Tantalum: Tell us about this shoot??
Nicoletta Gauci: This shoot was melting pot of artistic inspiration. It all started with the make-up artists, Kassandra Frua De Angeli, and my desire to create some beautiful images. We connected via social networking and realized that we both had similar stories, US born with Italian blood now figuring out how to continuing with our craft in Milan. Inspired by similar sources both with similar goals in mind we began to collaborate. This was actually our second collaboration.
Tantalum: Stylists are very sharp on their artistic visual direction. What do you find to be the most difficult when bringing a team of artists together?
Nicoletta Gauci: I have been very fortunate with the teams I have worked with allover the world. However I would say I always look for forward focused positive people. Similar design aesthetics can be great but the differences are what make for both great art and an expansion of each artists knowledge and technique. In the end communication is key which is why to me a storyboard is an integral must have to any shoot - as artists we have to communicate the best way we know how, visually.
Tantalum: Who or what would you say is your inspiration “Muse”?
Nicoletta Gauci: I am always inspired by the late 1950s through to the mid 1970's- so I would have to say strong women of this time period are my muses. Not only where they real and gorgeous but they dictated how media and fashion evolved during those decades - decades where true women’s liberation was still a challenge in varying degrees from country to country. When Brigitte Bardot danced barefoot on a table lifting her skirt in "And God Created Women" to when The Valley of the Dolls exposed the pressure of women in that time through the voice of Jacqueline Susann to when Sophia Loren was...well born....that era exuded beauty and power within women.
Tantalum: When sending your work out for the world to see, what do you hope your element of the project says to the viewers?
Nicoletta Gauci: I just want to create beautiful hair that inspires other hairstylists to want to continue lifting the level of our industry and to create things. I love doing hair and I love not only making beautiful things but making things beautiful.
Tantalum: What were the best editorial words of wisdom or advice that stand out to you now? Who handed you these pearls and how do you apply it to your professional career?
Nicoletta Gauci: Always try to tell a story – Lucie Doughty
Hair is never just hair; it is an integral part of any shoot, movie, show...life! This helps me keep focused and is my north star when I am doing hair.
Tantalum: On set, there are often last minute choices, situations...but what do you feel is a common mistake Artists make?
Nicoletta Gauci: Going for the wow factor and only the wow factor. It is super easier to get caught up in the moment. However when collaborating with a team all of the different aspects have to sing together in harmony. With luck your career will be long so you will have plenty of shoots where your work can shine over the other elements and you will have plenty of time do to that “awesome thing" you have in mind. Remembering the common goal is key.
Tantalum: Regarding artistic visual direction... What do you find most difficult when bringing a team of artists together?
Nicoletta Gauci: The answer there is in the question...we are all artists. We are mildly temperamental (at best), we have endless sources of inspiration which are matched with an imagination that wanders and an attention span that...wait what? Just kidding. None of it is truly a challenge if everyone is open to creating something beautiful and leaves their ego at home.
Sharing knowledge not only grows our industry but showcases talent and strong work ethic, as well.
Tantalum: Who is your mentor? What was the most valuable lesson they taught you?
Nicoletta Gauci: Lucie Doughty, Editorial Director for Paul Mitchell, without a doubt has been my mentor throughout my career. Not only is she an extremely talented editorial stylist but also an educator, celebrity colorist, businesswoman and most importantly, amazing person. I was fortunate enough to assist her the first few years of my career and to continue to work with her since then. Simply put her dedication to truly owning her skill set, her love for her craft, her openness to continue to expand her knowledge while sharing hers with the rest of the industry - her leading by example - is the most valuable lesson I have been taught.
Tantalum: As an editorial artist, what do you feel is one of the biggest mistakes beginners tend to make?
Nicoletta Gauci: There really are no mistakes in this game; it is all about learning experiences. I will say that many give up to easily. Mastering your skills and being persistent is key - having a smile on your face and being on time never hurts either :)
Tantalum: Continuing education and always evolving your artistic expertise is vital, what do you say to those who don’t feel education is important throughout their career?
Nicoletta Gauci: I say a hairstylist’s career is over when they decide to stop learning. As a hairstylist I am fully aware that my career is based on two foundations - Art and Science - and if history is any example...those two things are constantly evolving. How can I, knowing that, decide that I have no need to evolve? Education is crucial, that is why I am so excited to have recently teamed up with The Mastery by Esani in Atlanta, Georgia. The Mastery is a total package masters academy and five star salon. Ivy League education from leading artists within our industry. Lucie Doughty is the creative director and Arlene Lyons “schools” everyone in business .Together they have compiled a list of mind blowing industry leaders to come in to educate the designers at The Mastery.
The Mastery says it best on their website - Industry icon + M.B.A. Ivy league Grad= a new school of thought.
Tantalum: Having the opportunities to travel to amazing high fashion shows is every hair nerd’s dream. What would you say you learned of most value with these experiences?
Nicoletta Gauci: Oh gosh. I totally nerd out at these things. I even did a touchdown in my office when you all responded to my e-mail! I think the energy you receive takes precedence above any lesson…that charge you feel means you know you are doing what makes your heart sing.
Tantalum: How has having the opportunity to experience working with a team to complete a project benefited you?
Nicoletta Gauci: Team work! I was always the kid in school who preferred to work alone. Working with a team forces me out of my shell and has definitely expanded my horizons. I believe that level of collaboration only increases your skill set and the circle of influence which helps you grow both as an artist and a person!
Tantalum: How would you describe your artistic style? What has influenced your work the most?
Nicoletta Gauci: I think this goes back to the muse question. Art, Fashion, Music from the late 1950’2 through mid-1970’s are my biggest influence – for this I blame (and thank) my grandmother, the dame of all dames, Anna Gauci. Even at 60 she rocked an adorned pant suit, wing tipped eyeliner, crimson blush and her strawberry blonde long locks rolled into classic chignon like it was no one’s business. All other inspiration I currently find comes most often from my favorite photographers Solve Sundsbo, Tim Walker, Steven Meisel, Guy Bourdin, Patrick Demarchelier, Mert and Marcus, Nick Knight, Paolo Roversi, and Ellen Von Unwerth.
Tantalum: Tell us how you started working in editorial. How hard or easy was it for you to build your career?
Nicoletta Gauci: I owe my interest in editorial in part to my fashion designer grandmother with her flawless style and to Lucie Doughty my mentor and the person who brought me on my first shoot ever. With the guidance I was given by both amazing women, I created, in what most would view as a short time, an editorial foundation and continued to chase my dreams. I took whatever opportunities I had that were right for me and ran with them. I have been lucky enough to have been led here but I am definitely not done chasing yet.
Tantalum: Upcoming editorial goals?
Nicoletta Gauci: As long as I continue to love what I am doing I am happy…however, I would not mind working with one of the photographers I listed about sometime soon!