My name is Ilaria (aka icmanekineko) and I’m an Italian digital artist based in Shanghai, China. I started making analog collages at a young age and I rediscovered this art form while juggling a full-time office job and single parenthood, seeking a creative outlet. Since then, I have adopted collage as a means of personal and social liberation and as a critical lens to look at stereotypical views and representations of society and individuals.
Using mixed media digital collage, I turn thoughts and feelings into surreal images by fusing vintage imagery with the natural world. Each piece begins the same way: with a single word or thought that evokes an image. I then slice, layer and arrange pictures until a new visual narrative emerges, characterized by vibrant color and paper-like textures. The results are punchy collages inspired by the punk aesthetic of DIY that are thought-provoking while being playful and cheesy. I do not believe in “l’art pour l’art”. The purpose of my collages is to communicate a message, be it emotional or openly critical of the status quo. My intent is to question outdated social and cultural norms and behaviors, and stimulate a critical conversation leading to change. For this reason, I often repurpose sexist or lighthearted vintage imagery to explore complex themes such as feminism, mental health and human interactions, and make a powerful commentary on identity, gender roles and expectations