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you?
The first time I read Tolkien I was ten years old. For my birthday, my aunt gave me a box with The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and Silmarillion, complete with maps. Needless to say it was the best gift ever! I always devoured books, but I've never been a huge fan of fantasy. Tolkien is the exception. The world he describes is so real that I think I have mistaken it for a universe that really existed.
4. Did you read the books, or see the movies first?
I read the books many years before the movies were realized.
When the movies came out, many of the inner pictures of characters and scenes in the mind of the readers have been replaced by actors and settings from the movie. Did it happen to you as well? Did you try to prevent it?
I believe it’s impossible not to identify Aragorn with Viggo Mortensen and Gandalf with Ian Mckellen! These characters existed in my mind before the movies, they had a face and proper gestures, but I can confirm that later to trilogy it has been difficult to separate their aspects from that of the actors. I don’t think you can do something to prevent that from happening , but… do not watch movies!
5. How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien expert?
I admit to being fanatical enough to have read almost all the notes about the names in the Silmarillion, and whatever concerns the world of Middle- Earth, but I don’t consider myself an expert. One of the most amazing things about the work of Tolkien is that even if you read his works a million times you will always find a new detail or different meaning.
6. Who is your favourite Tolkien character and why?
I don't have a favorite character. Speaking of the Lord of the Rings - book, I loved Boromir so much, and I was not disappointed by cinematic representation. But what about Gandalf ? and Bilbo ? or Gollum ? No, I can not indicate a single favorite character, although I am mainly attracted by complicated characters who live tormented inner states. I’m that kind of person who likes the dark and obscure part of a story. I believe this is the reason why I'm hypnotized by Silmarillion and the other ancient tales.
7. Now, could you tell us something about you and art? Are you a professional artist, or is art just your hobby? When did you start doing it, and who or what influenced your style?
Absolutely, I’m not a professional artist. I would say that mine is a passion more than a hobby. I started playing with pencils, paper, oil colours since the age of five, influenced by my aunt, an artist herself. But I never studied painting. I’m the typical naïve painter!
8. How do you choose which scenes and characters to illustrate?
Typically, my subjects relate to the stories contained in the Silmarillion. There are certain characters or scenes that impressed me and I try to give them a life. This happens first in my mind. I’m not always able to achieve what I want, I try! A lot has to do with the color blue. I know it's hard to understand, but it's my color guide. Before painting, I see everything coloured in light blue.
9. The main topic of your pictures seems to be Gondolin. What makes this part of the Silmarillion special for you?
All stories contained in The Silmarillion are small masterpieces of perfection. Tolkien drew some details, often without going deeper, yet their emotional strength is surprising. You can immerse yourself in that world but you also have to use a lot of imagination. I like this. And I have always been fascinated by elves and their history. In the movies, they are represented as icy creatures and perhaps a little indifferent and distant from men, and I think that many people have that vision of Tolkien elves. But after reading Silmarillion, you have to change your mind: there is passion, despair, loneliness, contradictions. In the storyline of the fall of Gondolin I see many similarities with modern times and with the fate of humanity.
11. What other book or movies (or anything else) inspire you to create fanart, and why?
No other book. Tolkien is the one.
12. What art technique is your favourite? Do you rather keep to the art techniques and styles you are familiar with, or do you experiment with new ones as well?
Basically, I paint with oil on canvas. My subject are trees and forest. I have a special feeling with all those things that grow freely in the ground. I am very involved with nature, perhaps for this reason I love Tolkien so much. You can find a little part of my works on my deviant page. Since the last year I have decided to try digital art, and I bought my first tablet. I’m a beginner and it is a really vast world! I haven’t chosen as subject Tolkien universe, it was an obvious choice: I became interested in digital art observing the masterpieces of many Tolkien artists on deviantART. Their works inspired me.
13. Do you have some tips and tricks you would like to share with the other artists?
I'm not so good as to give advice! I would say: try to create what you see in your mind , no matter how strange it may seem.
14. Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?
- a picture from other fandom or original picture you are most proud of?
- a picture that fits your current mood?
- a picture that was hardest to paint?
- any other picture you would like to share with us and why?
15. What key people in your life, (on or off of dA) have been inspirations to you, or has supported you, as an artist? You can also tell us why, if you want.
My aunt has definitely inspired me. We always had a very close relationship. She taught me to express myself without worrying the judgment of others. But, I can’t tell that I need her support. Create (painting and wrinting) is the thing that makes me happiest in life. My personal refuge. I could not live without. In Deviant community, unfortunately I do not have many close contacts because I have no time enough. But I met some beautiful artists, one of them is Brunild. She is italian as I am, truly exceptional as a painter and a very kind person.
16. Is there something else you would like to tell to the fans of Tolkien and your art?
Well: this is a wonderful community, with such amazing talents! I’m grateful to everyone who supports me and I regret not having the time to be more present.
Thank you very much for your time and answers!