At 21 years old I was living in Los Angeles working three crappy jobs that left me with little time and even less inspiration to work on my art. My four-year relationship was not going well and I knew it wasn’t up to him to do for me what I had to do for myself. I needed to change my life. What I was doing wasn’t my idea of living. I reached out to find a job abroad and within a week was hired to teach English to an Italian family in Torino, in the northern region of Italy.
I found myself in the Piedmontese hills overlooking the city, staying with an aristocratic brood, whose head of the family worked for the local industry, FIAT. I taught myself Italian while teaching the children English, learned how to cook and took photographs.
When I ventured away from the family home I was surprised to find others like myself. I had imagined the Italian guys as shepherds wearing britches- far from it. One guy’s family who I met had an apartment for rent, which they offered to me. When the summer was over I decided to seize the opportunity to live in Torino permanently even though it meant sacrificing my relationship back home and taking a chance on the unknown. I was at a place in my life where it wasn’t courage that brought me to Italy, it was desperation.
Returning this time with more cameras, art supplies and a warm coat, I find myself moving into an amazing apartment above the local flower shop, overlooking the Po River – something out of a dream. Italy is everything the movies said it would be, but as each day unfolded I discovered a new kind of Italy, the underground of Torino. Squat houses that hosted political and music parties, techno clubs in abandoned factories, bars along the river where you can always score hash from some Moroccan guy. I was a black sheep who was lost and somehow stumbled upon others just like me. I was looking for artists, for people who didn’t come from privilege, and these people became my friends and I photographed and wrote about the moments we shared. Some of them did drugs, a lot of them lied, they all loved but no matter what, made it home to “la mamma” for dinner.
The days passed and my art evolved as I continued to photograph intimate moments with others and myself, falling into different love affairs. Some turned into beautiful friendships, some were challenging, some broke my heart and one memorable stranger threatened to extinguish everything about my spirit that had been reawakened.
One day I moved out of my safe haven and got caught in a scam that took most of my money and left me with no place to live. I found myself in a borrowed art studio with no heat and no bathroom, and few of the comforts I had come to take for granted.
Each page of intimate photographs and writing illustrate the romanticism and heartbreak, the self-deprecation and self-awareness that one goes through as they transition into being an adult. Each experience left an everlasting impression and an indelible mark on my evolution as an artist and a woman. Throughout each page readers will feel as if they know this girl and some might even feel as though this could be their story- They could be this young woman navigating the precipice of self-discovery.