Interviewing Lyona Ivanova
Marta Puig, known for her alter ego: Lyona Ivanova, is a renaissance artist, capable of illustrating beautiful books, being a business woman, carrying out spots and video clips with the top musicians of the music scene, and writing books such as her most recent publication “Sex, oh!”, which is being incredibly successful, thanks to her generosity when openly delving into female sexuality with honesty, simplicity y mucha generosidad. Lyona has many stories to tell and a few dreams to make come true, but she is certain that she will continue to be true to herself, whatever happens. Lucky us!
Some time ago I played a word game with myself to define myself. I see myself as a story and poem engineer. This isn´t because I define myself as a poet, but because I like to see the world through the eyes of a dreamer, and I thought it would be nice to turn such a rational and serious profession, such as is Civil Engineering into something more abstract and intangible.
What did you want to be when you were little?
An Astronaut or Film Director.
How and when did you become Lyona?
On a trip to Sicily. I went to shoot the screening for a play there. All the actors were Italian and I promised myself not to allow any of them to seduce me. However, one of them had his mind set on it: he showed me fantastic places in the area, he made me try the typical local dishes, he told me stories… and on the last day, although I was in a relationship at the time, I tried to kiss him and at that moment he told me he couldn´t because he was in a relationship, and he said to me: “When neither of us has a partner we will meet in the middle between us”. He was from Rome, I´m from Barcelona, so in the middle was Lyon. When I arrived in Barcelona, I suddenly found something called Fotolog (Prehistoric Instagram), I created an account and I didn’t know what nick to use, but I thought: from Lyon?… Lyona…and if he ever uses Lyon on the Internet, he might find me. And that’s how I became Lyona.
I suppose so, although as a good dreamer I still have a lot of dreams to carry out, like for example: directing a film.
You have filmed many video clips for a wide range of bands among which are The New Raemon, Love of Lesbian, Sidonie, Amaral, Zahara, Lori Meyers… What can you tell us about this?
It has been a pleasure for me to add images to these bands, because, as you have said, my two great passions are cinema and music, and to be able to create pieces such as the video clips which unite these two arts is something that still stimulates me enormously after more than 80 video clips. Music is one of the things that most inspires and fascinates me, because of its capacity to generate so many and such different images to each individual. For me, above all, it has been a space where I can test, experiment and feel totally free to create.
What video clip would you have liked to have made and who would you like to work with?
I would have liked to direct “Weapon of choice” by Spike Jonze, and I would love to work with Jarvis Cocker.
During all this time you have come up with thousands of anecdotes, but…which one comes to mind right now?
After the filming of “Segundo Asalto” by Love of Lesbian; Santi Balmes, the lead Singer went home with his make up on from the shoot, and as it was supposed to be a boxing match he was covered in fake blood dripping from his eyebrow and his mouth…The police even stopped him in the middle of the road and for a moment they thought he needed help… I don’t know if they believed that it was only that…
Do you follow a specific creative process or does it change depending on the project?
The truth is that, each song, demands something different from you…but I almost always begin from the same starting point. I try to listen to the song somewhere where there are no input distractions like in the shower or on the bus and that´s where my mind takes flight, and the images and inspiration come to me.
What are your main sources of inspiration?
Cinema, photography and music.
What are Lyona’s signature stamps? (In graphics and cinematography)
I think my most fundamental stamp is simplicity and honesty. I believe that everything I do comes from a personal need to tell “that”, and that gives it an emotional touch in both the videos and in the illustrations I make.
Your illustrations are wonderful, but above all, they are fascinating because of what they transmit. They also generate a lot of merchandising and products in your name and your own online store. How do you manage to cover everything? Do you have any fetishes with your products?
Not sleeping much hahaha. My fetish products are the Anitram and Martina fluffy toys. I have always loved toys, and being able to make fluffy toys out of my characters has been a dream.
What can you tell us about your new book “Sex, Oh!: My sexual revolution”
Well, that it has been one of the most rewarding and taxing projects of my life (because of the responsibility it has implied).
How did you come about the need to write about sex and your own experiences?
It all started in Instagram. One day I uploaded a story in which I wrote about being given a vibrator as a present. Straight away I started to get messages from women who asked me things like: “Do you really masturbate? But can you still use it if you have a boyfriend?” or “I’ve never had an orgasm. Is that normal?” And I realized how many taboos are out there, how little knowledge and repression we still have now, in 2019, concerning female sexuality. I felt the need to open a door and be able to speak about it. One of the things I’m happiest about is that Instagram, which can be such a superficial network, has become my profile, and that of many other women, and it’s a site that provides meetings, debates and support.
What have been the first reactions?
They have been better than any expectations I could have had. I see that there’s a lot of enthusiasm and the need to talk about sexuality from a female point of view.
All-time favourite personalities that you admire?
David Bowie, St. Vincent, Agnes Varda, Greta Gerwig, Lena Dunham, Jarvis Cocker, Spike Jonze, Miranda July.
What makes you happy?
Going to the cinema.
Favourite place to get lost in?
Slab City in California’s Sonora desert.