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Alumni Spotlight
Isotta Page ‘14

What brought you to Rome, and what are your memories of your time as a student at St. Stephen's?

At seven years old, my family and I moved from Northern Italy to Rome, where I initially attended Ambrit. Opting for St. Stephen's as my high school was an instinctive choice, fueled by its positive reputation and the fact that my brother was already a student there. Some of my most cherished memories are of being in the art room with the legendary Ms. Clink, Ms Guerra and Ms. Stewart.

The IB program granted me the opportunity to pursue art full-time as a Higher Level subject, and it felt like the best thing in the world. Being able to engage in art during the school day was a dream come true for 16-year-old me, and honestly, it still is! It was during this period that I discovered my passion for the history of art, thanks to Ms. Nicholson's class. She inspired me to appreciate art history from a new perspective, and I have wonderful memories of the field trips we took around Rome together.

Growing up in Rome, I worked as a tour guide during the summertime, something I did for fun and to earn pocket  money. Taking Ms. Nicholson's art history class and doing tours brought Baroque and Renaissance Rome alive for me, making me realize the profound impact this period has had on the legacy of Western art.

After St. Stephen's what came next?

In 2014, I graduated from St. Stephens and pursued my education at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. There, I earned both a double bachelor's and master’s degree, focusing on history of art and fine arts with a specialization in sculpture. My time in Edinburgh marked a significant artistic departure. Prior to that, my artistic focus had primarily been on painting and drawing. During my childhood, I received training from Sienna Reid, an oil painter in Rome, starting at the age of nine and continuing into my teenage years. Eventually, I had the opportunity to work with her as a studio assistant.

When I got to university, I was compelled to study sculpture. Edinburgh College of Art has a fantastic cast collection, including the Elgin Marble casts. Growing up in Rome, I had always been surrounded by Baroque and Renaissance sculpture, and only after leaving the city did I realize how significant my interest in sculpture is.

However, the artistic approach in Edinburgh was markedly different. The emphasis was on highly conceptual and non figurative art, with a focus on installation and theory. This marked a departure from the strict regimen of oil painting I had been taught along with the guidelines of IB art with its emphasis on documentation and idea progression in sketchbooks. At 19, this was very challenging for me. But 5 years of biweekly rigorous critique sessions taught me how to think deeply about what and why we make certain things and how to connect the work I and my peers make to greater discourse of contemporary art.

While at university, I also embarked on a year-long exchange to UC Santa Barbara in California. The art department there had a distinct ethos, placing a strong emphasis on craft and skill-based making. During this time, I developed a basic proficiency in woodworking and metalworking, and our studios, conveniently located on the ground floor, opened onto a patio with a stunning view of the ocean. This unique blend of indoor and outdoor workspace had a profound impact on me, igniting my interest in creating artwork for outdoor settings. In the summer of 2018, I successfully crowdfunded and crafted a sculptural installation for Burning Man. This experience was pivotal, taking a project from conception to realization and providing valuable insights into the complexities of creating site-specific work for the challenging desert environment.

You've continued to work in sculpture, and recently, you have begun working in marble. What has that been like, and, specifically, what's it like to work in Valencia — has that influenced your artistic practice?

Growing up in Rome, I was surrounded by marble sculptures and was curious about them. However, I only thought a little about pursuing it, mainly because it always seemed like a historical medium, something other than what is being done today. I started marble carving in April 2023 and as I find my footing in the genre, I'm discovering that it's a small world and predominantly male, but it's very passion driven and that’s cool. 

I've enjoyed having the freedom and flexibility to pursue my passions and double down on things that interest me. One piece of advice I received from a mentor of mine was to reinvest in your work and your practice continually. After completing a major commissioned project, I decided to take that advice to heart and invested in a course with a master marble carver in Italy. The experience was a personal reward, a chance to learn something new, and little did I know that marble would become the new focus of my work. It was a leap into the unknown, driven by a desire to try something different and the allure of discovering a new craft.

My search led me to Umberto Corsucci, a skilled marble artist I found searching on Google. I went to study with him for some time and was struck by the intense and physical nature of the carving process. In just ten days, I created a small tabletop sculpture, witnessing the remarkable transformation of a raw piece of stone into a finished sculpture. What captivated me was the geological aspect of working with materials—marble, a piece of the earth, utterly transformed. I am very interested in materials. I have mostly worked with recycled materials for past sculptures but have always worked with man made metals, chemical and artificial materials like resins and fiberglass.

