Sometimes people have asked me why I represent mostly animals in my work and where this inclination comes from. It's actually not an obvious question! I usually start by saying that it was not a rational, conscious decision. Animals are the first subjects that simply inspired me. I found them pleasant subjects to reproduce pictorially, because of the fascinating colours and shapes. At the beginning, however, I had no idea that these would eventually be the subjects I would focus on almost exclusively!
I once took a canvas I had painted with a leopard to my painting teacher at the Academy to show him. It was one of my first attempts at oil painting, which I was quite pleased with (I couldn't say the same now...) and I was both impatient and afraid to show it to him. The previous academic year he had never made me paint in oils, only small compositions with people and parrots in watercolours. But I was interested in the oil technique and I wanted to show him that I could use it! And so I went to him with this mediocre leopard portrait that I had done during the summer break at home. He was never outspoken and always laconic. After observing that the leopard was cross-eyed, he told me that I should start with the felines I knew best, that I could observe in person and on a daily basis, to study them closely: cats. So I started to look for and follow Venetian cats, photographing and drawing them. I used to go to the homes of friends who had cats so that I could observe them up close and photograph them comfortably (as well as cuddle them). At the same time, however, I continued to be interested in other felines, the big cats, I was fascinated by them.
I painted tigers lazing on the bed in my room in Venice, guarding lynxes sitting on the dresser, another tiger lurking behind the doorframe... I set the felines in every corner of the house by now and I had begun to give them the meaning that had already been written inside me for some time: these rare felines needed a place to stay, they came to invade our home spaces because we humans had destroyed or invaded their natural spaces first! The first attempts led after a while to the works I collected under the title Urban Jungle, the first series that characterised my artistic way. Colour and pleasant shapes reign in these compositions, but they are also at times ironic and provocative compositions, which aim to arouse curiosity and prompt reflection. In 2013, on the occasion of an exhibition in my home town of Bolzano, I wrote: 'Art should cheer people up, stimulate them to creativity'. This is the reason for a joyful and colourful style that enhances the beauty of nature, which I am sure does not want to be dampened. This concept is still valid for me today and I believe it does not exclude the transmission of a message, a reflection, a hope.
What role should art play for you nowadays? What are the great works of art that speak to your heart? Write it in the comments!
I feet so strongly attached to nature at this point in my life, never before have I ever felt like this. I find it easier now to paint animals and plants more than anything else.
How nice, I’m really pleased to read about your affinity with nature subjects in painting and that you feel so close to it! I also think that in the last year and a half of the pandemic many people have rediscovered their closeness to nature, which indeed gives us peace and relief in stressful situations. Thanks for your comment Dean! 🙂