I moved to London in January 2017 so it was inevitable to join an art residency in Tuscany, eventually.
Going back to making art in Italy, living together with fabulous people from the UK, USA and Canada was a unique and enriching experience.
Most of the participants were from California so I’ve got a chance to exchange opinions about art and lifestyle in Italy and abroad, which I found always very intresting and inspiring. Shannon Milar, one of the visiting artists and co-founder of Catalyst Art Retreat, is a well-known printmaker who studied, among others, at Il Bisonte workshop in Florence. She introduced me to the art of woodcarving, which I experienced for the first time and that gave me unexpected emotions and satisfaction. The other works I’ve made during my staying were inspired by the urban landscape of the city of Lucca and the people who lived in the villa during this week. In addition to having the opportunity to focus on my work in a sun-lighted and well-equipped studio, the nature surrounding Casa Berti has been very inspiring and, invited by Shannon to create a sort of “graffiti” in the environment, I selected a rock, split in two by someone or something before me, and just addad some oil painting which I’ve found in the studio. When packing to come here I didn’t packed ’cause I planned to be inspired by the place; I then used what my friends artists so generously shared with me and the materials found in the studio or in the olive grove around Casa Berti.
What I also found very inspiring and uncommon was that the studio was equipped with a huge hi-fi set and given the good taste of the host, plenty of vinyls and CDs were in hand, giving me the opportunity to create surrounded by amazing and inspiring music. That’s the reason why I’ve decide to give titles to my works at the end of the residency such as “The Killers”, “The Stones” and “The talking heads”.
Since I’ve moved in London my interest in depict people became stronger, given that this is a very big city, I found looking at people and the way they dress and talk and walk a never ending source of inspiration. My first job when I arrived in the city was as visitor service assistant in the American dream pop to the present exhibiton at the British museum, a show mostly about printmaking. Inspired by the artworks and the visitors of the show I started making drawing with markers and using a tablet, of the people looking at the artworks, since it really stroke me how the contemporary people releate to the artworks dating from the 60s to nowadays. I’ve also been dedicating my days off from work to exploring my bourough, Hackney, which is undergoing a changing but it’s still very diverse and colorful. It’s funny how I’m focusing on people in a city with one of the most impressive architecture examples but I guess it’s because I tend to focus on small and unexpected things (which are the people, in this case), instead of the screamed ones. I think that’s why, during Catalyst Art Retreat I also dedicate a lot of time depicting the people living and working in Casa Berti (starting with a young man from Ivory Coast who was working at picking olives at that time) at that time, which made the series titled “Talking heads”.
It happens very often to me to use the 3 “R” (reduce, reuse, recycle) with my art too, and so I choose to draw on magazines pages. These pages are neither tracing nor light, these are pages with more luxurious advertisings, so with more “white” space for me. On them I draw people I see in the streets, but also things I see around. I design the design, clothes, objects, buildings. I started it to not waste, then I look at these drawings and I realize that the things I portrayed and the story on the magazine (ads, editorial, article) talk to each other. It is a random encounter but the conversation that comes out is always interesting, as most of the things that casually happen. They talk of high and low art, of haute couture and pret-a-porter, of important and less important arts, of how you can put all these labels on every aspect of human life and how these labels are quite useless.
EfthymiosMarker on paper cm 21 x 15, 2017
Efthymios 2Marker on paper cm 21 x 15, 2017
MMarker on paper cm 21 x 15, 2017
At the canteenMarker on paper cm 21 x 15, 2017
BreakMarker on paper cm 21 x 15, 2017
Playing at Voodo's Ray DalstonMarker and oil pastel on paper cm 43 x 29, 2018
GixDigital drawing, 2018
Lunch breack outside the British MuseumDigital drawing, 2017
IkeaDigital drawing, 2017
Newington Green Bus StopDigital drawing, 2017
The wanderer series Broadway Market 2Marker on paper cm 21 x 15, 2017
Reading a book on the busDigital drawing, 2017
PM on the busDigital drawing, 2017
Bread and Butter CafèDigital drawing, 2017
Waiting for the busDigital Drawing, 2017
The Memebership team at British MuseumDigital drawing, 2017
Stoke Newington SignsDigital drawing, 2017
OvergoroundDigital drawing, 2017
Lunch time at the British Museum canteenDigital drawing, 2017
Fashion details on the busDigital drawing, 2017
Museumgoer at TateDigital drawing on photograph, 2017
Reading book on the busDigital drawing, 2017
Bread and Butter cafè 2Digital drawing, 2017
Man with a dogDigital drawing, 2017
Woman with a dogDigital drawing, 2017
Back at the British MuseumDigital drawing, 2017
Book on a busDigital drawing, 2017
At the National GalleryDigital drawing, 2017
Paco at The Book ClubMixed media on paper cm 21 x 15, 2017
Red wineMixed media on paper cm 21 x 15, 2017
Rossella at The Book ClubMixed media on paper cm 21 x 15, 2017
Red lips at The Book ClubMixed media on paper cm 21 x 15, 2017
Interview at The Book ClubMixed media on paper cm 21 x 15, 2017
Art at The Book ClubMixed media on paper cm 21 x 15, 2017