{the interview series} Sweet Bestiary

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Depois da pausa de Agosto, não podia começar esta nova temporada de {the interview series} de melhor maneira... é óbvio que admiro o trabalho de todos os meus entrevistados e por isso os convido, mas aposto que, independentemente dos vossos próprios gostos pessoais ou tendências criativas, nenhum dos meus leitores ficará indiferente às doces bestas de Flor Panichelli.
Sweet Bestiary é um fantástico mundo de belas e estranhas criaturas saídas do imaginário e das mãos de Flor, uma argentina a viver em Londres. Um misto de animal e humano, de real e surreal, de bela e de monstro... cada criatura é transformada em escultura, ilustração ou acessório, fazendo crescer assim uma família de deliciosos monstros, que apenas suscitam a quem os admira uma dúvida: qual adoptar?
Leiam o resto e digam-me o que vos parece!

Não se esqueçam de seguir {the interview series} no facebook e de reler todas as entrevistas aqui.
(Por motivos óbvios de extensão e compreensão do texto, tanto pelos entrevistados como pelos potenciais leitores do resto do mundo, a entrevista segue em inglês.)

After the August break, I couldn't start better this new season of {the interview series}... it's obvious that I admire the work of all my guests, but I bet that regardless of your own personal tastes and creative tendencies, none of my readers will be indifferent to the sweet beasts of Flor Panichelli.
Sweet Bestiary is an amazing world of strange and beautiful creatures born from the imaginary and the hands of Flor, an Argentine living in London. A mix of animal and human, of real and surreal, of beauty and beast... every creature is transformed into an unique sculpture, illustration or accessory, giving way to a delicious family of monsters, that only raise a doubt in whom admire them: which one to adopt?
Read the rest and tell me what you think!

Don't forget to follow {the interview series} on facebook and to read all the previous interviews here.

Flor Panichelli | Sweet Bestiary
London, UK
blog | shop | flickr | facebook

1. Let’s pretend we don’t know each other and I’ve never heard about Flor Panichelli. Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Florencia but everyone calls me Flor. I was named after Florence Nightingale, an English nurse famous for her dedication during the Crimean War. I am originally from Argentina but, as if my fate had been sealed with my name, I now live in England with an extraordinary Londoner I met dancing tango back in 2006 in Buenos Aires. We have a feline child called Chanchu (one of his many names).

2. I’ve read that you´re “a handful of “ex’s” (archivist, teacher, journalist)”… what gave you the courage to finally accept the challenge and pursue the love for the art of creating sweet beasts? How and when was this passion born?
I always liked making things but at some point I decided to become a journalist with the goal of creating through words. I ended up with a quite academic and (although at times interesting) not particularly creative life. I wanted to do something where emotions, magic, humour, beauty, silliness, the ridiculous and my own inner world could fit.
Two things gave me the courage to accept the challenge: the experience of moving to the UK, which meant a fresh (and not an easy) start, and my boyfriend with his philosophy of doing what you enjoy, regardless what you think you are supposed to be doing.

3. Sweet Bestiary is a wonderful world of enchanted characters, sculptures, dolls, puppets and more… Your characters are a beautiful mix of man and animal. Why did you choose these sweet beasts to give your art expression and what inspires you to give them life?
Seven years ago I took a puppet-making and puppeteering workshop and became fascinated with the process of making something that will later come to life and tell its story. I still feel that same excitement when I’m creating a sweet beast. Many of them have animal features as I love animals and mythology, but even the completely human are “beasts” to me. The sweet and the beastly ingredients are two parts of me that I’m always seeking to balance.

4. You create sculptures, which means that you design, you put your hands to work, you paint and even sew small pieces of clothing… this must be time-consuming. How much time do you need to create one of your puppets? Can you share your creative process with us?
I make many creatures at once: while a piece of clay is drying off, a line of brooches are waiting to be sanded and a doll’s head is ready to be painted. Due to the drying times, a finger puppet needs 3-4 days to be made: the first day I make a papier-mâché body base, the next day I apply a layer of air-drying clay and sculpt the features, the third day I sand, prime, paint and varnish it.

5. You have been featured in several important blogs and your beasts travel all around the world! What means do you use to promote your work?
I have a Facebook page and a (quite neglected) blog. I have mixed feelings about all the marketing stuff (I never liked selling anything), but I’m indeed very grateful to the people and blogs that have showed support to my bestiary, many of them I already consider my friends.

