Home Art & StyleArt Emma Ferrer Hepburn: “From my grandmother Audrey I inherited her simplicity’.
Emma Ferrer Hepburn

Emma Ferrer Hepburn: “From my grandmother Audrey I inherited her simplicity’.

by Monica Landro

Interview with Emma Ferrer Hepburn | Thomas Pucci

Written by Monica Landro
Photos by Simone Angarano

“A woman’s most beautiful make-up is her smile”. This wise and inspiring phrase is one of the most famous uttered by Audrey Hepburn, the unforgettable icon of style and cinematic elegance who we remember for her appearances in classic and timeless films such as ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and ‘Roman Holiday’.

I thought of this phrase when I had the pleasure of meeting Emma Ferrer Hepburn, granddaughter of her illustrious grandmother, from whom she inherited a natural grace and delicate charm that prove that elegance is indeed timeless.

Emma, at what age did you realise that you were the granddaughter of a famous and worldwide known and loved artist?
I still understand it today and every day in a different way because the older I get the more I realise what she represented to many people, so it’s always a discovery. I didn’t know her and let’s say my earliest memories go back to when my father tried to explain to me who she was but I had no concept of what ‘fame’ meant. I remember seeing bags with my grandmother’s face around or going home to friends I would see her posters and recognising the same image I would say “That’s my grandmother!”

Today you are an eclectic artist, you have done many things, a bit like your grandmother. Did you ever think that you should follow in her footsteps when you started out in the art world?
Actually, no. I have modelled, I have experienced being an actress, like you, but nothing really planned. I was a bit intrigued by this world but I soon realised that I am actually a painter and this is my path.

You have lived your life between Italy and America…
I was born in Switzerland but lived in Los Angeles between the ages of 3 and 12. I moved to Italy where I did all my schooling and art school. Then I went to New York, where I lived for six years and have been back in Italy for three years. I have always gone back and forth and I still go back to New York often.

But is your home in Italy?
Yes, I wouldn’t live in any other country!

What led you to this choice?
I am an Italophile, I feel a great affinity with historical culture, traditions, natural beauty, artistic beauty, and gastronomy.

Emma Ferrer Hepburn

Emma Ferrer Hepburn

You have really travelled a lot, you have seen big metropolis, really urbanised cities but also cities of art. In the end, you chose to live in a small, somewhat rustic reality in Tuscany, in the province of Lucca.
I love New York very much, but the lifestyle I want to cultivate is related to contact with nature, good food. I want to have space both to live and to paint, and the artistic inspiration I find here I don’t get anywhere else. I am also a lonely person and I am comfortable in a small village….

Your works often depict lonely people, dark colours. I get the concept of introspection, reflection, loneliness. Do you feel them on you, these expressions?
Very! I am very reflective, by nature. I am silent, introspective. My artistic journey up to now has always been full of melancholic emotions, but I must say that in the very latest works I am experimenting with colours that are a bit brighter, but in general the more natural tones linked to the earth, to the shadows, are those with which I can express myself best…

What is your favourite subject to paint?
Lately I have been painting a lot of animals, dead animals, because I am very fascinated by the concept derived from the Greeks, but also from the Bible, of the scapegoat, of animal sacrifice, somewhat as a symbol of our relationship both with ourselves and with animals, but also with a supreme power. I paint deer, wild boar, even lambs….

Are you also inspired by your environment?
Absolutely. These paintings are a reaction from being in a reality like Manhattan to the rustic environment I breathe here. Let’s say that in art I’m interested in proposing an argument, launching a reflection.

This brings me to another topic in which you are involved on a humanitarian level. You are in fact a spokesperson for Unicef, as was also your grandmother Audrey. Can you tell me about your experience?
I have always been involved in Unicef-related activities. When I lived in New York, I travelled to many states to talk about my grandmother’s experience as a war refugee. It is then the reason why she dedicated herself to children’s lives: it was a subject she felt deeply.

What kind of mother was she, your grandmother?
My father says she was a mother who tried to create an environment of family normality. She would take them to buy uniforms for school and maybe tell them to choose three shirts instead of four so as not to appear excessive. She tried to create an environment as similar as possible to that of my father and his brother’s age group.

Your grandmother used to say: ‘the beauty of a woman grows with the passing of the years’. How do you see yourself and where do you see yourself in 20 years?
There was a photo of my grandmother, beautiful, of her with a baby in her arms that had been selected as the best of the year. This photo was retouched to make it perfect. When she saw it, she said to the photographer: “Don’t you dare take away my wrinkles, I have deserved them all!” This phrase became a bit of a legend but I think that for a woman, growing old should be a hope. The beauty of a woman is also in this. I also think that the person you are with is also important. Thomas, my partner, is very deep, never superficial. He looks at the essence and in a society where the myth of beauty is evident, by his side I feel more serene about ageing.

Thomas is a sculptor. You are a painter. When you compose your works, do you compare yourself with him?
A lot! Thomas is very good at taking concepts forward and exploring them. The way he works brings back a very clear idea of consistency, of constancy. And that helps me a lot.

Thomas Pucci

Thomas Pucci

Who is the sculptor Thomas Pucci, companion of Emma Ferrer Hepburn

Thomas Pucci, Emma’s partner was with us on the day of the interview and it was only natural to talk to him too, who, like her, reflects that sense of elegance of soul and quietness of thought. An artist in his own right, a sculptor, he was born in Pietrasanta and grew up in the Apuan Alps of Versilia.

Thomas, tell us about your childhood away from the metropolitan noise.
I was born in Versilia, in contact with nature, and had a carefree and serene childhood. I studied art and started to approach the world of local craftsmanship in Pietrasanta, which is very famous and renowned, as soon as I finished my studies. I was able to work with world-famous artists. I mention Ivan Theimer above all, a great master for me, with whom I still collaborate today.

At 25 you went to live in Australia. How come?
To escape from this world. I was looking for something different and to go to the other side of the world, it really was. There I was able to work in an artistic foundry, I learnt another way of working, another kind of art, which of course also comes from their wonderful nature so spectacular between the desert and the jungle.

Among your works are many exotic animals. Did you start creating them in Australia?
I started when I came back. I had a lot of working, manual and thinking experience and I started making sculpture using clay and other materials. What fascinates me about the animal is that it represents a form of connection between man and nature itself. Every person should identify with an animal

Which one do you find yourself in?
In the turtle that is a very strong symbol for me.

Indeed bears, snakes, but the tortoise predominates….
Yes, exactly. It is a fragile animal as fragile is the very subtle balance of the world we live in and so the turtle is also a bit of a symbol in that sense. The fragility of the marine ecosystem, for example, is also given by the death of these turtles due to intensive fishing and pollution of the sea.

Are you involved in environmental protection?
Yes, in Denmark I worked for a gallery that allowed me to deal with the issue of climate change. I made a transparent, resin turtle. By collecting plastic on the beaches and putting it inside the turtle so that you could also see its insides, I tried to raise awareness on this topic.

For both you and Emma, your art form is also a way to interact with a society that is close to your heart.
Yes, and fortunately in recent years there has been a great awakening on the part of many people who realize that there are too many things that are wrong. The only way to deal with them is through the community, also through art, with the aim of finding solutions. We try.

Emma Ferrer Hepburn e Thomas Pucci

Emma Ferrer Hepburn e Thomas Pucci

  

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