Illusorya's Story: Exploring the

Illusorya's Story: Exploring the "Dark Grotesque" - Beautiful Bizarre Magazine Interview

The premise is simple: ask the public by saying noə stessə, especially as an artistə, it's a real nightmare. We are always afraid of creating misunderstandings or even making a fool of myself.  
When Beautiful Bizarre, one of the most well-known international magazines of contemporary art, gave me the opportunity to talk about myself, I never imagined I could read such a concise but also straightforward finished article as a slap in the face. Who better than them, could give life to all that one wanted to express?

A journey through the first attempts to enter the world of art, with the colorful Fairy Art, the exciting but also disheartening successes thanks to the Creepypasta world up to the awareness - due to inner conflicts - and the entry into the world Dark Art.
Also, a brief step about my, alas, now "hiatus" adventure with the foundation of Memento Tea Gallery - together with the "art partner in crime" Sandra Hultsved- and why lately I am more focused on my personal projects than exhibiting in galleries.

Below, the link of the interview in the original language: 
The Tale of Illusorya: Exploring the "Dark Grotesque (

Of course, if English is not part of you, I invite you to continue reading this article for the complete translation!
Happy reading, and I hope you find it interesting… Let me know what you think, or if you want to ask me more, do not hesitate to leave a comment below! 



WARNING: This article explores the topics of suicide and self-harm.

Illusorya's Story: Exploring the "Dark Grotesque"

Article by Natalia Joruk (deputy editor - Beautiful Bizarre Magazine)

A question that constantly arises is: what makes a person an "artist"? Is it when you feel comfortable and practicing your profession or when your work is appreciated by others? Is it when you finally find yourself exhibiting in a gallery? Or is it simply the moment when you feel the satisfaction of creating your own art? Luckily, Stefania Russo - best known as Illusorya- never got too caught up in the philosophy of the title. She is an Italian artist who identifies with the most elegant and dreamlike forms of the "Dark Grotesque”, Evolving through many styles and genres in his journey, until today.

Illusorya is probably the product of instinct and of following one's heart. She was open to change and experimentation, and quite impressively she threw away the fear of completely changing her style as soon as the right time came.
“In December 2019, I decided to say goodbye to my old path and start a new one: Illusorya. I informed my followers that I would no longer create [the same art] ... And, surprise: they were thrilled and happy with my decision! " laughs. "Most of the feedback was about how I had improved professionally as well, with this transition."

[My followers] have told me that, finally, my art truly reflects [who I am]. This is the most appreciated response I have ever been able to receive.

Wild Hunt - Illusorya - Stefania Russo

Travel is often an integral part of the destination. This is the arc in which we learn and grow; Sometimes, we're not even the same person we imagined we were achieving when we started. But personally, I love learning about stories like Stefania's ...

A story of popularity, rejection and creepypasta

"I worked, a long time ago, under the pseudonym of LadyFanhir - more as an artist as a hobby. It could be said that I was "born" as a Fate artist, especially to offer pleasure to those who looked at my art. Oh well, everyone makes mistakes which then affect the right path! I worked mainly in Letraset Pantone Markers (the influence of the fashion design school I attended), so with very vivid colors.

I switched to "Stefania Russo Art" in 2014 when I started exhibiting in Comics Fairs - it was nice to use my real name. Here, I was popular for my Creepypasta illustrations.
Interestingly, this wasn't intentional at all: I once painted Slenderman and BOOM!
Unfortunately this was not the way Stefania wanted to focus.
“My intention was never to be a Creepypasta Artist. During those years, I also had a desire to exhibit my works in international galleries and collectives, but I often found myself being rejected on the assumption that my art was confused and could not follow a certain genre. Subsequently, I developed a strong art block. On the one hand, I was able to make money with my Creepypasta art. But on the other hand, I was tired of getting noticed in that way ".

Till Death Do Me Part - Illusorya - Stefania Russo

Depression, evolution - and from the ashes Illusorya resurrected

Stefania Russo's world changed dramatically after a personal event led her to suffer from a period of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. He, therefore, ended up undergoing rehabilitation at an auxological institute, to help recover from his BED binge eating disorder and anxiety. During his time in the clinic, he made many friends, hearing the individual stories that brought them here and learning from their difficult experiences.

This transition in portraying a profound "reservoir of emotions" led Stefania on the new path she was looking for.

