Letizia Lopreiato: Meet the artists showcasing at the Dean Art Studios
05th Sep 2022
Letizia Lopreiato is just one of many artists exhibiting her work at the newly-opened Dean Art Studios on Chatham Row in Dublin. Here she shares more about her work, creative process and why having her mum near means so much to her.
Letizia Lopreiato is a multilingual visual poet, installation artist and social documentary film photographer from Dublin. Diagnosed with a visual impairment in late 2017, Letizia decided to embrace film photography as a way to capture how she sees the world – thus introducing a multidisciplinary approach to her poetry.
Combined with over a decade’s experience working in the technology industry across four countries (Denmark, Spain, Ireland and Italy), Letizia’s socially engaged art practice explores barrier-free ways of integrating technologies into projects, from an idea’s conception to execution. She writes and performs her poetry in English, Italian and Spanish, and her work is published internationally, in the UK, Ireland and Italy. The inclusion of multilingual spoken word in all of Letizia’s artworks, in the form of audio-visual installations, accompanies a creative documentary and art photography style. Altogether, this multi-layered and multidisciplinary approach allows Letizia to refocus the text and image relationship, creating a pan-sensorial experience of her visual poetry practice, that includes her audience at all levels of able-bodiedness and neurodivergency.
In Letizia’s words: “Documenting reality through storytelling, to explore social issues and uncover social injustice has always been the focus of my poetry. Now this opportunity has been made even more powerful, thanks to the vehicle for empathy that is the camera lens.”
Did you always want to be a visual poet and installation artist?
I started writing when I was 12 years old, taking part into competitions at a national level in Italy. Getting recognised at such a young age was not something I was prepared for at an emotional level yet, so I kept writing pretty much every day for my entire life, filling diaries upon diaries, but feeling scared by the depth and intensity of my own words.
In college I studied… I come from a Magna Cum Laude Masters Degree research background in International Relations for Cooperation and Development. I hold a BA degree in Political Studies with a major in the application of media to political and international organisations – I did both degrees at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, Italy. I then carried out my MA dissertation research at the Carsten Niebuhr Center for Multi-Cultural Heritage at Copenhagen University, Denmark, and throughout the years acquired both business and creative and cultural entrepreneurship postgraduate titles between Spain and Ireland,
My most formative work experience… they were two actually; my first real job after graduating when I left Italy in 2006 and was working as internal management consultant in the strategy and operations team at one of the biggest corporations in the technology sector, in Madrid, Spain; and when I returned to the same company here in Ireland, this time as a programs manager.
The most invaluable thing I learned early on in my career was… time management, a skill which I developed when I was a kid both by observing and working with my late dad in his small factory in Italy. I always loved spending time with him during my school breaks.
A common misconception about what I do is… it’s more so a socially imposed stereotype as opposed to something I personally experienced, but it’s related to how people view an artist’s lifestyle and work; that their life is unproductive and lacking structure. Coming from an entrepreneurial family background, and given that I consider myself an art-preneur as well as an artivist, I’m really proud of how productive and effective my own work-life balance has been. And not just for my creative outputs, but in my life as a professional artist too.
My main responsibility in work is… to do my inner work so that I am always able to hold the necessary space for my art to embed the best intention and energy I can shape it with, and above all to reach out gently and kindly to the audience who needs to hear the message I’m sending.
Do you have a career mentor or someone you look up to/seek advice from? I believe in the saying that, “The teacher appears when the student is ready”. It’s up to us as artists to remain open to receive the lessons we need to, in order to bring our creations wherever they are called.
The biggest risk I have taken in my career so far… has been to embrace my identity as an artist and to trust the journey which got me to detach from all that I thought was secure. Trusting the deepest call I have ever felt in my life – the one urging me to be fully guided by my intuition and abandon the fight or flight mentality I had subconsciously shaped for myself over years of unprocessed grief – allowed me to finally heal and feel truly whole.
I wake at… 6.30am-7 am, and have done ever since I started high school when I was 14 years old.
