I’m a self-taught painter, living and working in Trieste, in the northeast of Italy. I always loved to paint but, for a long time, it was just “private stuff”, while working as a psychologist and, lately, in marketing. Then some years ago, I got ill and during recovery I painted every day, the whole day. That’s when I felt ‘this’ was becoming more and more unavoidable. So I decided to get a part-time job and devote the rest of my day to colors, various materials and experimentation. Looking back, I see heaps of hurdles, a level of commitment I didn’t quite expect, and sometimes I just feel tired. But it’s a choice I will never regret.
How do you describe your relationship with art?
Art gives me purpose and courage. It’s my way of saying things that matter to me the most. I don’t always know what ‘those things’ are, but by touching the canvas, mixing colors, speeding up and slowing down over the surface, I’m deeply connected with my thoughts, emotions and memories. It’s a (pretty lonely) process, but the more I know about myself, I feel more at ease sharing with other people without fear of losing my boundaries.
The only other way to experience this feeling is when I’m outdoors, surrounded by nature, or watching light reflections on water. I’m very lucky because I live in a city facing the sea and mountains in the background. Greens and blues are always very close - I only need a few minutes to be inundated by them. When wind, light, earth, grass are all around, I am safe to explore and express myself and, at the same time, I’m completely part of the environment. I can easily find my balance. I’m looking for this ‘state of mind’ every time I feel insecure, confused, worried. And I guess this explains why I love to represent abstract landscapes, where cloudy areas merge smoothly into one another, in dance like movements.
What realizations have you come to during these difficult times? My need for an intimate connection with the environment is the reason why I feel so concerned about where we are heading to as inhabitants of this planet. The pandemic is forcing us to face how much we have lost that connection. I’ve seen images of coyotes, deers, foxes, silently getting close to our cities, taking over empty streets, parks, backyards. Dolphins were spotted in the harbor of my city. But I don’t believe it’s just cute or curious. According to scientists, this happens because animals are reclaiming part of the habitat we have taken from them.
The actual health emergency is a sad and dramatic challenge, but I expect we will have to face many more challenges when the current crisis is over. Protecting the wildlife ecosystem, reducing pollution and global warming, developing sustainable energy sources are necessary steps to safeguard our own existence and certainly that of the younger generations.
However, this crisis also taught how we, humans, are amazingly resourceful creatures with plenty of courage, generosity and understanding. I hope we will find the right balance between ours needs and those of others. And maybe we will acknowledge it by sharing this world, our wealth, technology, our best achievements so that we find the better part of ourselves.
Has your art making involvement helped you in coping with the sudden changes in our daily routines or has it been difficult to concentrate on new works? At the very beginning of the emergency in Italy, I have to admit, I underestimated what was going to happen. I was planning to go to London for an art fair. I love being there and it’s also very important for my livelihood. But suddenly day-by-day things got scarier. We were under lockdown and I cancelled all my upcoming shows. While being at home – where I have my studio – is pretty normal for me, I nevertheless felt progressively shaken and unfocused, spending several hours a day paying attention to the news and feeling helpless. During those first weeks, I decided to devote my time to brush up my website and social media. I created a small series of digital artworks that can be printed outside Italy and so on.
Luckily, after a while the urge of painting carved its way out and I felt almost a physical need to start again. My style changed a little, though: I used rougher and more impactful materials – 3D stuff basically, such as stones and gauze – and metallic pigments.
I wanted the paintings to give the idea of the hardships we are facing but still emphasize the light that shines on us even in these dark times.
You have a Master degree in Psychology and a PhD in Cognitive Neurosciences. How does your background affect your artistic work? I’ve always been amazed and interested in how the human brain processes the meaning of things, thanks to our interaction with the world and the key role of visual and multisensory perception. I figure my drive for experimentation – even when I paint – started there, and so did my love for playing on the canvas with both visual and tactile aspects. I love to create textured surfaces using (mostly) sand. The painting ends up interacting with the light of the room, changing according to the hour of the day. It’s also a chance for the viewer to interact with the painting in an unusual and pretty intuitive way, perhaps willing to touch it.
Can you share a moment of hope you’ve witnessed lately?
I’ll never forget the amazing efforts and generosity that the healthcare professionals have gifted us all. In my normal routine, though, I’ve been taken by surprise by tiny things that mean a lot to me. The COVID19 crisis brought many people to their windows and balconies. Many of us made ‘new acquaintances’ with our neighbors, talking and supporting each other for the first time, even if we had lived so close to each other for years. I love to think that these little acts of humanity and true caring will remain part of our social behavior after the emergency situation is over.
Do you have any plans that you are looking forward to fulfill once life is back to a new reality?
There are two things I’d love to do as soon as being out of the house becomes safer. A long, very long, stroll in the woods that border the coast close to Trieste – it’s called the Rilke trail, a view that I miss so much now. Then, I want to try something new in my paintings, using layers of thin paper and mixing them with very neutral and diluted colors, sort of veils that disclose our path.
Have you been in touch with other artists these days and what are some main concerns that you all share? I have been in touch with several artists, friends living in different countries, mainly through social media. At first, we shared concerns and information about our health and the virus outbreak. Nowadays, however, professional concerns are growing and uncertainty is quite widespread. Everyone has been affected. A lot of us had to cancel upcoming shows and exhibitions in galleries, art spaces, art fairs. Some have had no access to their studios and they cannot work. Many of my female friends have kids at home and, being the main caregiver in the family, they cannot work at all or have had to reduce their daily commitment. I’m glad that there are now increasing efforts to mutually support each other on the social media, this is true for everyone, especially unrepresented artists. Also online shows, even fairs and auctions are being organized online. This can help, but many of us fear it will be hardly enough to cope until the virus is contained.
What’s your favorite word or message for us today? I love to think that this crisis will encourage us to give voice to our values much more than to our fears. Whatever form our voices may take: notes, colors, words, actions.