Art Insider

I Heart Art Insider – Alessia Bonadonna

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I am driven by the idea of making the world a bit of a better place, trying to recycle different materials, and using my art to bring awareness to topics that are important to me.

 Alessia Bonadonna is a talented product designer currently working with a well-known toy manufacturer. She grew up in Germany and studied Industrial Design before relocating to Hong Kong in 2015. Her art is inspired by the city’s stunning nature, and her paintings aim to capture the different facets of Hong Kong’s vibrant culture. In this interview, we’ll learn more about Alessia’s creative process and what inspires her.


  • Can you tell us about your background and how you became a painter?

I grew up with two extremely creative grandfathers, who were talented Piano and Trumpet players, great art lovers, and painters. With their influence, I have been drawing or painting whenever I could since I was a young child. Later my interest in creativity and design turned into my profession, and I became an Industrial Designer, leading me to live abroad. 


I was born in Italy and spent most of my childhood in Germany. However, since 2015 I have been calling Hong Kong my home, which is my constant inspiration and leaves its mark on my art. The works from my first series, “Blues”, were heavily influenced by Hong Kong’s surroundings, illustrating the sea and nature in an abstract way.

  • Can you describe your style and technique?


I’d describe my style as figurative abstract, with bright colours, bold brush strokes, and hatchings, influenced by my industrial design background and various textures or material mixes. Generally, I am driven by the idea of making the world a bit of a better place, trying to recycle different materials, and using my art to bring awareness to topics that are important to me.

  • What inspires you in your work?


As cheesy as it might sound, I am very prone to energy and often get inspired by moods – but as a designer, I also get my inspiration from problems: such as my works for “#quarantinebutmakeitart”. 


Being locked away in quarantine for two weeks made me want to capture the city’s tenor. While we all suffered mentally, physically and sometimes financially, we had to adapt and work with whatever was offered. I remember leaving the quarantine hotel with 84 paper bags from food deliveries – and moreover, the feeling of guilt for producing lashings of unnecessary other trash. With shops closing early and everyone avoiding leaving home, I only had paper bags that I could use and recycle into canvasses to picture Hong Kong’s frame of mind. 


Post Covid, I left the busy city life behind and moved to an outlying little island in a small house close to the jungle. My main inspiration nowadays is my daily walks in the sunshine and through forests, witnessing nature changing throughout the seasons. As a result, the art I create now is much brighter and more uplifting than during Covid. I try to capture the beauty and variety of all these pretty plants in Hong Kong, conserving them in a semi-abstract still life.

  • What has been your most challenging project so far?


The most challenging project I worked on was definitely “#quarantinebutmakeitart”: It challenged me not only mentally but also technically, since the paper bags were a totally new medium I hadn’t worked with before. I poured many emotions into these works while figuring out how to applicate the colours. These paper bags are very unpredictable and untamable: Although every single one has been folded equally, they never make a perfectly even base, the colours soak in much quicker and too much water affects the texture. Additionally, confronting myself with so many negative emotions during Covid was challenging and liberating at the same time.

  • Can you share the creative process with us?


It starts with a vision, and I often quickly bring it to paper, before starting working on the project. Lately, I even wake up after dreaming about an idea. All my projects, including the paper bags, start with preparing these: untacking, flattening and sticking them together to the desired size. No bag is like another; each crinkle and surface is different. For the #quarantinebutmakeitart works, I love highlighting these distinctions by adding additional texture with molding mass or sand and emphasising them with gold colour. It’s the imperfections for me. The ”She blossoms”-series consists of really colourful semi-abstract flower motifs, and I start quite on the loose. 


The first step is always creating a rough sketch with a white pencil, giving me an idea of proportions and shapes. What makes them unique is the goal of making them as sustainable as possible in terms of resource use. Usually, I use up the leftover colours from other projects. It’s very bold brush strokes, and here and there, you can find small notes, little love letters, I randomly pick up while listening to music when working on my art.

  • How do photography and other art forms work together and influence each other?


Being half German, I can’t help myself but see it also as very pragmatic. I use photography to display my works; hence, it is indispensable. Combining the art of painting with the art of picture-taking gives me great joy. The photographed picture is pretty much the last step of completing my project, and I love to play with the camera, always trying to transport the “feeling” and “energy” of my work to whoever is viewing it. 


However, I believe both art forms are great sources of inspiration and influence each other. Taking a picture with a camera and painting follows similar orders: It’s both about composition, perspectives, colours and contrasts. They are both great tools to document anything the way only the artist sees it. Pictures and paintings always conserve moments with the unique style of their creator and make them accessible to everyone.


About Alessia Bonadonna

Alessia was born in Italy and grew up in Germany, where she studies Industrial Design. She is working as a Product Designer, creating children’s toys for a big toy manufacturer. In her Art she finds the perfect balance of very structured, technical designs and full creative freedom.


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