The first thing I do every morning is… drink a cup of tea with milk –another tradition I’ve been doing since I was a child and this was how my mum used to wake me up. All my Irish friends have noticed my unconditional love for a good cuppa with milk and biccies!
My morning routine… really started taking shape in 2017, when I started practicing yoga every day – be that at the yoga studio close to my home or at home. Breathwork, yoga and above all music are a must for me as I wake up. I can’t go to work without music. I can’t really work without listening to music. Over the years, by creating every day, I’ve realised that music is my way to refill my cup.
I travel to work by… walking if I can, but always with music in my ears.
I start my working day with… a cup of tea. During lockdown, I learned how to detox from the habit of checking emails and social media first thing in the morning and now I focus on my main non-creative work priorities instead. That way, I get the hard part of the day out of the way first thing, so my mood gets better and by 10:30am, I already feel more relaxed. Then I can focus on the non-routine and creative tasks I love the most.
My lunch break and what I have for lunch… this is definitely an area I could improve on as I never really prioritise taking a break. Practicing yoga every day made me realise that lunch isn’t something I could underestimate anymore, as without it I couldn’t work on creative tasks for long. I’ve been trying to take an hour off for lunch each day and am making sure to eat enough to sustain me for the next six to seven hours.
The most useful business tool I use every day… is my pen/pencil/graffiti pen. The core element of the art installations for my solo exhibitions is poetry which is handwritten on the walls.
I save time by… prioritising tasks during the day based on a simple way of categorising things that I learnt during my first year as a programs manager; level of importance against level of urgency.
I rarely get through my working day without… music and grounding exercises, and by grounding I mean even the simple action of using a few drops of essential oil on my wrists.
The best part of my day is… the late afternoon/evening, as I’ve gotten into the habit of going for a walk by the canal close to where I live. It’s the closest place I know of where I can observe the rhythm of the water flowing. My daily walk by the canal is real bliss to me, a precious moment of self-care.
I know it’s been a good day if… I am relaxed when I go to sleep. f
Before I go to bed… I’ll make sure my eyes are looked after in the best way I can. If i’m carrying any tension in my body, I try to release it through a few minutes of breath-work before falling asleep.
I often prepare for tomorrow the night before by… blocking my calendar according to tasks. This has been by far one of the most useful lessons I’ve learnt from my experience working in the technology industry. I set up reminders for certain tasks on my mobile calendar which are absolutely key for my time management during the day.
After a long work week, I destress by… meeting my loved ones as much as possible. In 2019, my mum decided to permanently move to Ireland so we could be close to each other as a family after my dad passed. Her presence in Ireland after having spent 16 years away from my native country, has given me incredible strength which I channel into all the challenges life has thrown at me over the years. I am beyond grateful to my incredible local community and I am honoured to call Dublin my home. Being able to share this joy with my mum and for her to feel so welcome and loved is a real blessing.
The accomplishment I’m most proud of is… to have managed to turn grief into love through my art in the socially inclusive form I had envisioned for my visual poetry project. This project was very close to my heart. It was a four year journey that culminated in my first pan-sensorial installation for my The Timelapse – From the Front, autobiographical documentary. It has actually been chosen to be showcased as a solo exhibition at PhotoIreland Festival 2022 (running until August 28th at The Printworks Building at Dublin Castle).
If you want to get into my line of work, my advice is… to build your resilience through self– love.
Tell us about your work on display at the Dean Art Studios:
My tactile photography for partially-sighted audience is by far one of the most extraordinary results I have ever achieved. It has meant the realisation of a dream I’ve been working to make a reality for a very long time now, and to finally be able to touch the love I channeled into this project with my own hands, has truly changed my life. I now consider myself not only a visual poet but also an installation artist devoted to promote social change. I don’t have the words to describe how grateful and honoured I am to everybody who has been part of my journey so far. Art truly is the highest celebration of love we could ask for; it’s there to hold us by the hand, and lift us up, to show us the way back to light always.
To explore the profiles and work of the residents of the Dean Art Studios, Dublin see www.deanartstudios.ie for more.