From artist to model by chance

A life between art and Vogue

Paola Fonticoli Artist and model

I started my journey through painting as a girl, at the Art Academy of Brera. Day after day I experiment and work by subtraction, to build abstract and essential figures, soft, organic shapes that reflect a space of silence and uncertain equilibrium.


I look for the same feelings in my Milano, immersed in its hidden oases. In fact, what is art if not a different way of traversing time, space, the city and its secret places, artist studios, small and large galleries to discover the personal languages of the various artists?

I am thinking, for instance, of the Temporary Space in Via Solferino or the Studio Masiero in the Navigli area, or my "favourite oasis", the Galleria Christian Stein in Corso Monforte, which overlooks a secret and large lawn, the same that Lucio Fontana could look from the large window of his study.

I also love getting lost in the flea markets just outside the city, those in Corsico and San Donato are exceptional; I look at everything with curiosity, even coming to find unexpected works of art.


Music and musician friends are another opportunity to discover unusual places in the city: from private homes of "classic" enthusiasts to little-known associations and cultural circles, to alternative spaces where you can listen to the best musicians of the underground Milanese and international scene. Like the Garage Moulinski in the Monteceneri area, a former garage now live music venue open to small formations of the fusion and Sephardic genre, or Biko, a space with a soul-black-funk heart in the Barona district.


Everything becomes part of the so-called "inspiration", even in an unconscious way. The artist's work is a continuous inner process, a journey that has taken me far. I sublet the house and sold the car to move first to Rio de Janeiro and then to New York for six months, on Fifth Avenue and then to Tribeca, in apartments made available by my collector friends. This is the energy that I would like to convey in Milano, I would like more curiosity and space for artists, for many different languages, for the creative forces that are born in the city and that hardly find adequate spaces to live and develop, at least as much as fashion does.


By the way, now I'll tell you how I started modelling. One evening I played at Cascina Monlué at an afro concert with my group, Le Anchefunky. At the end of the evening, we were hired for a commercial. The experience intrigued me, so much so that I decided to try a new "career", parallel to that of an artist. Initially, I found myself making an appearance in Italian and international films, then I took the path of fashion.

Since then I have done many photoshoots: Vogue, Benetton, Elle Korea and I have walked the runways (among others) also for Diesel and Dolce & Gabbana. With surprise, my last release was on the Milan Fashion Week Man's 2019 poster!



Cover photo: Vogue Italia, photo Claudia Pasanisi, styling Fabio Pittalis