Cosima Bellamacina is a London based artist & poet who draws people and their struggles with mental health. Growing up in North-West London she studied the History of Art at The University of London and has previously illustrated a series of five children’s books ‘The Scooter Five‘.
Bellamacina’s art captures the moments we have behind closed doors. Her one-line drawings in style is minimalist with a deep expression. They connect the viewer with the pain of the other by showing an honest emotional aspect of mental health struggles that we all deal with.
‘Creating art is therapeutic in all sense of the word” says Cosima. “I always love the element of surprise of how a finished work will look and how it will make me feel but more importantly how it will make someone else feeling. I want my art to bring people a sense of hopefulness and to be inspired’
Speaking to Inspiring City she told us more about her art and in particular her interest in Mental Health. Inspired by her work as a fashion model she found that working, whilst often well paid, left her feeling without a voice and empty. Using poetry and art she started to express her feelings on the subject.
Interview with Cosima Bellamacina
Can you tell me something else about your art and how you started?
My art expresses the way I’m feeling at any given time and my opinions on what I see around me in the world. I find my one-line drawings of people are most the impactful and effective way to show this.
From a young age I always found my expression through drawing and making up plays and acting them out with my siblings. I grew up in a creative household with my three sisters and my older brother. My father is a musician and there was lots of singing and dancing, we were always encouraged to use our imagination. By creating art I’m unfolding my emotions and starting a new again. It helps me to process the things I’m going through in my life, whilst I’m working.
Why do you choose to depict mental health as a subject in your work?
Growing up in London I became aware of peoples struggles from a young age, I always wondered why people were homeless, why there is violent crime. I realised mental health was the underlining factor in these problems in society. I’m fascinated by the power of the mind and how fragile it can be for anyone. During my late teens I struggled with having clarity in my life, there were messy teenage friendships, not being around the best people which was a bad influence and affected my health in a detrimental way.
I think its important to confront this issue so that it becomes less of a taboo and also raising awareness so people don’t become isolated.
Where do you draw your influences from and could you tell me more about your process?
People that I come across in ordinary day to day situations, can inspire me in some amazing way. Just hearing about their story and their journey in life, the things they’ve had to deal with. I’m attracted to what makes us different to each other, I enjoy listening to the stories of strangers and the characters I meet along the way.
I draw from a range of different things like old polaroid’s, postcards, real life and I put my style on it. Moving away from home and living independently has also allowed my work to grow.
I like to start my day with an urban walk and 2 shots espresso, this totally focuses my mind. I return to my home studio and paint and draw sometimes into the night. Some days I prefer to people watch in a café or bar often sketching ideas.
Cosima Bellamacina was interviewed via email in November 2019. Her book ‘We sell our Beauty too Cheap‘ is now available to buy from her website.
For more Inspiring City articles focusing on Mental Health have a look at:
Bipolar Picassio Exhibition by Andrea Tyrimos
Portrait of Catherine for Centerpoint by Andrea Tyrimos
Neoh Exhibition at Moorfields Eye Hospital