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Life, art, painting, and abstraction.

1. What are the reasons that prompted you to start making art?
One day I started painting and only after many attempts I think I have achieved something that can be called art. The spark ignited several years ago on an autumn day, it was one of those beautiful sunny days when I saw all those colors setting fire to the woods. A spectacle of nature! I was the first to feel an emotional and instinctive impulse towards landscape painting from life, therefore the observation of reality, of light. At the beginning I felt the need to master the pictorial medium to represent those sensations that the manifestations of nature aroused in me. Then the instinctive part evolved thanks to the deepening of more technical but no less exciting issues in support of expressive spontaneity. Then a sort of empathy was born between me and painting, which basically is the research of many artists, "to find oneself in what one does", but I understood this better later.

2. What is your favorite subject to paint, if any?
In art it is used to say that the subject is only a pretext, a means, the artist's aim is to manifest something else. Otherwise, for example, a vase of flowers is just a vase of flowers and nothing more! Van Gogh painted a vase with sunflowers which however goes far beyond the simple appearance, thanks to the movement and the color there is Energy that is released!However, my favorite subject is the one that has strong chiaroscuro contrasts and at the same time linear geometries and intense colors, characteristics that I find in the reality of urban views. In other cases such as faces, landscapes, compositions or still lifes or abstract, I often and willingly try to highlight these characteristics because I feel that basically they are like the various aspects that reflect the elements of life.

3. How has your life changed after you met art?
It has changed a lot, it has evolved gradually thanks to it. He accompanied me and at the same time acted as a mirror, he helped me better understand who I am. There are various steps and various changes over time that a person does not notice at the moment. Yet they are evolutionary passages, some occur spontaneously, while others must be sought with commitment and dedication. When I was very young, I drew abstract tribal designs on all types of support, T-shirts, jackets, bags, walls. Then I discovered painting in its various forms, acrylic, watercolor, enamels, tempera, oil, I also experimented with the technique of engraving and printing with a small press, computer graphics with photoshop; in sculpture I have experimented with various materials such as papier-mâché, plaster, white marble, mixed techniques and various assemblages. Drawing has always followed the progress of my research towards my ideal means of expression and I have gradually refined it according to the needs of the moment. A fundamental text for me that made me understand drawing is "Drawing with the right side of the brain" by Betty Edwards. Ultimately I probed, tried, searched until I decided to focus on the oil painting technique, and I finally intuited my sensitivity for color. This passion led me to their study to which I dedicated a lot of theoretical and practical analysis work in the studio and "en plein air". I have also deepened the study of the psychology of gestalt (form) and all this has given me a lot of satisfaction, but above all security and solid foundations in working artistically. Regardless of the medium I use, I make a distinction between "simple pleasure" or "committed art"; art is always art, and everyone can do as they see fit, painting as a hobby, pastime, to release tension or better still to communicate the own inner reality, express ideas, depict fantasies or imaginary things.After all, art is a journey of self-discovery.Since 2012 I have rediscovered the watercolor technique that I am still studying, as a maturation of my personal experience with abstraction. This technique has brought new life to my way of experiencing pictorial art, in feeling lighter, more free from the material itself of color.

4. What feelings do you have while painting?
Multiple! Sometimes I get carried away by a sensation that amplifies to the point of generating shapes and colors that reflect it, emotions of joy, or impulses for something I've seen and moved me, sometimes just for the sake of painting itself , however paying attention to my perceptions and intuitions while I paint, most of the time I let myself be carried away or suggested by the work itself that I am creating. Whatever type of emotion I feel, painting in the studio or outdoors, the underlying feeling I would describe as follows: "At the beginning there is always a tension, as if I had to tune an instrument to perfection; set the foundations of the structure with the drawing it makes me jump on another level of perception, the non-rational one, this state of being is pleasant, which then continues throughout the creative process, with ups and downs, because at the beginning of the work you have to "force" a after all, up to a certain point in which I feel transported and then we go downhill, we let ourselves be carried away, being careful not to go too far in the execution, we need to know when to stop, it is always better to leave something unfinished rather than put too.To define all this creative process in two words, I would say that it is a kind of "courtship of love".  

5. What attracts you to abstract art and why?
I wouldn't say it attracts me, rather it happens! I found myself there naturally, without forcing I mean, following a path of several pictorial periods or phases. To make a comparison, it's like traveling by car at night, you can only see where the headlights shine, you can't see the whole way. Along this journey there are intermediate stops where you can find yourself in surprising places.What attracts me to abstract art is that language with its musicality, that harmony that is produced and a sort of balance in the apparent disorder.When I directly experienced its expressive possibilities, I implemented them in my artistic work. I mean I didn't get completely engrossed in this method of making art. Indeed, I tried to understand its role, how I could integrate it with what I already knew and I continued my artistic research in parallel. However, I still consider the importance of having even partial references to reality in the finished work for a greater affinity of communication with the user. I also feel that if there is no content and conveyed a spiritual message that can support the evolution of thought and soul, it remains in the ambit of pure aesthetic exercise for its own sake, an exercise in style.

