'Skins of Britain', 2018 © Maya Lamoine Ronchetti
Studio residency at CAST, Helston, 2018
Sculptural installation, wood, rope, string and ship sails

Student Spotlight: Maya Lamoine Ronchetti, Falmouth University 2018
March 25, 2019
The latest student to be featured in our Student Spotlight interview series is Maya Lamoine Ronchetti, recipient of a £1,000 Materials Prize awarded by ACS at Falmouth University in 2018.

Over the course of 2018, ACS was able to partner with more institutions than ever before to award a record £30,000 in educational bursaries and prizes to students throughout the UK.

Find out more about how Ronchetti uses organic materials in her politically inspired work, and the ways in which the Materials Prize will help expand her exploration of 16mm film-making.


Q. How would you define your work in three words?


Palimpsestal, political and organic.


Q. What does winning the ACS/Falmouth Materials Prize mean for you as an artist?


It opens a lot of doors for me. It not only means freedom from working to fund my art work, but also draws me into an online artistic community and landscape. It allows me to focus on my final year of study without worrying about the costs of materials and my art practise being jeopardised by the need to work. I can fulfil material desires and have the freedom to try things out without being too precious. It is also very encouraging and supportive for me emotionally which I hope will only have a positive effect on my art practice and confidence as an artist in the future.


The prize money is mainly going towards a 16mm Krasnogorsk-3 video camera and the 16mm films to shoot on it with. 16mm filming tugged at my heart strings during my exchange to Emily Carr University in Vancouver, Canada last year. I shot 3 minutes on a Bolex and fell in love with its experimental potential for image making and mystical essence when projected.


From chemical experimentation during its processing, tiny transient paintings were set on the film and informed the aesthetic for other mediums of work that followed. After editing, it became a video work alone plus part of installations. With my own 16mm camera, I will do more filming and chemical hand processing to further inform my work and to use as part of installations. Excess money will be used for sculptural materials like cement, metal, plaster and any other manifestations I encounter in the process. These pathways could not be fulfilled without the prize money.


Winning the Prize means stepping onto a ship that was before out of reach, also with an indefinite destination. A journey of new horizons, experimentation and possibilities that in no way would have been accessible or even considered without the award.


16mm filming will bring new prints, narrative, imagery, essence, sculpture and context into my work as well as a skill set in a new field of practise; something I am always open to. It will help me to develop my own individual visual language and strengthen consistency in my approach to making work and creative process.

‘The Broken Drum’, 2019 © Maya Lamoine Ronchetti
16mm film still
Q. What medium do you mainly work with and why?


I work with the medium most suitable for the idea so it is changing all the time. It doesn’t come naturally to me to stick to one material or medium so my work inevitably comes together in installation form. However, in my installations, video and sculpture of sorts are most prevalent.


Space, place, environments and the senses are very important to me in my own experience of the world which is why I am attracted to using multiple ways of communication. Stimulating the viewer with more than one type of language also eliminates the potential of exclusivity to one sense or one medium, allowing the work to branch out and reach a universal experiential realm where no prior knowledge of art or context is needed.


I attempt to reinforce this all-inclusive, sensory approach by often working with organic substances and material like wood. A beautiful and universal material deeply rooted into almost all cultures. If the material feels right then I’ll roll with it, whether it’s printing, ceramics or performance.


Q. Where do you find most inspiration for your work?


In the past year I have realised that my most crucial inspiration has been sourced from lived experiences. Since my university exchange to Vancouver, Canada last autumn, the entirety of my work has stemmed from the 4 months I spent living there. What was particularly influential and life changing was what I learnt about colonialism’s horrendous effects on Canada’s native population and how it is still very much present in today’s society but so often swept under the carpet. The politics and cultural dent that colonialism has forced upon indigenous communities across the world has become the basis of my work since and I expect this will continue into the future. Culture and time are at the roots of my endeavours.

‘Vibrant Matter’, 2019 © Maya Lamoine Ronchetti
Mixed media sculpture, hay, straw, bread, fabric, leather, wood, ceramics, seed pods, dog hair, metal and string
Q. Take us through your working process.


I can’t say there is a pattern in my process of creation but what I know for sure is that research plays a big part. Initially I work with an idea or piece of information stemmed from colonialism and culture that marks a starting point.



From that starting point there is more reading, lots of writing and thinking that gives birth to physical representation and explorations of the notion that change, alter and mutate until an installation is born. A lot of the process involves trial and error and playing with different materials and processes to find which communicates the issue I am trying to portray best.

‘Untitled’, 2019 © Maya Lamoine Ronchetti
Q. Can you remember the first work of art that you created? What was it and why was it so memorable?


As long as I can remember I’ve been gluing, sticking, drawing and making things. As a kid I was probably doing similar performative acts as I’ve done for my work as an adult. It’s actually quite an interesting question to consider; I once heard someone say that anything other than mere survival is art, so who knows where that began.


In terms of consciously making a piece of art work, I’d say a big moment for me was during my foundation year of study in Leamington Spa. I produced a piece of work where I slept for the night in white cotton bed sheets but covered my entire naked body in multi-coloured chalks. The traces and marks that my body and chalk made together on the fabric were described by my lecturers as drawing. This invited my into a mind-set that challenged any preconceptions I had of defining and categorising things, allowing this alternative way of thinking to filter through and be challenged in work that followed.


Find out more about Ronchetti’s work on her website and Instagram.