What's fascinating about working with marble is the absence of waste; the process produces only dust. It's intriguing to work with a material so ancient—marble has been around for millions of years. Here I am, shaping it into something new, and who knows, maybe one day it will return to the land and end up in a pile with other rocks. But it will never become trash in a landfill somewhere.

As I've begun to work in marble, I've departed from traditional methods. There are norms that most marble carvers follow; for example, most marble sculpture is a copy of a work done in plaster or clay, and the job of the marble carver is to make a full-scale, meticulous copy in stone, and that's how it has been done since the Enlightenment. What I love about marble carving is how fast you can transform a piece. The process is very gestural. Our tools are limited and have stayed the same: hammers, chisels, air hammers, and pneumatic tools that use compressed air. Tools like saws with diamond blades can transform a piece rapidly. It has been interesting to research and learn from the old masters and discover more industrial processes while giving myself time and space to experiment.

There's this recent trend with CNC technology for marble carving, using a robotic arm to sculpt from a digital 3D model. While those CNC-carved sculptures impress me with their precision, there's a certain essence missing. I don't see myself heading down that path anytime soon. My focus is on learning and pushing beyond the boundaries of a traditional craft—it's fading not just in Italy but everywhere. I aim to contribute to keeping it alive.

Recently, I've enjoyed working with Spanish Macael marble. Each stone boasts a unique geological story and composition, and I can easily drive a few hours south to source marble. Living in Valencia has been exceptional—it's a beautiful and affordable place. My partner, a mechanical engineer, and I are both self-employed, and in Valencia we can maintain a high quality of life while investing in our work.

The city offers ample space for artists, and I work in a reclaimed factory space—an industrial warehouse divided into rentable spaces for artists and other makers like carpenters or mechanics. It's significantly more affordable than other global art centers like New York, London, or Rome. Valencia harbors a vibrant and creative community, placing a strong emphasis on craftsmanship. An annual festival in March takes over the entire city, where they build and burn enormous effigies. Local community members and artisans collaborate in neighborhood groups to create these giant papier-mâché-like statues, all of which are set ablaze during a two-week-long street party.

You mentioned earlier that there's an essential difference between Carrara marble and Spanish marble. When you work with different types of marble, does that require you to change your artistic approach? 

I was surprised by the differences. Spanish marble has a much higher quartz content, glisten, and shimmer. It also flakes more, but I use the same tools. The craziest thing is that, when you're working on a piece, you don't see the quality of the stone until the final phases because the tools you use scratch the surface so deeply and create so much friction. Everything looks very white. Only after hours of sanding and polishing can you see the marble's true color and veins.

The series I’m currently working on is called Dark Optimism: Ghost in the Stone. The work has centered on abstracted studies of the human figure emerging from raw stone. I’ve approached these as geological drawings in three dimensions, with figurative sections melting into more abstracted planes. I deliberately contrast the elegance of smoothly carved marble—an art form ingrained in our consciousness from classical civilizations to contemporary monuments—with its raw, untouched counterpart. The selection of the stone I employ is a pivotal component of the sculpting process, because the uncarved portions of the marble carry as much weight as their carved counterparts.

I strongly believe that choosing to integrate art into your living space is more than just a matter of aesthetics; it signifies a deliberate step toward enriching your daily life. In a world often driven by the pursuit of immediate gratification through material acquisitions, investing in art offers a unique satisfaction—one that transcends trends and endures indefinitely. It marks the beginning of a lifelong journey, fostering creative synergy, and providing direct support to artists in their craft.

As I continue to develop my art and plan for 2024, I recognize the significance of finding homes for my sculptures, ensuring the sustainability of my work. To explore available sculptures for purchase, feel free to contact me via email at For more insights into my work, you can read my newsletter, ‘Moments of Sculpture’ and also visit my website

I also wanted to ask about one of your recent outdoor commissions in Umbria. For this commission, you were not working in marble but instead using recycled materials to complete a large outdoor installation. How did that project come about, and what was it like to work with diverse, recycled materials?

