Lorenza Centi is a artist whose work feels tumblr-ready in a way that means it knows our souls, it knows the poems typed into the notes on our iphones, it knows the hurt we embody in young skin and tired muscle. It is pink, and young, but no less serious; it is easily called edgy, but most truly human.
Feminine and unapologetic, it is work that knows itself by an artist who knows herself and DGAF if you think the male gaze shapes all naked, female bodies. It pushes boundaries. It’s beautiful.
VAGABOND CITY: What is it about the nude female body that inspires your work?
LORENZA CENTI: We all know women are constantly portrayed and objects of sex, as a selling point for products out of context. It’s funny because women’s bodies can be used to sell products but as soon as our real life bodily function is introduced the topic becomes taboo and ‘offensive’.
Did you ever notice that period or tampon commercials never use the word ‘vagina’? Legally, these companies that are selling feminine sanitary products, something based on societies standards women need, are not even legally allowed to say what this product is used for. So the basic aim of my work it to desexualize the female body and to familiarize society of its proper function. Also I aim to adjust societies overall perception of nudity, regardless of gender, and just to normalize humans and nakedness.
VAGABOND CITY: You believe that digital art is just as emotional as traditional fine art. Tell me more about this.
LORENZA CENTI: Graphic Design is obviously fairly new compared to the traditional arts of painting or sculpting; therefore I don’t think it has had enough of an opportunity to be studied or executed. Majority of people think anyone can buy Adobe software and learn Photoshop, therefore it isn’t art, it’s just a learned skill. I argue that just because you can learn to use software doesn’t mean you are proficient and successful in that field. That’s like me saying I am a brilliant writer because I know how to type on a computer in Microsoft Word.
We all know Picasso and Degas are brilliant painters because those are the basics we learn right off the bat. I’d encourage everyone to take a History of Design class, or simply Google it, regardless if you’re an artist or not, we all use technology everyday and digital design is present everywhere. Good design is smart; it’s well thought out and always has ulterior motives, it just may not be obvious.
VAGABOND CITY: What is it like to be a woman artist in a male dominated field?
LORENZA CENTI: It sucks, but it’s motivational. I once started a new job and the first day my boss told me I would give the team a nice feminine touch, which is ironic because other than this collection of illustrations (which in part was inspired by this event), my work is fairly androgynous.
VAGABOND CITY: Who are your favorite artists?
LORENZA CENTI: My favorite artists are Inka Essenhigh, she does these amazingly flowy abstract paintings. I also really dig the Stenberg brothers, they are Swedish designers from the 20s.
VAGABOND CITY: Do you listen to music as you work? What is your artist’s routine?
LORENZA CENTI: Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of 90s Punk/Grrl Riot bands like Le Tigre and Bikini Kill, I’m also always into La Luz, Beach House, and TOPS. A lot of my pieces are inspired by certain music. If I’m really into a song at the moment I’ll translate that into an illustration, it kinda goes hand in hand because majority of the artists I’m into have powerful girl leads or are an all girl band.
I also usually collect a ton of inspo, as I am web surfing or real life things I just take quick snaps of to remember later. This collaging of ideas and feelings I try to transcribe into my work as a very simple form, saying so much but so little.
VAGABOND CITY: What do you do when you’re not creating art?
LORENZA CENTI: When I am not creating my personal work I am creating stuff for school, I am still a full time student, I also have a bunch of random freelance design jobs that I juggle. Art and design is basically my life while I’m in school, and of course drinking beers and going to shows or bars on the weekends.
VAGABOND CITY: How did you gain the confidence to share your work with the world?
LORENZA CENTI: I went majority of my life being embarrassed of my body, not how I looked physically or anything, I just grew up thinking nudity was wrong. My family also would constantly hound me about boyfriends and if I didn’t have one than I must be a lesbian (so stupid). I just hated the constant stereotype of a woman needing a man (and that all feminists are lesbians) and I wanted to take a stand. I am now so comfortable with my body and myself, I want everyone to feel that way. I wanted my work to introduce the ‘modern’ women, as an equal, something that could show my insanely traditional family that shit these days is different. My work features women with only the ‘necessary’ objects used to sexualize a woman i.e. the mannequin-like subjects show the entire body, minus the hands, feet and head. I also wanted the viewer to be able to relate to the subject my leaving the identity of the women open. I’ve never been a shy person so when I found this outlet for my thoughts and feelings, presentation came natural.
ABOUT LORENZA CENTI
Lorenza Centi, 21, is a graphic designer from Detroit, Michigan studying toward her BFA in Graphic Design at Michigan State University. Her work encompasses feminist issues and the normality of the nude female body.
Her work is strongly influence on the modern woman’s over-sexualization in society and media. She treats graphic design as a fine art with the belief that digital art be just as emotional, thought provoking and fluid as a traditional fine art. Her work aims to call attention to women’s roles as artists in a male dominated field.