Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Vezzolano Abbey and the romanesque trail in Asti

A lovely field trip brought me to Vezzolano Abbey in Albugnano Asti. The combination of limestone, terracotta and brick makes it surprisingly welcoming considering the austerity of its era. A beautiful cloister accompanies you towards their permanent nativity display that occupies impressively four sides of an entire room. The church is dedicated to the Madonna and as with all romanesque decoration in the area, every pilar, capital and column tells its own story, sometime our own imagination is as close as we will every get to unlocking their secrets!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

San Giorgio e il drago

Looking forward to painting a saint George and the dragon for a church in Torresina Cuneo.
Here's the rough sketch of how I want it composed. It will measure 100x160cm.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Starting the season...

Working on wooden boards. It's not the same as a walk on the beach, but as a decorator I am the last one using the scaffolding, so if you love what your doing, it is a bit like being on holiday. A home away from home. You begin to learn the ins and outs: where to duck to avoid the iron bars, how to organize your work so you can stay in the sun longer, or avoid it, if it's August....and where to eat your lunch in peace. Down below people try to sneak a peek at what you are doing, but must wait! Fingers crossed it is a good surprise...but for collegues here is a preview. Shame that they couldn't hide the tubes.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Illusions and a reality check.

They say that if you can't explain it easily, then you don't know it well enough. This thought has weighed on me since around the time of writing my thesis back in 2007. I am now pretty sure that the requisites for illustrating something also depend on relative receptiveness. It is impossible to get institutional audience here in Italy unless you know the right people or are affluent. Anything I have been trying to do feels like explaining colour to the colour blind or encourage skiing on rocks.
How can a country promote its wares, if it doesn't recognize its abilities? It is not sufficient for one, or even a few people to point at something.
Again and again and again the underlying suggestion that is given to artistic artisans here in Italy is that we will come out of the recession thanks to the promotion of traditional skills and methods....but it is the class of skilled workers, struggling to survive that are unable to dialogue with the political system and find the strategies needed to market those strengths...or, damn it, even eliminate the darn "skill" if that is the outcome of a dialogue between professionals and institutions. At least one would have an answer. 
I was finally contacted by a functionary of my region who spoke on behalf of the representative of development, promotion and discipline of artisan skills and to whom I specifically wrote.
The lady confessed to not knowing about the subject of traditional Italian decoration (?) and thought that I should: 
A) contact/exchange with Art schools ( me on my lonesome trying to widen the audience by teaching wall decoration from a chalkboard to a handful of students who are unlikely to find work?  William Morris would smile at my presumptuousness ) or 
B) try participating at Turin's "Restruttura" fair, involved in promoting restoration. Here in Italy restoration is a highly elite market in itself, with interests that go beyond that of conserving historical Artwork. In theory, rightly, they are not involved in promoting painted decoration, however classical, but rightly in conservation. It is a generally accepted practice to integrate contemporary design within those areas that simply cannot be recuperated.  Participating at that event might be a bit like trying to peddle sausages at a vegetarian foods fair. 
The request for audience with the very institution that is supposed to be sourcing for marketable skills and protecting its territorial identity in this difficult moment, was excluded.
Norms state that Italy is bound to protect both it's Art AND the significant artistic skills that go to create them...it is a farce that there is no specific institutional body that represents and intimately understands artistic craft or any other creative field here in Italy.