Con Edison Immigrant Artist Program Newsletter, Issue No. 41

Con Edison Immigrant Artist Program Newsletter, Issue No. 41

Featured Artist: Mentee 2012 Giada Crispiels

In January 2013, NYFA Program Officer Felicity Hogan spoke with interdisciplinary artist Giada Crispiels, who was entering the second week of a two-month residency at the Wassaic Artist Residency in Wassaic, New York. The conversation ranged from Giada’s journey from Italy to the U.S., the benefits and challenges of that transition, her current artistic focus, and the demands of sustaining an artistic practice.Giada Crispiels’s experience in Wassaic has been extremely productive. The residency has allowed her to further develop her interest in nature and its relationship to the artificial—a strong theme in her work.

Giada recently spent a year at Artspace, in New Haven, CT, where her studio space within the gallery inspired her to investigate inside/outside spaces and how information can be perceived from a variety of perspectives. The Wassaic Artist Residency, located in the heart of rural country, enables Giada to deepen her relationship to nature. Numerous abandoned buildings and their impact within communities have also inspired her. Giada’s site-specific representations of nature are built from glossy magazines and newspapers, which emphasize the often-conflicting dialogue in contemporary society’s media outlets. For Giada, the historic landmark buildings in Wassaic offer unusual site-specific locations for her upcoming projects that include a festival organized by the Wassaic Project. Giada’s blog contains a photo diary documenting her studio work, play, and interactions with her surroundings and fellow artists. She particularly values her relationships with her peers. 

Giada Crispiels, "Climbing ivy," installation, Oct. 2012. Image courtesy of the artist.     -

Giada’s background in set design influences her interests in space and installations and site-specific projects. She graduated with a Masters of Fine Art in Set Design in October 2010 from the Liberal Academy of Fine Arts of Brescia. She immigrated to the United States to pursue art. She has been successful, finding refreshing openness and positive responses to her work, including her first major opportunity, at Artspace.Navigating the English language has been challenging. “I didn’t speak any English when I came here,” Giada says, “so I went back to school.” She studied English alongside other immigrants at the Adult Educational Center. She supplemented the daily four-hour classes with reading articles, applying for projects, and simply talking to others in English. “I think that’s the best way to learn a language, just by living your life in the new country,” she says. “Going to school was so annoying and boring after a certain point. I had just finished university and the only thing I wanted to do was something in my field, which is art.”

Giada was selected for the Van Lier Fellowship in Architecture/Environmental Structures/Design in 2012. For those six months she partnered with artist Analia Segal. She developed professionally through the Artist As Entrepreneur Boot Camp. This increased her ability to promote her work through marketing and social media, which she believes improves her career prospects. It also led to close, supportive relationships with other participating artists that she finds valuable. Giada is now considering a nomadic life for the time being in order to focus on her artist practice. She will move from the Wassaic Project to a residency at AnnMarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center in Solomons, MD, called “Living Gallery." 

To follow Giada Crispiels’s activities at the Wassaic Artist Residency, please visit For more information about her work, please visit*This article includes an excerpt from a recent interview with Carolina Torres, a German journalism student, while the artist was on residence at Artspace in New Haven.

Images: Top, Giada Crispiels, "Soffioni flowers,” installation, Oct. 2012. Image courtesy of the artist. Middle, Giada Crispiels, “Climbing ivy,” installation, Oct. 2012. Image courtesy of the artist.
Amy Aronoff
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