Artist Interview: Paolo Di Rosa
Updated: Apr 16
Why do you paint?
Without my knowing it, art always accompanied me as a child, I was not aware then, that many years later it would be my chosen profession too.
At the beginning, the need to look, to discover, and to feel was for the most part applied from the outside directed in, towards my inner world, but not believing that I had the tools to reverse that process made me very introspective and lonely as a result.
Later, after my life course changed through the pursuit of scientific studies, I began to listen to the thing that was and had always been pulsing in me and I began to paint, beginning slowly, then faster and faster, and what was once inside, came out and took shape, in a becoming that I recognised only by doing, and that allowed me to mature, it’s a personal evolution that continues even today.
Is there a core philosophy or message in your work?
The eternal dilemma, whose is the work of art, who creates it or who observes it?
Certainly, I can only be the connecting thread that links all of my works, my poetry, but even that is ever-changing and has blurred boundaries. But the single work can recount even to me, a different story at different moments or phases in my life.
Sometimes I am astonished that one of my joyful pieces is seen as being sad or vice versa, but it fills me with amazement, that communication, it's the response that I'm looking for, it's the driving force that drives me to create.
What is your method?
My type of didascalic painting requires control and accuracy in execution, I like to think of my works as pictorial transpositions of Japanese haiku, rather than as novels, that require a careful balancing of elements. In the initial ‘interior design’ phase when the idea takes shape, there is a moment of slight euphoria: what to paint is not so much a choice but a recognition. The final feeling at the end is difficult to explain, I like to stand in front of my work and try to understand, to hear what the work is telling me, and sometimes I get emotional when I perceive something I didn’t know or that was unexpected.
Where do you feel your ideas, inspirations or visions for a work come from?
Like I said, there are several different moments that come to pass during the process, sometimes the first idea can be irrational, a flash, a sensation, then I re-work it more rationally. But often, during the execution of a work these two different sides or modes can interchange and even contaminate each other.
As the human machine changes over the years, the fire in its engine must be powered differently over the course of time in order to see a more efficient yield and not to burn out. But I promise to revisit this question in a few years time, I'm curious to know how I will answer this question then!
For me, art has always been a kind of mirror, sometimes I recognise myself in it, other times I have to push myself through it to try and seize the indefinite, and it’s not certain that one can always clarify the arcane, but the act of tilting the stool forwards, already creates an imbalance, a motion, that from within which is born a potential seed of change.
How do you explain the evolution in your work?
The questions I pose through my works are sometimes serious, others are ironic and some are more poetic, I don’t yet know what the real or fundamental question is, but that answer might be in the act itself, to question. If I stopped doing that in my own personal journey it would be reflected in my work. I am my work.
What are the responsibilities of an artist?
For the most part I feel free in choosing what to say, however I am conscious that I am immersed in everything that surrounds me and at the same time I am being unconsciously influenced by my surroundings. One of the constraints that I can think of is the market, but it's a downward spiral, one that will keep you spinning and going nowhere.
Even if, for some ‘the plant’ grows slowly, intellectual honesty always yields quality fruit.
Paolo di Rosa’s Studio in Milan, Italy
Italian Contemporary Art.
How do the current politics in the Italian national art world effect the prognosis for emerging Italian artists to be recognised artistically and to become visible both in their home country and abroad?
In Italy, a country that is the cradle of civilisation and boasts most of the world's artistic heritage, art is a given fact, there is art, full stop. However, it is undeniable that much more should be done, art should permeate many political choices, even in other seemingly foreign fields, because it is an indivisible part of being human.
What are your thoughts about the position and visibility of Italian contemporary art in the international context?
Despite some initial, interesting experimentation, Italy is not famous for promoting its historical heritage, much less its modern art. Italy should invest more in culture, I speak not from personal interest, but for the benefit of future generations.
What does Italian Contemporary Art have to offer that is unique in today’s market?
Sure to be offered is not just a trademark, even if it’s true that certain things cannot be written into a person's DNA, it is also true that from the moment we are born, Italians are immersed in an artistic context that lives and breathes everywhere, perhaps this is the true march of the Italian artist. Maybe this is the true and unique tool or advantage that the Italian artist has.
What are your thoughts on large scale international online sales platforms such as www.saatchiart.com?
When the breadth of choice is too wide, unless you are already a good connoisseur, choosing becomes difficult where it is not guided, and a digital platform only amplifies this problem and the discomfort that can come with it. However, it is a good opportunity to get yourself known, but only in synergy with other channels.
Respond to the quotation:
“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures”.
Henry Ward Beecher
And if the work that each of us does on ourselves is not a real evolution but an act of defining ever more clearly, the essence of our true nature? Sometimes, I can paint my world, but other times situations that are strange or unknown to me only serve to emphasise the detachment I feel, so to sum up, to understand the interior, I also need to perceive that which surrounds it...
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We acknowledge that the image copyrights in this article belong to Paolo Di Rosa