Meet the Artist: The Magic World of Uti’s Cristina Ghelfi

utiart3When it comes to decorating your kids’ rooms, white walls just won’t do. But before you give them free rein to plaster their space with stickers and crayon scribbles, why not introduce a little fine art into the mix? Enter The Magic World of Uti, a colorful line of perfect-square prints — back on Gilt today — and the brainchild of Italian painter Cristina Ghelfi, whose mother, Uti Fontana, serves as muse for the collection’s titular character. We chatted with the Modena-based artist about her family, her inspirations, and her signature craft.

StyleFile: Where did this line of artwork begin? Does each painting have a special meaning?
Cristina Ghelfi: This work has always been inside of me because it is related to my love for nature, animals, and colors. Often I take inspiration from the news, from a photograph, from a book, or while walking somewhere. With the colors, the play and lightness, I try to exorcise the lack of respect that human beings have for the land. I illustrate what surrounds us, what we do not see or have forgotten — A world of colors, smells, trees, flowers, mountains, and animals. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Uti is a little girl who rejoices in what she sees and what surrounds her — she loves to play and constantly interacts with everyone and everything with curiosity and wonder. In her world, there is space only for color and positivity — she is what I would like to see every day.


SF: What is your training? Do you have a background in fine art?

CG: I started drawing from a young age and it has always been my passion, perhaps conditioned by the environment in which I grew up. My grandfather, who designed engines, had a passion for painting, also my uncle, my mother, and then my father, Franco Fontana, who is a gifted photographer. I attended art school and graduated in graphic design, with a Master’s of art and decoration. I attended 3-D animation and illustration courses, but honestly, I’ve never been an excellent student and possibly because of my shyness, the academic environment made ​​me feel like I was in a cage and my creativity was hidden. My most important training comes from experiences of life, my family, and also the time I spent in the United States which has been very important in my journey of creative growth.

FRANCO FONTANA E UTI

Ghelfi’s parents, Franco and Uti Fontana — Portrait by Douglas Kirkland

SF: How does your mother, Uti, act as your muse? Do you have a favorite character from “The Magic World of Uti”?
CG: My mother is an endless source of inspiration for my work and there is no particular reason.  She’s just a wonderful person, a very positive and strong woman, and a constant point of reference in my work. Uti is the main character of my children’s illustrations and definitely my favorite.  I get attached to the most recent piece of art I am working on or to those which I have only imagined.

SF: What other artists have inspired you?
CG: I have a great admiration for Mark Ryden, a wonderful contemporary painter.  In photography, without a doubt, Franco Fontana. And, going a little back in time, I would say Leonardo da Vinci and Perugino.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Add a comment

Valentine’s Day Crafts We ♥!

Valentine’s Day has always been a favorite of mine. Pinks and reds and pretty glitter everywhere — does it get any better? Oh yes, it does. Because when you layer in little ones full of spunk and imagination, the sweetest of holidays becomes even sweeter. Here are my two favorite crafts for this love-filled holiday.


Mom and Founder of Style Me Pretty

Heart-Day Crowns
For each of our kids, we place a King or Queen of Valentine’s Day crown at his or her chair. They get to wear the crown as they devour all of those otherwise forbidden treats. My daughter generally doesn’t take it off for the rest of the day!

Read More >>

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Add a comment Tagged ,

Holiday Craft: Dip-Dye Christmas Stockings

Who says we need to have fuddy duddy stockings or spend a fortune on the pretty ones? We can make our own so easily! This is a fun project your kids can help you with, and the color options are endless. Don’t fret, even the novice seamstress (read, I can only sew a straight line) can tackle these babies. Once they’re sewn, have the little ones help mix the colors and dip the stockings. Just make sure to wear gloves — the dye loves to leave a lasting impression. For an adorable DIY stocking stuffer, click here!


Mom and Founder of Style Me Pretty

Supplies
RIT dye (we used lemon yellow, sunshine orange, pink, & fuchsia)
Wooden stick for stirring dye
2 yards white linen
White thread
Scissors
Pencil
Pins
Sewing machine
Peach ribbon
Stocking template
Clothespins
Drying rack

Instructions
1
. Download our stocking template, print out and assemble.

Read More >>

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
1 comments Tagged , ,

Holiday Craft: Crayon Stocking Stuffers

Sometimes, it’s the smallest gifts that leave the longest lasting impression. These crazy-easy ABC crayons will provide hours of fun for the little ones, whether they bundle them for their friends at school or discover the ones you’ve made in their stocking. Plus, you don’t have to do ABCs. For older kids, go with hearts in different hues or hobby-centric crayons in their favorite colors.


Mom and Founder of Style Me Pretty

Supplies
Old crayons
Small metal pan or tin for melting wax in the oven
Plastic spoons
Chocolate alphabet molds
Baking sheet
Tin foil

Instructions
1. Peel all the wrappers off your crayons and group them together by color family. Put each group in its own tin and place on a baking sheet lined with tin foil.

Read More >>

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Add a comment