We’re glad to introduce the double interview with Ylenia Donati and Federico Tassinari, SOA students from the Masterclass#20.
Could you present yourselves to our readers and tell them the position you currently hold?
FEDERICO: Hi all, my name is Federico Tassinari, I’m 28 years old and I come from Faenza, a small city near Bologna, where I was born and where I still live. After my graduation in Architecture in 2014 I felt like I had never done anything really practical, nothing real, so I decided to start working in a carpentry here in my city.
After a while a university mate called Ylenia and me to ask us if we were interested in a job in an office specialized in architectural competition. Without thinking too much we decided that it might have been worth trying. After a year in this office we decided to attend the Masterclass at SOA Academy and 9 months after the course we both decided, in a crazy moment, to start our own activity and open a visualization studio called OPERAVISUAL.
YLENIA: Hi everyone, my name is Ylenia Donati, I’m 28 years old and I live in Faenza, Italy. With my “partner in crime” Federico I’m founder of OPERAVISUAL. After my architecture degree and a master in museography and archaeology, I started working in an architectural studio with Federico. In that year, I worked on many architectural competitions and since rendering is one of the main communicative tools of the competitions, of course my curiosity for visualization started to come out. After a while, not feeling fully satisfied with what I was doing, I decided with Federico to attend the ArchViz Masterclass at SOA Academy.
Why have you decided to become an Arch-Viz Artist?
FEDERICO: I’ll be honest it was neither a vocation nor a higher calling. Initially it was just a pure need to find a job that would allow us to live independently. After the masterclass, we understood how this job was exciting compared to working in an architecture office, so we decided that we had to try to do something more intense in this new direction.
YLENIA: Like I said before, architecture didn’t give me all the motivation I needed. I felt I needed to be freer and more creative, to be able to work on several project (sometimes you work for 6 months/1 year on the same project, and this can become boring and uninspiring) and more important, like Federico said, I felt the need to find a job that could make me independent.
You attended the Masterclass#20, how was your experience at SOA?
FEDERICO: It was a wonderful and really intense adventure, mostly because I had no experience in the visualization field. Luckily the Academy supported me a lot and gave me a passion and a dedication to this profession that I would have never imagined. For this I will never be sufficiently grateful.
YLENIA: My experience in SOA was amazing! Initially I was a bit worried because, like Federico, I had never worked with modelling or rendering software so I could not imagine how much difficult it would be to learn it or if I had liked it so much to make it my job. At the Academy I found kind and prepared people who have been able to teach me, beside the technique, a working method.
Why did you decide to attend a SOA course?
FEDERICO: My boss told me about these courses and in the meantime I understood how important was visualization for architectural competition, so why not to try?
YLENIA: I decided to participate because, considering various proposals, it seemed it was the most advantageous option. Mostly because in a short period (a month) you have the possibility to learn and grow so much. This is made possible by a well-structured and intense program. Also, many feedbacks from people who had already attended the courses helped me to choose.
How did the course help you improve your skillset and quality of images?
F & Y: In any possible way since we had almost never opened 3ds Max before! Seriously, we think that the course has a breadth of topics that allows you in short time to grow and try to open your own office.
Is there any moment during your experience at SOA that you remember with a smile?
FEDERICO: There was a lot of moments: in general what struck me at the beginning was the professional but at the same time joking approach that you breathe inside the Academy, starting from Roberto to Gianpiero to everyone who works there. You can breathe an air of excitement and irony around this world, which I wasn’t used to.
YLENIA: Ahh, hard to choose one of them! All the course was full with moments of happiness, euphoria and laughs. Among classmates and tutors I found beautiful people who have made this masterclass a wonderful experience from a training and human point of view.
You also participated to the Academy Day. What do you think about the event?
F & Y: Yes, we participated at two Academy Days, we found it a very interesting experience. If we can give our personal opinion, we think it could be fantastic to have more artist talking and doing a sort of mini-workshop on their way of working. It would be the necessary push to continue to search for one’s own artistic identity. It’s also a great opportunity to meet old friends!
Did the SOA experience helped you with your career? How?
F & Y: Absolutely, we would not be here doing this interview talking about visualization if it wasn’t for SOA. They didn’t just teach us how to use graphic tools to create images, but they also explained and taught us a workflow, which is one of the few things that grants you to provide a constantly evolving quality standard.
What were the biggest difficulties you faced at the beginning of your working experience? How did you handle and overcome them?
F & Y: Good question! We believe that the main difficulty was our inexperience in the world of visualization. In fact both of us had never worked in this field, not even as internal collaborator for a studio. This fact is really relevant when you decide to start your own activity: starting from the management of clients (a really complex world to face) to the research of your own artistic identity, up to the definition of the economic value of your work.
We certainly cannot say that we have solved these difficulties as we are constantly trying to improve ourselves and to do so, the solution is to work intensively and in a transversal way, not only on the quality of the images but also on all the other componentsweI mentioned before.
Is there a work/ an image/ a project that you created which is most valuable to you? Why?
FEDERICO: I constantly try to fall in love with my works. For me it’s the only way to create something to be proud of. If I have to choose an image that I’m fond of is the one I called Irish Green: not because of its complexity or its particular atmosphere, but because it was one of my first images after SOA Masterclass and it’s the one that really made me understand that I had found a kind of art that would allow me to express my ideas.
YLENIA: Below is a personal project that means a lot for me, basically because it was born like a challenge. I wanted to test some of my techniques and creative abilities, to see how far I could arrive and the level of realism I could achieve.
What do you do in your free time after work? Can you balance your working life and your private one?
FEDERICO: It’s really difficult for me to balance work and private life and the more our office grows the more it gets difficult; but I dedicate a lot of effort to this research. It is too easy to choose to live only the private life or the working life: the complicated thing is to make them coexist together. Surely physical activity and sports are an important part, even if just to avoid finding myself in 10 years with an old man’s back! But obviously friends and family are the real cornerstone of my private life and given where we live it’s very easy to find things to do or to visit together.
YLENIA: In general, I love spending my free time with my family and my friends, going out to drink, going to the cinema or concerts, or going to the beach! In my free time I try to stay away from my work- I think it’s very important to be able to balance private and working life. When you choose to start your own activity it’s even more difficult because there are so many things to keep in mind and so many hours spent organizing works, managing clients and collaborators…but I think that as I grow up, I will find the right compromise!