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Kimonos and Community: an Interview with Ylenia Mino

Italian born and Los Angeles based artist Ylenia Mino and her work are the personification of enthusiasm: sunny, colorful and defiantly positive, Mino shares her thoughts with Michele Tufigno for NY-ArtNews about starting out as an artist in northern Italy, her move to the US and sharing her passion for art in her community.

Artist Ylenia Mino

What made you decide to take up painting? What were your first steps in the art world?

I have always loved painting since I was a little girl. I was born in Ivrea which is in the countryside of Italy, surrounded by nature and breath taking landscapes which allowed me to build a strong connection with nature and gave me sharp observational skills. Life in Ivrea was sedate: there was not much going on there and certainly not many distractions, which allowed me to develop the gift of painting.

That's right: it’s a gift. I was born exactly six months after Christmas on June 25th 1987 and I consider my artistic skills a mid-year Christmas present that I received upon birth.

Which challenges did you encounter throughout your professional journey?

I was faced with many challenges along my path; I suppose the hardest thing was finding myself in a foreign country and starting from scratch, while carrying the big disadvantage of being a foreigner. I had to work double to achieve everything I have, but It has been a fun ride and I’m incredibly excited to find out what lies ahead for me.

What prompted your move to the United States and why Los Angeles in particular?

I had a dream (famous phrase, no?) and an opportunity for my art career as a fine artist came along in NYC. I started showing paintings all over the city and after only a few months of exhibiting works, I found myself with clients from all over the States and Europe. The dream to move to Los Angeles came a few years after I had moved to New York; I felt that LA was the place where I was meant to be. I did not know why, I just sensed that I had to move.

You have used conventional painting but also apparel and homeware as media for your artistic expression; which do you prefer and why?

I love conventional painting, especially oil and acrylic painting. I did create a fashion collection of designs with my art on it and I find it to be incredibly good fun! The pandemic has, quite ironically, provided me with the opportunity to create even more wearable art: right now I am creating face masks with my patterns and fine art.

Which has been your favourite project to date?

It’s definitely the creation of PAINT FOR A PURPOSE, which represents joy and helps celebrate the purpose of art in all its shapes and colors! It is the fulfilment of a dream, to paint and spread creativity in the corporate field, in education, with children, in the entertainment world through private events or classes. Really, to celebrate and disseminate art in any way I can. Apart from this project which is very close to heart, I was lately called to be part of a music video in Los Angeles in which I could paint live during the recording!

Moments from the Paint for a Purpose meetings in LA, copyright by Ylenia Mino

How did the Covid pandemic affect your industry? How did you spend your lockdown?

Covid has certainly impacted the art industry, but I took advantage of the extra time I had.

I spent my quarantine creating new art and resetting my life and goals to restart fresh and

brand new.

Upcoming projects? Future lines?

I am currently working on a new artistic line of face masks and kimonos. Also, The Artist's Style in Art (TASA), in collaboration with the Art Historian Marilena Keli Tomei and the photographer and creative Fabrizio Gatta, are creating a novel inspired by my artist's life and career. Maybe one day it could become a movie too? Who knows? My need ultimately remains that of dreaming big and creating, at all costs!

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