Ponder Peace at Isola di Pace marks my largest commissioned project to date, comprising a sculpture garden with ten large-scale installations set permanently in a young oak forest on a private estate in Umbria. The country house and surrounding estate is a beautiful haven, featuring an eco farm, vineyard, irrigation lake, and picturesque rolling hills. My sculptures live on an elevated island of trees affectionately named the Isle of Peace by the clients, as it represents one of the few raw and non-agricultural areas on the property.

Part of the estate is a stunning wine-tasting and events space built by a talented architect, Scott Hughes, who incorporated giant, reinforced concrete arches into his design. To pour the concrete and create the arches, the team used large half moon shaped styrofoam molds. These molds were the negatives of each arch and upon the termination of the building were removed and became waste. Styrofoam is a challenging material because it always exists. It doesn't biodegrade. So, the owners and I decided to give this material a second life, where it will live forever as sculpture.

At the time, I had been exploring sculptural installations with resin and fiberglass, which are industrial materials mainly used to make motorbike and boat parts. For the sculptural installation, I decided to carve the styrofoam using hot wire tools to create a sculpture just as you would with clay, and then I added layers of fiberglass covered with resin on top. The effect built on the surface was like the texture of a surfboard or a boat, making the material hard to the touch, completely transforming the styrofoam from a soft, flaky thing into a sealed and hard surface.

I approached the surface treatment of each sculpture uniquely, delving into the concept of material illusion. To achieve this, I incorporated various metal powders, marble dust, and pigments, transforming the finishes to mimic the appearance of rusted steel, oxidized bronze, and copper. This technique, known as cold casting, involves impregnating the resin with metal dust, allowing it to dry, burnishing it with steel wool to reveal the metal underneath, and then applying a process to induce rust using liquid chemical patinas.

Although I studied casting techniques at the Edinburgh College of Art, I learned cold casting on YouTube, where I’ve learned a lot about fabrication and craft. Working on a big scale was amazing, with the largest sculpture standing almost three meters tall. Initially, the sculptures were lightweight, but the incorporation of twenty kilograms of metal powder and resin made them considerably heavy.

Ultimately, the material metamorphosed into ten sculptures each associated with a different element. The sustainable ethos of the estate and the idea of the land's functionality significantly influenced my work. Among my favorites are Acroterion, the crowning element of a greco-roman temple reclaimed to crown the landscape, and Anvil, symbolizing work and craft, the large bronze oxidized blacksmithing tool is suspended between two trees, appearing weightless and almost spiritual moving with the wind.

My fascination with juxtaposing industrial obsolescence with sculpture and nature can be traced back to my upbringing in Rome. Visits to places like Centrale Montemartini, where classical marble sculptures stand in stark contrast against the backdrop of a decommissioned electrical plant, left a lasting impression and became an aesthetic and conceptual anchor in my work.

So, you practice art and spend a lot of your time thinking about what it means to be a creative person today. One of the ways you do that is through your successful podcast, "Art Is." How did that podcast come about, and what has it been like to create and curate your own podcast?

Podcasts have always been a massive source of knowledge for me. I'm a curious person, and while I was in university, working in the studio, I often listened to podcasts on various and sometimes bizarre subjects to supplement my learning. When I graduated with my MFA in 2020, during COVID-19, I felt lost and decided to make the kind of podcast I wanted to hear as a student. Working on the podcast allowed me to reflect and realize how much I appreciate open dialogue and conversation on topics top of mind for emerging artists. I was offered the opportunity to participate in a fellowship program called "On Deck" based in California, that taught me everything about podcasting over ten weeks while living in Valencia during COVID lockdowns. At the end of the program, I started my show. That was 2021, and it's been a fantastic experience so far to speak with different artists and all sorts of professionals from the creative industries to the tech and business worlds.

Since the beginning, the show has emphasized the importance of learning from beyond the traditional art world. I've long been interested in the intersection of art and technology, so I've spoken with people who work in tech but are also passionate about art as artists, collectors, or fans. Over time, I've realized how community can be fostered online and the fantastic connections one can make digitally. I've also become a better conversationalist and active listener. I'm not interested in becoming an expert or teaching people; I share what I learn. The "On Deck" fellowship also introduced me to the concept of peer-to-peer learning, and I've realized how much you can learn from somebody who's on your level or just slightly ahead. I came from a traditional educational background and discovered much to gain from nonhierarchical learning environments and communities.

