Hi Letizia, how are you? How are you going through this difficult period?
Well, I would like to start painting again, but at the moment I am demotivated. I have been at home for six months now because before the lockdown I had knee surgery and this quarantine has turned out to be more tiring than one could imagine. But I hope to get back to it as soon as possible. I'd also like to try my hand at photography, I don't think it's in my nature, but I'm curious about it and would love to experience it.
You are an artist who has worked in several disciplines, do you feel there has been one that you have been more passionate about than others?
My works on porcelain are definitely among my favourites, I attended a porcelain painting course and became the teacher's favourite. She even sometimes took inspiration from my paintings. As I am passionate, I have also learnt to work and model clay and porcelain, but mainly as a matter of necessity, because I have always preferred to do everything by myself.
So your favourite technique is painting, how much have you experimented in that field?
I tried watercolour, I started in high school, but I didn't like it very much. Over the years, I have moved closer and closer to oil painting, which is definitely my preferred technique, because it has a more concrete and tangible feel.
I know you have been an art history teacher for almost twenty years, did this influence your career much? Not really, I have always kept my work and my artistic production separate, even though they both revolve around the concept of art. For me, painting has always been about feeling, depending on how I felt at the time, I chose to work in one way rather than another, and I feel that things have always been independent of each other.
Painting and feeling, so your works have always been a way of getting an emotional message across that you could not convey in any other way? Yes, definitely. The Sound and Colour series (mentioned in the previous article) was the most personal of all and also the one that contained a clear and distinct message. I tried to depict still lifes, to change the genre and experiment, but they didn't give me much satisfaction, I realised almost immediately that it wasn't for me. Then I always focused on figures, I painted many elderly people, they made me think about the meaning of life. People who had lived and no longer had much to ask of life, who lived for the day, free from the expectations and commitments of a hectic life. In retrospect, I realised that my production is a mirror of my life. I have had many 'periods' over the years and this has strongly influenced my work. For example, there was a period when I had practically stopped speaking and automatically the faces in my paintings had lost their mouths.
When did you realise you were going to be a painter? Was there a specific moment when you became aware of this? I became interested in drawing when I was in secondary school, it was a very natural and instinctive approach. Then I started going to sculptor Enzo Assenza's studio and later I attended a live painting course with a Russian painter. My teachers gave me technical knowledge and taught me how to paint to my full potential. I lived a life of learning, and then I conveyed everything I learned in the direction suggested by my instinct.
Is there any great artist who has particularly influenced you? Honestly no, I have studied them and I know them of course, but my work has always come from me. I was inspired a lot by Cézanne for the colour alone and I got his palette.
Talking about colours, is there any colour that is particularly symbolic for you? I like white very much and I like to create contrasts that make it even brighter.
What do you think about your works? Do they excite you? Have you ever felt unsatisfied with what you have done? This is something that happened to me recently, three years ago I had a fall which caused several fractures including the humerus in my painting arm so I had to help myself with the other hand to work and that was difficult. The first painting I made after the fall was a portrait of a woman and I remember working on it much more than I used to, I spent days and days just on that work. I looked at it and didn't feel satisfied, so I kept working on it in an inconstant way until I felt it was actually completed. I am a very stubborn woman. This has never happened to me before, I assume it's a consequence of working instinctively.
Letizia, thank you for your time, enjoy your work.
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