My interest in the work of Gemma Taccogna was first sparked from comments posted by Catperson (Sue) on this website.
I then viewed Gemma's gallery on this site, and further researched her on the internet.
But first let me begin by explaining how I first became interested in paper mache. I have made four trips to Italy over the past several years, and was quite taken by the beautiful masks of the Boldrin brothers in Venice, Italy. They are not the commercial masks that you see everywhere; they are very unique and creative works of art. During my most enjoyable visits to their two little shops, I had purchased six of their masks. I wanted to buy more, but always thought they were somewhat expensive. Inevitably upon returning home, I wished I had brought more of them back.
After trying unsuccessfully to purchase their masks via e-mail (I never could get them to respond), I decided to try my hand at mask making. Now having learned how time consuming and difficult it is, I have a much greater appreciation for all that goes into it. I don't think I will ever question the price of those beautiful masks in Venice again. My research on mask making brought me to this website, and I have enjoyed the interaction and the gracious advice and encouragement of the members.
Gemma's work first struck me as a quite unique art form. The stylized and whimsical designs were beautifully crafted and executed, and exquisitely painted and finished. I marveled at the creativity and talent, and sensed an exceptional spirit and character coming through in her work. I am an architect by profession, who now also paints and makes paper mache masks as well.
I enjoy Gemma's work on so many levels, but primarily as it relates to the design and painting. Then to imagine this is done in paper mache, it leaves me in complete admiration. Gemma's creations are such a skillful blend of beauty, subtlety and delight. You cannot help but see the artist's hand in each work, while also being treated to a glimpse into her soul.
I am now the proud and fortunate owner of thirteen pieces by Gemma, and will be on the lookout to acquire additional pieces. Together with the masks that I've purchased in Venice, I'm surrounded at home by some very inspiring works in paper mache, that also leave me quite humbled by the immense talent that went into their creation.
I really enjoy the “little women.” The stylized presentation and facial rendering are just great. I never tire of their company.
The lion captures the essence of the animal in a very artful way. It is both serene and majestic, while possessing some very human qualities and features.
The cat is total whimsy.