Conversations with an Artist: Mariella Pilato
Mariella designs bold, sexy statement pieces that will add texture and depth to your wardrobe in a way we really haven't come across before. Her architectural references and use of organic materials reflect sophisticated taste and innovation. These are strong, fierce pieces that link her Italian heritage of heroic legends, myths and mermaids with the magical history and ancient arts of the Indonesian archipelago. In her collection, Mariella pushes both her imagination and creativity to new artistic levels.
Describe the moment you realized art fed your soul.
It has been a natural process in which I grew up with. As a child I was drawing and sculpting, creating scenographic stages for my dolls; and as a teenager I was knitting and making my own clothes.
What themes do you pursue in your art?
As I range from one technique or craft to another, depending on what I want to create at the time, different themes develop and I explore them. I am particularly interested in modern architecture because I appreciate the geometry of architecture and find I can recreate on a smaller scale in a piece of jewelry what I would like to be doing in a larger media.
All my work is handmade and starts from a concept that I flesh out through initial sketches from which develops a fabrication of minerals and metals, sometimes with organics, wherever or whenever I can incorporate them. It is a time consuming process that leaves me wondering where the day went! Some of my ideas present me with challenges to learn new techniques and skills to create the desired effect that I envision in my mind's eye.
Tell us about what influences the direction for your jewelry collection.
I love many things! I always look to accessorize in a way that I would do for myself. I also find inspiration in objects and materials that I could possibly use in making a design. Everything starts from an idea in my drawing book; from that idea I start visualizing the piece and the materials it can be reproduced from and how to make it into a piece of jewelry.
How has your work developed over time?
Where do I start? My work has evolved a lot. I find that as the years pass by, not only my taste changes with time but my experience and my craft has grown, too. What I liked before once I’ve ‘been there done that’ it no longer thrills me. In retrospect, I can clearly see the evolution of my style... I always make new designs, that’s what feeds me so each collection is different yet somehow built upon the previous exploration of style or theme.
What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?
Sketch book and a fine nib pen
Do you collect anything?
From unusual stones to anything that could be used as an element in my jewelry or just be beautiful in its own right. That’s the fun part. Much of the time I look at objects I have found and put them away until I know how I want to utilize them. These become part of ‘my collection’ which is purely to enjoy, to adorn my environment and inspire me. I also love to collect art pieces to decorate my house.
What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve seen, read, watched or listened to recently?
I was recently traveling through Italy with my sister and we went to San Gimignano, a little medieval town in Tuscany, famous for its many tower houses. What impressed me was how an architectural style beside withstanding the ravages of time over the centuries, could still be so contemporary. The exquisite detail of the iron work that at the time were designed for a practical use (whether that be holding the torches to illuminate the streets at night or securing the horses) are simply astounding to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self about your artistic journey?
To make jewelry that I would wear to please myself, to create pieces that I cannot find yet would like to. That, and “Don’t hold back”.
Mariella Pilato is originally from Sorrento, Italy, and was educated at the Accademia de Belle Arti in Napes and Florence. She now lives in Bali where she has evolved her craft, using gems and materials in bold and unusual ways. We're so thrilled she stopped by our shop while she was in the states earlier this year and we formed an instant connection. And can now bring you these stunners!
~ Bonnie & Jeffrey