"From that moment on I felt the need to represent much more than just a portrait. If, initially, I enjoyed adding horror details, now I felt the urge to let the protagonists tell their own stories. My art is just a message that the portrayed characters wish to tell.
At first you might see a smiling protagonist, nicely dressed in a gold crown - and then, notice his blood flowing from his wrist.
You may see a tortured character with bleeding open flesh smiling at his own pain, happy, because hearing that makes him feel more alive than an illusory comfortable life.
Emotions can be good or bad. But they are still emotions. "

Skadegamutc :: New Era Ghost Witch - Illusorya - Stefania Russo

And ... Hymn to Dark Art

Having grown up under the spell of the likes of Luis Royo and Gerald Brom, she found herself creating worlds of Fantasy and Dark art; two genres he has always loved.
"I love the atmosphere and the feeling in [Royo's] art. He taught me not to be afraid to play with light (and white). His women are sensual, desperate, strong warriors ... they are just representations. They convey pure emotions. And Gerald Brom: I am emotionally attached to his art these days. I love Brom's creatures, he taught me that it is not always necessary to have a detailed background to tell a story. "

This led her to open the Memento Tea Gallery with her "art partner in crime" (Sandra Hultsved). Was a hymn to dark art in the form of a tunnel. Memento Tea ran for three years before the conflicting bureaucracy of its home country (Italy) eventually forced them to close.
This struggle to thrive as a company in less mainstream genres is an all too familiar story.
Stefania, however, did not give up. She began to focus on herself again as an independent artist: "I wanted to represent what I really feel, in my art and in my soul" cundivide.
Thus was born Illusorya.

Chorus Mortis - Illusorya - Stefania Russo

The emotional artist

Human emotions are complicated and reactive, and Stefania has found that her methods of artistic creation have radically changed to reflect the nature of her themes. “My main inspiration is to be quite instinctive. It is rare that you do preliminary sketches (unless it is a project or a commission, of course). My characters develop directly on the canvas; they are human and mental behaviors. I love to see the daily moods of the people around me and turn them into a kind of fairy tale, sometimes putting them in relation with myth and folklore ".

“Sometimes, I put my feelings, like dreams, on the canvas. They are quite violent and full of action. I often dream of someone hurting me and killing me. I really feel these sensations, such that I wake up with pain. Of course, all of this is due to anxiety, but I appreciate them because they make me feel more "alive" - ​​I feel like a character in a story ... Like those in my paintings! "

Illusorya she loves to play with artistic styles according to her mood, but in the past this process has made her incredibly uncomfortable. While some have appreciated its versatility, "most of the galleries and projects", he admits,"he turned down my job because I didn't seem to follow a set style".

"That was my first depressive battle over my work as an artist. But, now I have learned to follow what I feel and to respect the emotional artist that I feel I am."

A Trapped Life Into To Fear Die - Illusorya - Stefania Russo

Your art is like a comfortable home

I assume you are here, reading this article, because you are interested in the art of Illusorya. This would make you one of the many people who find solace in his darkly dramatic images. There is something in the realms of dark art that can strike a chord in the viewer - beyond the initial horror often lies meaning and thought, representations of emotions and experiences that we all know. Good or bad, we can connect with art.

The paintings of Illusorya, both in watercolor and, more recently, in oil, are wonderfully Gothic. Although it predominantly focuses on women, Illusorya he also enjoys representing queer and androgynous people.
His characters portray the self-proclaimed themes "Dark Grotesque" with which Illusorya it connects so deeply.
As a collector states: "They are perfect in their own gloom".

Clients often commission me to paint their portraits or paint works that represent their stories, because (as one collector put it): "You and your art are like a comfortable home, where I can talk and open up without judgment". I really appreciated that someone felt that way.

At the moment, Illusorya he leaves the gallery scene, focusing instead on exhibiting at Comic Fairs and Festivals. However, with the pandemic triggering an unknown future, it obviously cannot confirm which events will still be confirmed.

When we finished our chat, he left me with the following insight, and I can't wait to see what he creates next:
"A few years ago, I was so close to suicide that it definitely opened my eyes ... Now, I'm slowly waking up to paint what I really want and personally feel more satisfied with the latest works."

Hymn for Sunrise and the Wretched Heart - Illusorya - Stefania Russo

1 comment

Very good you deserve so much success ... It was exciting to read this, even if it hurt at least now I know how your wonderful works are born. Congratulations! Heather

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