6. What is creating for you: a profession, a passion, a necessity, a lifestyle or a hobby?
Not long ago my mum found a letter I sent her while I was taking that puppet-making course, back in 2004. I then wrote: “I can’t leave art. I can live without writing, reading (almost), teaching, but not without creating, without fleshing out things that didn’t exist before my intervention. I will see what form this takes later on: puppets, scenography, sculpture, I don’t know...”.

7. How would you describe a regular day at work?
Those are two terms I struggle to relate with: “regular” and “at work”. Since I moved to London, my life has been more chaotic than ever. And since I started Sweet Bestiary, “work”, “life”, “home” is all the same… I’m always looking to get organized and set up a routine, and -so far- I’ve always failed.

8. Would you give us a glimpse of your working space? Describe it and tell us what you love most about it.
It’s a tiny room in a Victorian house. I used to share the same working space with my Londoner, who also works from home. But I always loved to be able to close the door and stay in my own world, so I moved rooms and set up my beast laboratory there.

9. You were born in Argentina, you have family with Italian roots and you now live in London. Would you tell us a bit about the lifestyle and your favorite places in this city?
There are many amazing things about London: the diversity, the open-mindedness, food from all over the world, the parks (real-life woods in the middle of the city), the urban foxes, the ancient cemeteries, the Thames at night, to name a few. But it can also be a huge, cold and alienating machine. As my boyfriend is half Italian, we try to keep some of the Italian warmth and affection at home. We like to have friends over for dinner or mate (Argentinean infusion), cycle through the city, go to the cinema (we are confessed film-lovers), talk about politics (a lot), go picnic in Hampstead Heath, dance tango, go to concerts (mostly Gypsy music), watch funny bits and pieces on Youtube: from Jim Henson to Fonejacker.

10. If you could live in any historical era of your choice, what would it be? Why?
If we set aside the fact that I would have probably been poor and illiterate (among others) I’d say the Renaissance. I’ve been always fascinated with the way such different disciplines coexisted fluidly in the same person, contrary to the current push to “specialisation”. Those men were artists, scientists, inventors, astronomers, astrologists all in one!

11. Reading your blog I get overwhelmed, not only by your work, but also by your beautiful photos. Is photography another passion of yours? Can you share some tips?
I tend to keep things simple and use a white background and natural light. I’m crap at all the technical aspects of photography, but I like to get a nice composition. I’m too lazy to use the tripod, but I should. I try to keep digital retouching to a minimum.

12. What else are you passionate about doing?
Cooking, watching films and kissing my cat.

13. What advice would you give to someone who would also like to become an artist?
My best friend once told me is your life story (and all the things you have gone through) what makes your work unique. He swapped journalism for contemporary dance at the age of 30.

14. What are your plans for the future? And your most unrealistic dreams?
I think that to keep learning is a good plan.

Now a quick question-and-answer game so we can find a bit more about you and your tastes! Tell us one:

book: Bestiary by Julio Cortázar
music: tango
movie: so many...
personality/ artist: the Italian trinity: Stefano Benni, Roberto Benigni and Nani Moretti
color: different colours for different things
object: puppets
animal: (my) cat
drink: water
food: vegetarian Japanese
season of the year: Spring
travel destination: Paris
piece of clothing: shoes
secret: It’d stop being one if I told

It was an honor to welcome your lovely little beasts in my blog, Flor, thank you!


  1. O trabalho da Flor é maravilhoso, sou super fã. Já fiz um pequeno post sobre o Sweet Bestiary no meu blog (http://naomemandeflores.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/etsy-crush-sweet-bestiary/). Bela entrevista!

    Camila Faria

  2. Extraordinary interview and extraordinary artist! So unique and story-telling creations. Congrats on everyrhing you have accomplished!

  3. Amazing artist!!! unique creations full of magic and je ne sais quoi!!! :D I`m a fan and always will be (I`m a happy owner of one of her Beasts and I think is one of my treasures!!!) :D great inteview!!!!

  4. Its so nice to get to know the artist behind the shop!

  5. super intervieuw was great to read, Thank you for sharing!

  6. Thank you for another fantastic interview and for introducing us to Flor and her incredible collection of wonderful beasts!

  7. eu adoro estas criaturas:)
    deliciosa entrevista:)

  8. Absolutely gorgeous work! So imaginative and well-made...
    Thanks for the inteview.

  9. Fantastic...great interview, so very interesting and I just love her little beasts!
    Smiles, Karen


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