Simona Occioni is an entrepreneur from Bergamo. She is a Contemporary Art Gallerist, Co-founder and President of Mazzoleni Foundation and recently also Artistic Director of the new company, ArtOnline20. For years she has been part of the intriguing and varied world of Art. Thanks to her commitment, work over the years, and constant attention to the evolution of art scenery (also supported by important Art professionals), she has played a significant role. She has consolidated her skills and presence in this fascinating world to foster the success of each artist and promote Art in all its parts.
Simona says that in order to be a respected gallery owner, it is not enough to have a high level of expertise in the artistic field and excellent managerial skills. Still, important character traits such as empathy and the ability to listen are also crucial, which can only be acquired and perfected with time, passion and dedication.
Who is Simona Occioni?
I dedicate myself to the first position to be the mother of two beautiful girls, Gloria and Alessandra. Then comes my role as a woman and entrepreneur. The two roles of mother and businesswoman are commitments. Not easy to combine because they involve times, values and behaviors that are often intertwined, but which I can now say I have managed to manage and above all keep separate thanks to three qualities that I believe are fundamental:
Confidence in one’s abilities is necessary to carry out one’s profession to the best of one’s knowledge and “fight” for the things I believe in without losing sight of human values.
Balance, I always carve out moments for myself and family and friends to not totalize in my work.
Femininity, in the noblest sense, where qualities such as generosity, kindness, sensitivity, altruism, and resilience prevail.
What is Art for you?
I have been part of the art world for several decades, and I find it challenging to find an answer to this open question that encompasses all the facets of Art. Attending art exhibitions, fairs, museums, galleries, churches and artists’ studios, one realizes that there are no limits or perimeters that define it. I am convinced that, paradoxically, everything begins with the combination of life and beauty, synonymous with the term ART. Art is in everything, every material and form. It can be imperceptible to a part of the senses, like music, and it can deal with any theme, from the banalest to the most complex. It can develop everywhere and it is in the soul of each of us. Few manage to find the ‘key’ to free it and let it dominate. Many can appreciate it in its forms, but no one can deny it completely because Art can be found in everything that arouses emotion, even if our mind cannot explain it. I firmly believe that the ‘blockade’ caused by the pandemic, which has put the world’s economies in serious difficulty (creating demoralization and negativity) has extinguished creativity in many sectors, will create the slingshot effect. As soon as we get out from Covid (thanks also to the vaccines) everything will start with full positivity and enthusiasm.
Tell us about your past
I’m not particularly eager to talk about the past. I always think and reason in projection for professional training, looking towards future projects without looking back. I believe the past should be considered net of choices, both right and wrong, considering mistakes as one less attempt to try, but above all forgetting them. Same as when you fell off your bicycle as a child: you had to get back on immediately to overcome the fear. In any case, I consider myself to be a lucky person. My first fifty years have been intense for the series… if I were to go back, I would do everything I have done all over again! I have always put my heart and passion into everything and have always been able to appreciate the joys and the negative moments. One of my main skills is to see the positive side of everything that happens to me, and this has allowed me always to start over and not let myself be defeated.
Today is an important date that marks your present… how would you describe it?
Today I am fifty years old. I see a future full of meaningful moments to live and things to learn, forcing me to keep faith with the principle of thinking about myself, living “Here and Now” because the past and the future are only projections.
Mazzoleni Foundation and Artonline20, two Great Realities. Would you like to tell us about them?
The Mazzoleni Foundation was founded to promote Italian Art, beauty, and excellence throughout the world. It stages cultural events with artists of international renown and devotes significant attention to emerging artists, following them in their artistic and professional development process. We plan a calendar of exhibition events in prestigious public contexts, addressing a domestic and international audience. At the same time, ArtOnline20, the new online challenge of which I am the founder. It aims to develop a global network that connects artists, gallery owners, art dealers, architects, interior designers, and collectors to promote and enhance an extraordinary range of artworks to an international audience. The two realities have in common to support, improve and encourage contemporary Art in the world.
What future projects does Simona have in mind? Any news in advance for us?
The year 2021 will remain in the annals as the restart year. I will dedicate it to the new marketplace ArtOnline20.com where we have invested significant economies on a communication campaign that is gaining remarkable consensus. In addition, to keep the focus also on the historical core business of my profession, I am working hard on the organization of two important events signed Mazzoleni Foundation for 2022. The first one, from 20 January to 28 February 2022, I will inaugurate “Renaissance”, an exhibition at the Foundation Majid in Ascona, Switzerland, with 20 selected artists and sixty works on display. An exhibition dedicated to the restart and the new world renaissance. The second event, also in 2022, is a major public exhibition of the great master of Pop Art, Andy Warhol, at Palazzo Sarcinelli in Conegliano Veneto, entitled “WARHOL. The genius of Pop Art.
Then there is the absolute news, the “ARTonBAG” project signed by the Mazzoleni Foundation, conceived by me together with a dear friend, Gianfranco Galasso (entrepreneur in the services and innovation sector and contemporary art enthusiast) with whom we will launch a project that aims to promote Art and artists in a unique way: Bags made of eco-sustainable materials in a limited edition. And here is the innovation, the first case in the world, equipped with a certificate of authenticity that eliminates any possibility of counterfeiting by using an indelible seal that can be read and activated by mobile phone. You can register the bag and personalize it with your data. A “case history” that will pave the way for the world of luxury. On the artistic side, each bag will be dedicated to a “moment” or an “event” that the work will recall directly or by analogy. The mood will be “Walking Art”, a sort of “Street Art” but on a walking canvas! And then one day, it will become a collector’s item which, thanks to authentication and uniqueness, will acquire value!
Manager leader and above all, mother. You have two enterprising daughters; Will they support you in your future projects?
First of all, mum… the thing I am most proud of! I don’t deny that I would like to have them by my side but, considering that they are both enterprising girls, I wish them to follow the path of their aspirations without influencing them, then, one day, who knows. Gloria will finish her language studies in September and, given her character and schooling, I imagine that the world of tourism is her target. Alessandra, the youngest, is in her first year of law school, so for the next five years, as a mother, I will make sure that she dedicates her time to her studies and then… I am convinced that nowadays a company needs the support of intelligent young people with a high level of training, they will be the ones to bring fresh and innovative ideas to the company.
The world has quickly changed the paradigms of communication and the approach to buying goods and services. Social networks and the web have made it possible for even a single shopkeeper to offer products in markets on the other side of the earth. This is why I hope that Gloria and Alessandra can gain work experience outside of their family businesses and one day helps me to bring them into the world that belongs to me, or instead to us, Art.
We conclude this pleasant interview with a thought for the future.
I would like to end this pleasant interview by wishing myself and all women many successes and to make their dreams come true by living day by day in the knowledge that it is better to be optimistic and be wrong than to be pessimistic and be right!
Article edit by Massimo Basile