6. What is abstraction for you? How has this genre of painting influenced you personally?
I consider it a very powerful expressive possibility. Abstraction for me means to capture, extract, sublimate. Whether the subject comes from the real world, whether it's just a thought, a sensation, or an idea, I try to represent it figuratively in a metaphysical way. Or I let myself be carried away by the creative act of painting itself and thus a connection is created that goes beyond the reality of the material world. From the beginning I was fascinated by Kandinsky's work. I remember my first personal exhibition where I risked the juxtaposition of my first pictorial attempts to panels with phrases taken from "The spiritual in art" and from "The blue rider". I felt ever since that these texts contained information about art that spurred me to research and learn more about the mere appearance of things. Over time I have appreciated and valued even more the potential of abstraction; I have made spirituality in art my principles and foundations:"Harmony and beauty as tools for the evolution and progress of humanity".

7. Did you know Abstract Art even before or was it a spontaneous discovery?
I knew him, yes. But like a distant relative. It was a world that I still hadn't fully understood with direct experience. I studied it as an artistic process of painters such as Paul Cezanne who first elaborated its beginnings, Vassily Kandinsky champion and spokesman, and then Piet Mondrian, Paul Klee, but nothing more. When instead I found myself face to face with my "first real abstract painting", I found myself surprised and bewildered at the same time. It was like making a clean sweep of everything I had painted before, and now having infinite possibilities to create with a new dimension.I could define it as a spontaneous maturation preceded by many pictorial phases and periods of research interspersed with comparison and critical self-analysis of one's work in the field of painting.At the time it caused me some difficulties in continuing the pictorial work, because infinite possibilities are also equivalent to a deprivation of freedom, in other words "now that I can do everything I want, I don't know what to do!" This thing initially put me in a crisis, it gave me many questions, it helped me reflect on how to continue my artistic work. Since I had solid self-taught foundations, after a moment of impasse I immediately resumed with new impetus, strengthened by this new experience. In appearance it may seem a form of expression of total freedom, but I wouldn't say so, as even in the abstract there are rules to be respected.

8. In what way do you think abstract art could change people's thinking?
I would add that not only could, but has actually changed and does change the way we see and perceive the world thanks to the harmony and beauty that this type of expression emanates. In the text "The spiritual in art" by Kandinsky, elected founder of abstract art, the subject is not art, but spirituality. I just want to quote one of his sentences:"It is in the ability to grasp the spiritual element in material things and in abstract things that makes infinite experiences possible". All this leads to an evolution that passes from the concrete mental plane to the abstract mental plane and then rises to the upper threshold of the intuitive plane.Here art becomes a tool both for artists and for spectators, who can derive all the benefits for the evolution of consciences.

9. Is it possible to make people understand what is represented or is it more a personal and intimate transposition of the artist?
Both things. It all depends on the observer's predisposition, who may already have a preparation, or he can be introduced with an explanation to better understand what he observes. Otherwise he could simply look at a work and appreciate its chromatic execution, the mixture, the drafting or the combination with a more suggestive and less conceptual vision. Combinations of shapes, chiaroscuro, the expressive power of color are  sufficient to convey sensations to the viewer of a painting. It all depends on how things are combined and the meaning that is given to them. To the technical quality used but above all to the message to be expressed. Of the many definitions of art, this is the one I consider truest of all:"Art is the quality of communication". The technique itself can be good, very good or even very bad, but what matters more than anything else is always that the message reaches the user. And it is precisely at this point that the skill, ability and sensitivity of the artist himself come into play in order to create a work of art capable of resonating with others.

10. How should the viewer face an abstract work?
The energies brought into play by this kind of art are very intense, sometimes irrepressible. They don't have precise references to reality and for this very reason anyone dealing with abstract works of art can be influenced by them in three different ways. In the first case the observer is neutral, he dwells on the appearance, on the material evidence alone, he looks at the general aspect of the work without being involved because he doesn't understand the work or simply doesn't like it. In the second case, there is a rational approach, the observer has prepared himself and is predisposed to accept the artistic message and is guided in observing the work by his own intellectual knowledge given by information and descriptions prior to viewing. Unfortunately I think this method also has a negative side as it leads to misleading conceptual ruminations from which contemporary art suffers. However, I believe it is possible to achieve a good level of artistic enjoyment, almost of amazement and wonder, like when you describe a painting and discover how many things the artist has put into it that you didn't notice at the beginning. In the third case, thanks to the previous information, the observer takes a step further and lets himself go, and thus magically enters the flow that the artist has generated, with movement, masses, gestures, or with whatever he has put into it . In this case there is a lively participation of the observer in the artistic subject. Since there is no realistic image to observe, the brain is not busy cataloging things, it has no constraints of any kind, therefore it has much wider margins of perception. But I think the best time to really see a work of art is when you don't know anything about it and it just strikes you, resonates with you, speaks to you and says things beyond the visual, just like in abstraction. This can launch primordial messages like the works of Tapies, or make you fly into the spaces of Klee. You can dance in Pollok's works, like resting in Mondrian's spaces. Each artist opens unique languages and universes.
The beginning of modern art of the mental type and therefore also of the abstract one took place thanks to Cezanne, and it is thanks to the work of this great master that many artists were later able to evolve, having found fertile ground for an evolutionary step .
After all, the task of art is precisely that of showing, helping to make people see and understand the world again thanks to the work of artists, each with their own language and personal style.Kandinsky has launched his message and his works excite both children and adults. Here is the expressive force of abstraction that makes the world change!


I sincerely thank Irina P. for this series of questions she addressed to me for her degree thesis.

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