Our interview for today features Graphic designer/Photographer Speranza Casillo. She had gathered several awards for her work, including the PWI as the Best Artist of the Year, and the Budget Oscar, promoted by Ferpi – Italian Public Relations Federation. She is a very passionate designer, and she shares this passion through her projects. Each piece that Spé creates is an inspiration and has a story to tell. Get to know more about this wonderful artist and be absolutely inspired!
Hello Spé! Thank you for letting us have this interview. Can you please introduce yourself to our readers?
I’m Speranza, I’m an art director and graphic designer and I live in Rome.
What made you pursue photography and design? Was this kind of work a childhood dream for you?
As a child, I loved to draw, but I really had no clear ideas what I wanted to do when I grew up… perhaps even as an adult I had no clear ideas… I like to think that things have happened naturally, without my forcing them one way or the other. At age 19 I moved to Rome to study design, as soon as I finished school I started to work. I discovered my passion for photography when my fiancé at the time gave me a Canon Ixus compact 2.1, only because it was on sale… :)
What image/person you have captured would you say inspired you the most?
I collaborated for three years with Roberto Saviano, author of Gomorrah. He lives under police protection because of his outspoken work against the mafia. I supported his ideas until they were in agreement with mine, eventually I stopped the collaboration. But certainly Gomorrah is powerful, it feels strong enough to move atoms, it moves people. And it inspired me and many others to do something to change our society. In the three years I collaborated with Saviano, I shot many photographs and I organized an installation piece against crime. More than 900 people sent in their photos as a way of saying NO to crime. That same year, I won a PWI (Italian Web Awards) award as “Best Artist of Year”. I have taken deep inspiration also from two other meetings, which ironically only lasted a short afternoon, when I photographed the Maestro of cinema Mario Monicelli, and Don Andrea Gallo, an unconventional priest, a true warrior. Both are the kind of people who are put into this world to recharge our energy and inspire us. And then I have a particular place that is inspiring to me and gives me creative energy. Everyone has their own, mine is Kenya.
“Next Africa” was an amazing work, which I think exposes the true essence of the country. What was your experience like working for the Maasai community, creating these wonderful brochures for them and having this work chosen to support the Project Migration?
I’m so glad you like this work, because I love it so much! I started this collaboration with the Maasai community in a magical way, without looking for it. The owner of the Kenyan lodge found my work on the web and he chose me as art director for the lodge’s publicity materials. He proposed a barter: I designed the brochures for their camp, in exchange for travel. When I got there I was overwhelmed by the beauty of this untouched world; in Kenya, in a tent surrounded by the lions of the savannah, I realized that God is the best designer. :) “Next Africa” is a way to share that Beauty; the images were processed with Photoshop and I added other objects and texts from my travelogue. This photographic project was selected to support Project Migration, a project created by Hilary Rowald and promoted by the musician Sting so I had a solo exposition in New York and in Rome.