Interview with Alice Pasotti - Artist Alleys In Italy

Y: Tell us a little about yourself and your work, your artistic style and chosen medium, anything about your art that you feel is important. 

A: My name is Alice Pasotti, I am 26 years old and I have always wanted to be an illustrator. Although it is a love born late in my life, I have never had any inspiration outside of the art world. I originally wanted to be a tattoo artist, but unfortunately I had to escape from the industry, it is much 'naughtier' than you think. Knowledge is not shared willingly and many people are not very loyal; also, following the methods of some is a relatively easy (and therefore saturated) industry, many find designs online and just have to apply themselves to the technique. 

As for illustration, I have to say that I got into it between the end of high school and the beginning of university, I had never really thought about artists who dedicate their art to illustrating books, albums and novels; I originally wanted to enrol at the Brera Academy. I consider myself a traditional illustrator who uses traditional mediums, it is only in the last year that I have finally approached digital, albeit for work-related reasons. I am not crazy about it, but I still find it really useful. To be honest, my absolute favourite technique will always be oil; the problem is that it is extremely complex, time-consuming and quite difficult to scan. Generally, I often work with acrylics, gouache or pencils. 

My works belong to a very personal world and I think they always have something to say, although it is never linear. I do not necessarily follow the trend of the moment: I prefer to conceal the message rather than commodify it, a practice that is increasingly seen at the moment. Also, by concealing the meaning I always have a way of discovering the different messages that viewers see within my works.

I am a huge fan of cultures, legends, folklore, creatures and monsters, and I think this interest of mine shines through in my creations. I have a great respect for everyone's search for their origins, which is why I tend to include tribal elements in my works. This interest was born during a workshop, when one of my teachers told me that in order to give depth to my art, I had to look for it in my origins. I realised that I don't have precise origins, I have always travelled a lot with my parents in a camper van and I have never felt completely 'at home' in a specific place. 

It may seem a contradiction with what I previously stated, but I think that personal research within art does not necessarily have to teach or convey something; nowadays we always need to find a clear and obvious message, but I don't think there has to be the meaning of life behind every work. The old masters did not necessarily insert a meaning, it is we who have searched for it and presumably found one.


Y: What is the art scene like in the area where you live, or where you come from?

A: I come from Brescia, the town that symbolises the hub of manual and dirty work, where you have to come home filthy and get up at 5am to be able to say you have 'worked'. I would like to say that this is a thought belonging to past generations, but unfortunately even my contemporaries struggle to understand what the work I do is actually about. The opinion of others is usually divided into two views: on the one hand you are faced with mockery and envy, on the other with simply a lack of understanding - the second category is the curious one, who actually asks what you do during the day. According to the mentality of the place where I am, my approach to work is not at all normal: I do many jobs at the same time, be it five, six or seven different types of activities. 

I am the daughter of two outsiders and I consider myself very lucky, I have a truly golden family. They made me independent, adult and responsible, even before my time (I have been 'grown up' for many years). Living this way has changed my perception of life, or how it should work, I always felt out of context compared to my peers. However, my parents always gave me the opportunity to make my own choices and take responsibility. In fact, I left home very early, I felt I was ready to take a step independently - I did jobs outside of the arts until 2021, when I decided to quit the last of my professions after the pandemic period (I worked in food discounters), and with the money I had put away I then decided to take part in community service in libraries. I worked in Salò, where the local library is particularly proactive with young people; I held free courses with young people and adults, and this allowed me to get to know the companies I now work with. Once I finished my civil service, I started working independently with libraries and building a well-rounded artistic profession.


Y: What prompted you to enter the world of digital art? How did you start your artistic journey? Tell us about your course of study. Did you study something specifically related to art or did your interest stem from something else?

A: The art world has always been the thread of my existence: art was perennially present in my life, I drew and coloured at all times. As a child, my dream was to brush white lines in the middle of the street; but I later discovered that a machine was being used, and this revelation completely destroyed my dreams.

