Momusso, pseudonym of Martina Lorusso, is an artist who balances between design and graphics, who has made the dream world her forte and the melancholic substance of all her works. In 2010 an encounter completely changed the way she perceives her work. During and interesting and emotional interview she did us the honour of telling us about it and much more.
Martina, could you tell us about the way you started ‘without being able to draw’, as you often say?
“Not being able to draw at all”. A sentence I often repeat myself. I have never been worried about not being able to do something. It was the winter of 2013 when I started. An important love story had just ended. It took me two uneasy years, but in the end I managed to transform a mood in a work of art. Melancholy is always present in my works. It is important to remember. Love or its absence have always has always moved me towards the research of happiness. Through this quest, you can find the answers, you learn to know and love yourself. Illustrations and graphics have been my cure and still are. I am not ashamed of the way I felt back then; how lonely I felt and how hard it was to get back to life. We are all super heroes after all: we only need to find and use our super powers to defeat evil.
Can you tell us about your encounter with Nini Mulas and the way it helped find your way?
Nini was an exceptional person, unique I would say. Photography was my first love. I still remember the moment I decided Latin was a dead language for me. I always had to repeat the exam in September. My summers spent studying it. That day I was working on a translation. I was in Ostuni, at my grandparents’ house. I could smell the scent of flowers in the garden. The warm light, late in the afternoon. My granddad was watering his vegetable garden. Without thinking about it, I took my camera and I started photographing a butterfly with many difficulties. I seconded an instinct the moment I felt it. I started photographing everything. I loved those faces marked by time and the light that sculptured them. Nini taught me the importance of things and the importance of the past. I organized Ugo Mulas’ archive in Todi. Nini had moved to Umbria some years before. She had followed her friend Giuliana Soprani Dorazio, Piero’s wife. He is the pioneer of the Italian abstract art. I remember hundreds of music cassettes with interviews with the most important people of the era: from Gianni Agnelli to Umberto Eco. I remember the original photographic plates and dust stopping time. His house on Todi’s main square was an art exhibition itself. All the most prominent names of the XX century, starting from the period after the war. I learnt to know her and love her. She talked to me about her best friends: Fontana, Pistoletto, Arnaldo Pomodoro and Dario Fo. It was the summer of 2011. Nini was a great woman, generous, strong and irreverent. One of those people who are able to change something inside you. She taught me to find motivation within myself and not through others.
You have worked for varied events and artists. How do you collaborate with different realities in order to achieve the final result?
I try to know the person in front of me and to make the client trust me. It was like that with Niccolò Fabi, for example. I had to plan an idea and it was indispensable to know his taste, the way he thinks and what he would like to see in my work. I made him tell me about his project, in order to imagine it. It is important to base all communication following the client’s needs and this is possible if you study their universe as a whole. I like to vary, it pushes me beyond my limits.
In your works the dream world is fundamental. Is it deliberate or casual?
Some illustrations come from a dream of mine, though I prefer not to tell which one. I have been passionate about lucid dreaming for a few years. I am deepening my studies with books and daily exercises. I keep on nurturing my most creative side, which is less controllable and adjustable. I imagine things. My imaginary world lives independently, with its colours and forms. The dream experience helps me to get in touch with hidden emotions and fears. I am fascinated by the approach children have towards those things they see for the first time. They touch them, turn them, smell them and bite them. I try not to switch off my ability to be surprised and I managed to do so thanks to my oneiric sphere and my drawings. I am always fascinated by what you cannot see.
I know music is one of your most loyal companions. Do you think it is – in some way – always an integral part of your art?
I listen to music since the moment I wake up. I let myself be accompanied by my playlists that are played according to my mood and my timing. My favourite cartoon when I was a child was Fantasia by Disney and I think it has influenced me a lot. Shapes and colours that change according to the notes you listen to. Imagination has its own rhythm and it varies every day. Our mood has a rhythm, as well as our happiness. Music seconds me and I can say there is a song for each illustration I have created.
What does the future hold, as far as Momusso’s art is concerned?
It is called Vocabolario Sentimentale. I create new idioms in order to explain the feelings we have in a specific moment in time. Besides, I depict an object that does not exist or gets confuses with another that is linked to that particular word. Five months ago I thought it was necessary to find new words that could explain to someone else what I was feeling. I was talking about a relationship that ended once again. I enjoy this apparently. This time he was missing the right words and this lack was projected on me. It takes courage to pronounce certain words. The courage to feel certain emotions and live them to the core in order to know and manage them. It is a skill I try to develop through the void that gets created from these absences. It might be the desire to be more mature on a sentimental level. We all need to be understood. I feel the need to investigate those particular feelings I live during the day (sometimes they get mistaken by an ordinary feeling and are put aside). I wanted to find a name and an image for the love that does not go away. Here comes “amoràncora”, that could also be “amoreancòra”. A word linked to our fear of leaving: “valigone”; the sorrow of moving, “traslore”. The melancholy for a love that ended: “malincospazio”. Involuntarily, I activated empathy. New words have come to me and feelings that had no name and no shape. The project I am thinking about just needs some months. I am working on it! It can be seen as an always evolving ‘dreamwork’.