Marta Grossi makes due in her teenager clothes. Phase 2 of the Italian Covid-19 lockdown.
Know more about Marta Grossi :

Continuing our series 'Covid-19 Response.' We are asking our creative friends how they are holding up, but more importantly we want to speak about the future of their industries, as we look forward to beating this pandemic. Are there positives to be taken from this collective experience? What are we contributing, and how will their respective industries change?

The Italian North was one of the hardest hit regions in Europe, and the first on a large scale. News imagery was bleak and very austere measures were put into place to control the epidemic.

Today's installment, we catch up with creative director Marta Grossi. We met Marta in Hong Kong and she is a creative one. The artistic mind of the Banana Project and live soul, it has been hard to keep up with her. Since she has had to stay put for a sec, it was a good time to catch our breathe and catch up with her!

SPITGAN : Hi Marta, long time no see. Introduce yourself to our readers. Tell us about yourself.
Marta Grossi : I’m Marta Grossi an Italian Creative Director and Artist. I spent the last 9 years in Hong Kong, exploring Asia, and I have recently returned to Europe and Italy to reconnect with my roots. I am a dreamer, a curious soul and an explorer. 

SG : When was the first day the Coronavirus really hit home for you?
MG : The initial day is very unclear, the spread started around the mid of February, but I guess it was going around Italy from at least the beginning of the year.

It definitely started in the North, and affected more the region of Lombardy. At that time there was a lot of confusion about Covid-19, and many thought it was a common flu.

After 3 months of travelling in Europe I arrived in Milan (Lombardy region), at the beginning of February for some working projects and suddenly got stuck there. With no possibility of returning home.

My family is in the Veneto region, about one hour from Venice.

To be a computer...

SG : How do you feel about your country's response to the Covid-19 pandemic in general, and specifically to your industry?

MG : I feel the response was a bit slow, because in Europe - not only in Italy -  we are not prepared for these kind of situations.

In Asia is very common to see people using face masks, even if you have a simple cough or for pollution. Plus, there was Sars before.

Not to mention Italy is very famous for having a large elderly population, and the "Italian attitude" is well known to be friendly and open. We are warm-hearted, we hug, we kiss, shake hands - and we use a lot of body language. This is part of our culture. Even with people we have just met.

I guess this factor played a very (very) bad role in the rapid spread of the virus through human contacts. I think the decision to lockdown the whole country was extreme, but the only way to contain the spread. At one point we were second after China in terms of deaths.

All industries are suffering the economic crisis, following the pandemic. The creative one, for sure, is more adaptable and flexible, because there are many freelancers, and we are used to not being reliant on a fixed salary. The Italian creative industry was very reactive in this tragic and difficult time. From donations and fundraisers, ideas, there was constant support. I took part in some creative auctions, and overall we raised a lot of money for hospitals and medical workers.

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SG : What have you been doing during this global lockdown period?
MG : My quarantine has been split in 2 places. From early March, for about 2 months, I got stuck in Milan alone. In an apartment of a friend, I had previously rented from for some weeks, when I came to the city for some projects.

Our lockdown was very severe. Basically I went out just to buy food...and that’s it.  I lived the whole time in a very central area, and with limited belongings in my luggage. During this first phase, I used all of my creative ideas to keep mentally and physically sane.

I did sports, breathing meditations everyday, singing and listening a lot of music. I kept connected digitally with friends and family, and mostly I started a new temporary art project.

Painting the sink of the apartment where I got stuck, the full story is here:


The second part of my quarantine is at my family home, in Veneto. I was able to leave Milan and reunite with them last week, because I still have my residency there. At the very beginning of the lockdown, I was allowed to come back home, but I didn’t want to create any risk with passing anything on to my parents or others. So I decided to stay in Milan to protect them.

SG : What's the first thing you gonna do when you can move freely?
In my phase 2 I have a bit more freedom, even if we are still in quarantine. The first things I did when I came back home were walking barefoot in my garden and taking my bike for a ride in the middle of the countryside. It is still very risky at the moment, and even with our family members we don’t stay close. We must be careful.

SG : Has the pandemic made you assess your business model? What changes will you be making?

MG : The virus impacted my work and all my projects. Many luxury events for foreigners coming here, are either cancelled or blocked. I am still working on some commissions and some branding projects, but I must adjust myself to the limitations of the times.

Right now I was supposed to be in Austria, to present one of my projects for a temporary art exhibition. There are a lot of things a creative can do in the digital world, but there are a lot of things that require a human's, physical presence and interactions.

Top Photo : Biking in Veneto region.  
Bottom Photo : Marta makes due in her teenager clothes. Phase 2 of the Italian Covid-19 lockdown. Also pictured is her constant companion 'the plant' that has accompanied her in all stages of her lockdown journey.

SG : What positive changes do you envision happening to the industry or society in general? Or hope will happen?
MG : I want to believe this global challenge will leave us with a different perception about what to keep and what to let go. Going back to essentials, buying less, wasting less and prioritizing people above things.
I have a positive mindset and I try to focus on the good, taking this as a lesson and learn something from it. Sometimes the biggest lessons comes through pain. And we must accept it to go on.
Mother Nature is growing while we stop, our air is cleaning and we need to remember it is all connected. Every little action is a dot linked to someone or something else. We can’t think individually but as part of a team.
I am convinced this crisis can be a transformation and an opportunity, for the ones that will keep an open mind and open heart.

SG : We are now all on our own 'islands'. What music is getting you through?
MG : Anything according to my mood… These are some of the names in my Spotify recently: The Lagoons, Snoh Aalegra, Ours Samplus, Nuages, Christian Löffler, UMI, The midnight, Ludovico Einaudi… and so on!

Are you a designer/creative? How have you been affected? What are you hoping will change for the better when we get through this pandemic? Leave us a comment we would love to hear from you!

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