After secondary school, I enrolled in Olivieri Art School, as I wanted to study painting. I have to say that my experience was not the best, the high school gave me what a public high school with crazy teachers can give you. Later, I attended the International Comics Academy, taking precisely a traditional illustration course. At the moment, I always keep myself active and up-to-date in terms of artistic developments through whatever workshops I find interesting at the time. Some extremely good institutes from this point of view are the 'CatWork Academy' in Rome, 'Spazio Arte Duina' in Brescia and 'Ars In Fabula' in Macerata.

My passion for tattoos, on the other hand, originated with my uncle - he had a studio, and this proximity to the business allowed me to see the art of tattoos as an extremely ancient form of communication with roots deeper than civilisation itself. I always felt I was waiting for the right moment to start practising, even though I knew very well that tattooing someone would put me in the position of being able to ruin a person's skin, and on a mental level I could not process this thought in a healthy way.


Y: Art is a challenging, yet extremely satisfying field. What impact has it had on your life so far?

A: Yes, I think art is an extremely demanding field, because it is not only a job, but also a way of expressing yourself. I think it conditions a lot emotionally, so it automatically conditions one's work. The impact on my life has definitely been both positive and negative. Positive because it has always given me a way of analysing and expressing my moods, emotions, feelings, thoughts - people who make a living from art are constantly up and down, they do what they love and always have a way of expressing themselves, but they live with the constant possibility of getting caught up in the impostor syndrome, they must always be ready to face the risk of rejection and the idea that the work they do is a constant coming and going. For example, January is a fairly 'dead' month, March and April are somewhere in between, while July and August are always dramatic - it clearly depends on the industry. There is a coming and going of super busy months and less active months, which one often decides to fill by taking care of business for the times to come. Mentally, you feel rejected and a failure because you have no income: you live in fear of not having done anything. Personally, therapy has helped me a lot to cope with the moments when I have to process the idea of 'having no work', as well as getting out of a hyper-productive sector like Brescia and Milan.

I think I am not the only one who, working from home and structuring her day as she prefers, is assailed by feelings of guilt. With time I realised that even just saying a different sentence helps a lot to change the perception (mine and others) of the situation: the value you give to your work is the value others see in it.


Y: Does your art allow you to support yourself economically? If not, is that a goal you have or not?

A: Not really. If I had a magic wand I would want a camper van so I could travel the world and make a living illustrating. Having said that, the activities I do allow me to be autonomous without having to work additional jobs with fixed hours: workshops with children and adults, combined with work in the library, help me earn a little more during the month. 

I don't think I'm at the ideal point yet, but I really enjoy what I do - I love reading, I'm comfortable in libraries and I'm great at interacting with the public.


Y: What platforms do you use to promote your work? Do you think they need to be fixed and improved in any way? Do you think a new platform concerning only digital art could be useful?

A: I mainly use Instagram! Ever since they changed the feed algorithm, shifting the focus to reels and taking it away from images, I realise how difficult it is to keep up with updates on social. Personally, I think Instagram keeps making unnecessary upgrades without fixing the previous problems. I know that content in video format is enjoying a lot of success, be it in Reels or on Tiktok, which is why I would like to find the strength and time to get involved and get involved, but I'm not at all versed in video. The thing is that managing social media is a real job, you have to spend time on it and often you don't have enough time. It's nothing new that artists have to do everything: invoices, fairs, emails, social, physical work, you name it. 

As for a possible platform dedicated to online art, I think the idea has potential. Given the division between digital and traditional artists, however, I would hate to create a further rift between the two fields, which already often do not want each other. Having said that, middle ground exists - art is fluid and there should be no barriers, it is made up of concept, message, and partly technique. Unfortunately, digital is a rather closed field, technique is art itself, whereas I believe that technique is only a medium.


Y: Have you ever had problems with copyright and its management? 

A: Fortunately I haven't had any problems in that area, although people often see other artists' artwork or styles in my work - but I think it's because people tend to associate voodoo doll with voodoo doll, I don't think there's much thought behind it. There was a juncture, though, when I noticed that my style seemed to be replicated by more than one person, but I personally never did anything about it. I dropped the thing because after a while the people involved dropped this aesthetic line, and the basic concept was the same but the illustrations were clearly different. 

