Big Fun Christmas with Raissa Pardini

"I think that when you get addicted to beauty, you try to find it everywhere."
We sat down with visual artist Raissa Pardini ahead of her Big Fun Christmas installation launch to talk retro fonts, the 70s punk scene and touristy ferry rides. 
What is the inspiration behind Big Fun Christmas? Did you draw inspiration from The Standard, London?

As a graphical artist, I'm very inspired by architecture. The Standard is a place that I looked up to since it opened its doors. I think Big Fun Christmas at The Standard is a combination of the history of King's Cross, the former library, and the brutalist architecture. It's also the history of the underground music and DIY scene that shaped London as we know it now. I remember coming from Italy, being very into music and reading about Vivienne Westwood having a shop around here in the 1970s. So you have neon colours, you have foil, you have all these materials that fashion designers and punks used all over London. I think the energy is something that we wanted to really explore, and bring back into the hotel because it's always been part of this community in King's Cross.

Can you speak to the bespoke quality of your installation here?

It needed to be something that isn’t something you could find and download on the internet, but rather something that was inspired by those corners, details, patterns, tiles, carpets, and colours that you find all around The Standard, all of the small details. I got inspired, and I made the font. And then after the font, we made a pattern out of it as well, as something that could be festive, but a bit more fresh.

The Standard is a place for curious minds like me to get lost. When you're there, you start seeing tiles and colours walking around with you. It's pleasing for all of the senses, and you get into the old Camden library, and the feeling of the old Camden library is still there, because there's this amazing selection of hand-picked books. They're a bit tacky, and they have amazing fonts. 

It's really appealing to me to be in this place, it was really inspiring. That's how I create things around me, how I search for beauty from a suit, to the way that I decorate my studio, to the way I cook food, I can't cook something that doesn't look graphical, so it's just everything. I think that when you get addicted to beauty, you try to find it everywhere and this is definitely a place where a lot of people worked to try to find beauty in different areas, so I am so honoured to be part of this team for Christmas.

What does Big Fun mean to you? 

Big fun is definitely London, because London is full of different communities, and different people. So it's London, it's music, it's culture. Fun is fun, it's being excited, it's having a reason to dress up and put on some makeup and go out with your friend and have a little drink.

I think it's an experience that we wanted to gift to everyone that walks in the door, because having a bit of fun is priceless, and should be accessible for all.

Even if it's just 15 minutes, half an hour that you're in a hotel, the colours, the foil, everything is working together with the light to try to recreate that feeling of feeling good with yourself and with the people you have around you.

What do you do for fun and how does your concept of fun inspire your work?

I want to have fun one day a week where I go around London, and I feel like a tourist. Once I took the tourist ferry, and I just heard all of the history about bridges, and I came back home, and I couldn't stop talking about bridges because I knew everything about London bridges. That led me to look at a book that had all of this bridge architecture, and I got a poster out of it. 

So for me, having fun is vital in a way that if I'm curious, if I'm having a good time to feed my curiosity, then it all comes back to me.  I had a day for myself where I was literally like what do you want to do today? Do you want to feel like a tourist? That's okay. Just my own time where I could have a laugh, I could cry in front of a painting. Or I can just do my thing. I think that's my idea of fun. So I would say having that day for myself really reflect my work, my creativity, my being Raissa.

 Philosophically or materialistically, what do you want for Christmas this year?

Do you know what? I want to have Big Fun in 2023, and with that meaning that my mental health is on top form, my friends feeling good, my family is good. I always say that when you have a healthy brain, you have a creative mind, you are a great partner, you're a great friend, you're a great daughter. I want a mindset that allows me to be wild and risk more. I want to go back to a place where I feel again like a child that is brave enough to say this is my project, and these are my friends and this is my life, and this is how I look and I don't care, because I'm having a good time.

It's a big wish though. We can do it.

 We can do it.

After this Christmas thing is finished, and I have seven days of sleep, I can do it.

Find out what else is on at The Standard, London this holiday season. 

Raissa Pardini is an Italian-born, UK based visual artist who works mainly with music and culture. 16 of her poster work were recently added to the V&A permanent collection as part of a documentation of the current wave of rising British music scene. She has been working for many of the most interesting artists and projects around the world. From Apple Music to MTV, Sony to Nike, NYTimes, Adobe, WeTransfer and worked with artists like Måneskin, Nadia lee Cohen, Paul Weller, Idles, Kahurangi, among others.

Raissa has been extremely active with talks, seminars, free mentorship programs, festivals, where she speaks about the importance of visuals in the music industry trying to raise interesting topics and get a younger crowd inspired to follow a similar path. She has been hosting for Nicer Tuesday, Adobe Live, at the main OFFF stage in Barcelona, Wide Awake Festival, guesting for Rough Trade podcast, Synesthesia, BIMM Institute and countless universities around Europe.


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