The Heroine’s Journey of Valeria Dardano

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

The best thing that I love in my work is play with the materials, discover what they have to say and how much I can take from them.

In each substance there is a secret magic, I love to figure it out.

I feel lucky as an artist for working and spending my time researching and observing closely things that surround me.

What is my idea of happiness?

I often ask myself this question, I am torn about it. I think that is not a momentary condition depending on single events that you pass in your life, but be able to reach your goals whatever it takes, and look back to what you’ve done with no regrets. Maybe only after a while you will realize that you’ve been happy

What is my greatest fear?

I’m afraid of losing the people I love and having regrets about choices I make.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

Most of the time my enthusiasm leads me to expect to see the results immediately. Sometimes I risk not to enjoy my goals because I want to get already to the next stage.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?

I admire artists who are not scared to say what they think or feel. My admiration goes to the artists that never cease to research and do not let themselves be influenced by commercial trends.

What is my greatest extravagance?

I used to write my dreams in the morning. Most of the time I remember them and often I have lucid dreams, so I like to preserve them and not forgetting this mysterious part of our life that often remain unnoticed.

On what occasion would I lie?

I could lie to protect someone I care and to avoid to make him/her suffer.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

I don’t like that to do my work of artist I need to have another job to survive.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

In 2019 in Manila, Philippines. I had an exhibition at the Artinformal Makati Gallery and I spent a month in this wonderful and crazy city realizing all of the works for my exhibition, so it became almost an artistic residency. The day of the opening of the exhibition (“Vision Awake” by the way) I was really happy an satisfied to show my works to all of these people.

If I could, what would I change about myself?

I’d wish to be more relaxed. Sometimes I get caught up in the frenzy of ending things as soon as possible.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

I’m proud to be independent keeping do what I love. Day by day there are so many difficulties and obstacles that try to make me doubt of the way to live my life, but the thing that matter is believe in yourself and in you capacity. I’m the one who can decide what it’s wrong or right for me. In a less philosophical way one of my greatest achievement is to have been interviewed by CNN.

Where would I most like to live?

I love a lot of city but I also miss so much the contact with nature. I don’t have an answer for this question because I know that in every place I’d choose I’d miss something else.

I think I have the nomadic shroud, I can’ t image myself in a fixed place. For now I live in Turin, Italy, and I consider it more like a as a base that a permanent place.

What is my most treasured possession?

My most treasured possession is the love of my parents and my family. I’m afraid I can never prove enough to them how important they are to me.

What is my most marked characteristic?

I am very precise about my things. I do not like to be reduced to the limit of deadlines and I don’t like to make me wait or be late.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

I love to sit by the river, his rhythm is soothing and it’s able to empty my mind from superfluous worries, make me focus on new vision.

What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city?

I use to go to my favorite chinese restaurant with my friends. I think that is the only regular place that I go, I like to change.

What books influenced my life and how?

Man and his Symbols” of Carl Gustav Jung is the is the book that influenced me the most. It opened my mind to the world of archetypes and of the unconscious in general. I was 21 when I read it, then I started to have my lucid dreams.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

If I had to choose my final song I would choose “The end” of The Doors, this song always put me in a situation of meditation and reflection, is simply perfect. If I had to choose music in general depends on how I’d feel knowing it’s my last day, I’d choose among classic and hard rock, punk revival and also classic music.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

I have always appreciated the qualities of the character of Hua Mulan, that gaves origin to the cartoon Mulan. She enlists in the army pretending to be a man to fight in war, demonstrating strength, cunning and pushing herself to the limit to get what she wants.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

My parents are my heroes. They still give me strong values and in their lives they have always provided to the best for our family. They let me follow my passion without ever hindering my important choices, always advising me in my difficult moments. I guess parenting is the hardest job in the world and nobody does it better than them.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime?

Memento is one of my favorite movies, I don’t want to spoil anything about it, just see it!

What role plays art in my life and work?

I consider art as my work and as my entire life. I need it, it’s my reason to be alive. I can’t imagine myself in a world where I don’t do what I do.

What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me?

If no me, who else?

We are the only ones who can create our destiny, the choices we make characterizes the course of our life. If something goes wrong we are the ones to blame, no one else fault… and if we get to the stars we can thank ourselves.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

My greatest fan and partner in crime is Andrea Fama‘, he is an artist too who deals with sculpture and installation. We used to talk about our works and sometimes we collaborate in projects. I’m his greatest fan too.

Which people or companies would I like to work with in 2020?

Rira Gallery

Massey Klein gallery

Osnova gallery

Weiss Berlin Gallery

Simon Lee Gallery

Lor gallery NY

The Goma Gallery

Ca-doro Gallery

George Billis gallery

Sol Kjok  director of Noosphere arts

Which people in my profession who can make a real difference in my creative career would i love to meet in 2020?