Have there been conversations that you've found particularly meaningful or impacted how you live your life or practice art?

Every conversation makes an impact in some way. The most meaningful connection I've made has been with an incredibly talented creative career coach, Lauryn Hill. We met online in 2020. I heard she was a coach for artists, someone who helped artists make money doing what they loved. I had never heard of anyone doing that before, so we connected. I interviewed her on the podcast as a fan but then hired her as my coach a year later, which has leveled up my skills and helped me check in with the whole business side of being a self-employed artist, something
never addressed in art school. Lauryn and I had such a good connection that I asked her to co-host Season 5 of the podcast with me. In January 2023 I went to California, and we recorded the season, diving into 15 topics that interest us and that we know are top of mind for emerging creatives. It was a phenomenal experience, and so we decided to do it again! 

Season 6 of the podcast will be launching at the end of February 2024, and I'm really excited that this season will be video as well as audio. Follow along wherever you get your podcasts or check out my instagram @isottapage or for more info.

Thank you for sharing so much of your journey as an artist and a working professional. Your passion for art is so evident, and clearly, it's been a lifelong passion. You've been an artist for most of your life, and I wonder, looking back on your artistic career so far, do you feel things have unfolded as you imagined?

Definitely not! There have been a lot of changes and pivots, the most dramatic one being the pandemic. When I finished my five-year degree in fine art, it was meant to conclude in a degree show, a pinnacle moment where an artist showcases their work, gallerists attend, and it launches you into the art world. In my case, that show was canceled at the very last minute in May 2020. It was supposed to be the catalyst, the moment that would determine everything that came next, and when it was canceled, I felt completely unprepared and unsure of what to do next. It was devastating. That moment put a lot of minor disappointments into perspective. I realized the importance of validating my work and checking why I was doing what I was doing; I realized the importance of assessing my art according to my guidelines, not just those of an organization like a university or institution. It was valuable for me to understand the importance of self-validation early in my career as an artist. I continue to learn how important it is to overcome the enormous obstacles and everyday challenges, not holding onto anger and distancing myself from rejection. Negative criticism is everywhere, so, especially as an artist, you must celebrate the small wins and keep the highs and lows of every day in perspective.

Your point about the importance of learning how to deal with and bounce back from negative criticism is essential for artists and something we all must learn and become better at putting into practice in our daily lives. Is there any other advice you would like to share with the St. Stephen’s community?

Don't compare yourself to your peers or anonymous people you don't know online. And that's valid on a personal and professional level. You don't know what anyone's situation is, and comparing yourself against standards you can't control is unhelpful. Productively, you can only compare yourself to your past self. It's essential to set goals and recognize your successes. I love setting long-term, five- and ten-year goals. I like checking in along the way and realizing that some of the things that I thought were important when I graduated high school, for example, are now entirely uninteresting! It's also satisfying to look back on a goal you thought would take a long time to accomplish and realize you've already completed it.

When setting goals, it's helpful to visualize them and think about what it would be like to achieve them. So many young people develop their goals based on the experiences and careers of other people instead of thinking about what they would like. Then, along the way, they may realize they've been working towards goals they don't care about, which aren't authentic. So, check in with yourself; it doesn't need to happen daily.

Another tip is to learn to share your work meaningfully; this can start on a small scale with just one person or a few people and then expand online through a medium like Instagram or on a personal website. Building authentic connections and hearing even just one or two people respond to your work and tell you how it resonated with them can be meaningful. For example, I've started sharing my work through my newsletter with an audience of people who are interested in what I'm doing. It gives me a place to share the background of my work, updates on my pieces, and how I'm thinking about working without having to explain myself to thousands of people on the internet. I've found it helpful to take an inventory of who's interested, see who's paying attention, and keep a record; it can even be a list on your phone of a handful of interested people you can occasionally dialogue with and stay in touch with, Art Is... forever. It's also okay to scale things back when you need to and not feel the need to perform on some externally imposed schedule or ideal career trajectory. There is so much urgency to do everything all at once; my favorite quote is, "Misguided urgency is the enemy of progress." I think about that daily and remind myself to enjoy the freedom and flexibility to do what I love and never stop.


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