Interview from World Social Forum

Laira Maganuco, the artist, the woman, the sculptor, how would you describe yourself?

Well, the term sculptor could partly define me, but in my works I use different artistic techniques besides the sculptural one. I think that the perfect definition is: “artist”. In my opinion, the concept of artist is not simply connected to the creation, but it has a deeper and spiritual connotation. It refers to something that comes from within, either you own it or not. For this reason, answering to your question, yes, surely I would call myself: “an artist”.

How and when is your passion for art born?

Since childhood, I’ve always been a child who used to make sculptures with Dido and Das, the need to create is something that has always lived inside of me.

When did you realize that the sculpture would have been your means of expression?

Reconnecting to the previous question, I can say that my artistic path started from my first steps. However, the real breakthrough comes about 4 years ago, when, by necessity, I had time and mode to dedicate myself completely to what before was only a big passion. Carving became a professional possibility, that leads me to get up at every hour of the day and night to give life to my fantasies.

Your works are hyper realistic and very particular, for this reason I ask you, how is your work technically born?

It’s hard to give an unequivocal answer. Periods and methods vary depending on the genre, size and also inspiration of the moment. Said this, before we get to the final result, I always let my work decant on the table for a few days. Only then you can see errors and correct them. The first phase is the mould implementation. Maybe this is the more practical and complex creative part. Everything has to be prepared carefully to have satisfying results. So, the first step is studying the way to create the mould according to the dimension and position of the subject. On the basis of this I decide to print a whole piece or not. Another important element is the casting declivity. This can seem the simplest part, but you have to make a preliminary study to avoid the creation of air bubbles or uncovered sections. In the mould implementation there are a lot of things to consider and the production duration can last several days. The material that I use the most is the platinum silicone, the same used in the creation of special effects. The fourth phase concerns the colouring, that is made with an airbrush. It is fundamental for a realistic final result. The last phase, instead, relates the insertion of hair, eyes, teeth, scars, etc.

How much being self-taught has been a limit and when a conquest in your production?

Being a self-taught has been, at the same time, a pros and cons in my artistic path. The good thing was to be in contact with other artists, in the fairs and exhibitions in which I participated. Seeing that a professional appreciates your work is something unique. For a self-taught the creative path is longer and harder. You need to try and try again to create something good. Today I don’t consider myself a complete artist, in the artistic field the improvement is continuous and lifelong. In my little, I will never stop learning and growing.

Which authors have most influenced you?

Surely the hyper realistic authors, I have a great passion for Patricia Piccinini’s works. They reflect very much my style and aesthetic taste.

How much of you, your fears and fantasies turns into silicone?

In every work there is a part of me. My works stem from my fantasy, but there is nothing that reflects my fears. My creatures can be considered disturbing, terrifying, but in my eyes they cause sympathy and affection. I’ve always loved everything that is different, in fact, if you look under the disguise, you can see that the majority of my creatures are represented in a neonatal and/or nourishment age group.

How long does it take to create every single piece?

There are no standard timings. Times are subjective and they depend on various factors, it can take two days, but also several months.