Kostas Stasinopoulos, curator, art historian

Ioli Tzanetaki , independent curator, researcher and writer

Kevser Güler , curator based in Istanbul

Okwui Enwezor , Director of Haus der Kunst in Munich

Nancy Speetor, curator of Brooklyn Museum in New York

Massimiliano Gioni , Director of Special Exhibitions at The New Museum, New York, 

Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director of the Serpentine Gallery

Helen Molesworth, Chief Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA

Thelma Golden is the Director and Chief Curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York

Lowery Stokes Sims, Independent Curator

What project, in 2020, am I looking forward to work on?

I have some ongoing projects for this year and I’m working on new sculpture and experiments in studio, I can’t wait to see the results of what they will become at the end of their path.

Where can you see me or my work in 2020?

Covid-19 is still forcing me to rearrange my schedule, but in autumn 2020 there will be the group exhibition titled”40 days” in Quasi Quadro space in Turin, curated by Mattia Lapperier, in which the artists will exhibit the works they made during the lock down.

I invite everybody to follow my work on social media and on my web site

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

If it’s real it doesn’t go away. Passion is not a fashion or a momentary thing, if you have it, you will carry it with you until the rest of your days.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?

Lui medina artist in Philippines

Barbara Fragogna artist, curator and gallerist in Italy

Sibylle Duboc artist in France

Lea Puissant artist in France

Lisa di Donato artist in New York

Wieteke Heldens artist in New York

Sarah Atzori artist in Netherlands

Ludmila Rodrigues artist in Netherlands

Güler Ates artist in England

Antje Rieck artist in Germany

How can you contact me?

You can reach out to me on Instagram, Linkedin or Facebook and by email at


Here follows a message of Peter de Kuster, founder of The Heroine’s Journey 


Are you a creative leader or creative professional looking to develop your business skills and storytelling?

Amidst today’s uncertainty, it is more important than ever to reconnect with yourself and others, develop your creative business, and build your story. Dive deep into your unique business style and areas for growth with the coaching of Peter de Kuster.


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    You are a creative leader or creative professional  who is interested in developing yourself, your business, and your story.

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    You are aware that there are no quick fixes. Learning is a journey that works when you are fully committed to it. Coaching can bring awareness and help you navigate, but in the end it’s you who is in charge of your growth.

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    You want to learn more about how to resource yourself, learn about blind spots, and get feedback.

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    You are curious and want to engage in online learning.

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    You are motivated to work in-between sessions on yourself (e.g. working on homework assignments that will help you develop new storytelling, skills, and behaviors).


The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is all about your development. To make the most out of your sessions, we ask you to prepare topics to work on with Peter. These topics can serve as a starting point for further in-depth exploration with Peter.

These coaching topics typically resonate with the creative leaders Peter works with:

How can i tell the most powerful story possible about myself and my creative business?

How can I handle self promotion and marketing of my creative business better?

How do can I stay authentic and with focus when having difficult conversations with potential clients?

What are my creative values and how do I align these with my business values?

How can I manage my time and energy better?

How can I radiate confidence to my clients while feeling anxious inside?

How can I steer myself towards creative excellence without becoming rigid?

About Peter de Kuster

Peter de Kuster is the founder of The Heroine’s Journey & Hero’s Journey project,  a storytelling firm which helps creative professionals to create careers and lives based on whatever story is most integral to their lives and careers (values, traits, skills and experiences). Peter’s approach combines in-depth storytelling and marketing expertise, and for over 20 years clients have found it effective with a wide range of creative business issues.


Peter is writer of the series The Heroine’s Journey and Hero’s Journey books, he has an MBA in Marketing,  MBA in Financial Economics and graduated at university in Sociology and Communication Sciences.

individual coaching for leaders


The Heroine’s Journey Coaching online sessions last 50 minutes and the fee is Euro 189 excluding VAT per session. The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is suitable for people at any stage in their career.


Who can sign up for The Heroine’s Journey online coaching?

Creative leaders and creative professionals who wish to improve their business story and develop their business skills and mindset.

Should I choose 1:1 coaching?

Our The Heroine’s Journey experiences in world cities allow you to learn not only from the coach but also from your peers. For the small group coaching (1 – 4 people), we have selected important, relevant topics that we find regularly come up for creative professional: purpose, storytelling, creative confidence, self promotion, time & money and resilience.

If you would prefer to work alone or on a different topic, individual coaching is a better fit for you.

What language do we speak in the coaching sessions?


Can I buy coaching for my organization?

Yes, you can! We support many organizations around the world with their coaching needs. Please contact us for more information.

Can I bring my own topics?

Yes, for individual coaching you get to choose your own topic.

Are coaching sessions confidential?

Yes. Peter will not share anything that is discussed in the coaching sessions.

Where will the coaching sessions take place?

Sessions will take place online (as per the times we live in) via an online tool like Zoom or Skype. Peter will let you know.

How do I sign up?

Send Peter a mail to to start booking your coaching sessions.

How do I pay?

After you send the mail, you will receive an email with a link to pay.

How do I book and reschedule sessions?

Once we’ve received your payment, Peter will contact you and book your coaching sessions. He will also support you with rescheduling sessions if needed.

What is your cancellation policy?

Individual coaching sessions can be postponed up to one week before the session.

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