I am a person who has a lot of worries, I am always afraid of doing something too similar to something I like and also hurting the original artist. In my personal studio I do happen to copy the art of other artists, but it is nothing I would share online, as they are simple art studies aimed at learning.

At the moment I do not have any kind of protection regarding the basic concept of my art: the family of voodoo dolls - however, I realised that I really need a methodology to be able to protect my artwork, I need to always save data, files, and any kind of evidence regarding my art.


Y: What is your opinion on NFTs and their impact on the digital art world? Are you in favour of Artificial Intelligences using your art to enrich their database?

A: As far as NFTs are concerned, I have to put my hands in front of me and admit that I am not particularly knowledgeable. As an ignoramus, it seems to me that they had an initial explosion and then waned almost immediately, I saw them drop a lot. It seemed like they could earn incredible sums, and instead they are now dead. Many thought that a few 'drawings' would be enough to sell them and become millionaires, without thinking that a marketing and business point of view would be fundamental to be able to exploit them fully - I personally think that many didn't even have time to learn, that the flame had already gone out. To make matters worse, NFT was mainly about an exclusivity of art with which I did not agree, it reminded me of exclusive art galleries and their elitist approach to the creative environment.

If there was a possibility to give consent or not to the use of other people's art by AI I would say absolutely not. I disagree with the basic concept: that AI takes jobs away from artists and anyone who has anything to do with this field of work. It is known that progress destroys but also creates new jobs; it seems that at the moment AI destroys without giving alternative jobs, it is seemingly unstoppable. Where is the value of the person put? Personally, I think it is always worth recognising the value of the person, but having to pay more than a robot.


Y: What would you change about the current art scene if you could? What do you expect from the future of art?

A: I would like there to be more opportunities for expression in Italy. Unfortunately, if you are not strictly a children's illustrator and you do not respect certain aesthetic canons, you will always struggle to find work, and you will have to turn to foreign publishers. Whoever takes the risk by publishing something 'strange' or unusual is usually a foreign publisher, the Italian simply translates and publishes. 

In Italy there is no room for those who create something different, especially when it comes to lesser known genres such as magic realism or surrealism. Instead, I would like there to be the possibility to express oneself without reservation even in terms of artistic genre.

In the future, I would like to try the gallery environment, but always with illustrations - original plates from illustrated books. I have seen similar exhibitions abroad and I would like them to reach Italy as well. 

In general, I would like there to be legal and fiscal recognition for anyone involved in the artistic environment, it is ridiculous that in 2023 the professional figures of the illustrator or painter still do not exist. We need more protection and safeguards to be able to effectively regularise this work sector.


Y: What do you think about the management of artist alleys at trade fairs nowadays? Are there any experiences you would like to share with us?

A: The management of Artist Alley(s) at trade fairs is characterised by a number of problems, I won't deny it. The organisation leaves something to be desired very often, while there seems to be more and more economic demand for the table provided for the artists, who receive less attention from time to time. They often position the area in one of the less busy areas of the event, thus penalising the participants a lot.

Lots of new fairs are springing up recently, which should be a good thing, except that they are always organised by people who do not know how fairs work in the arts. Most of the time there are no tables, they don't know where to put them and there is a general organisational deficiency. In the same vein, the big fairs are hyper-selective and ask for exorbitant amounts of money anyway, veterans are always chosen while emerging artists are ignored.

Certainly the Italian art sector is now saturated, there are many artists and everyone rightly follows their own passion; this means, however, that it is now really difficult to get noticed in the masses.


We would like to thank Alice very much for participating in the interview and hope it was an enjoyable experience!

In case you are interested in her works, you can find her on Instagram as @alice.pasotti.illustration.

If you have any questions about copyright management and the protection of your works, the Rights Chain team is at your disposal! In the meantime, have a nice day!


About the Author



Columnist, (He/Them)

Content Creator for cosplay, gaming and animation. With a degree in foreign languages and a great passion for Oriental culture, he writes about copyright to protect the work of artists and young minds. A cosplayer since 2015, Yako is an advocate of gender identity and the development of one's creativity through personal attitudes: be it role-playing, cosplay or writing.