This quote defines in some way Stefano's personality and the reason he started painting years ago.
Colorful but nostalgic, Stefano's paintings are his shelter, his "freedom and catharsis".
Stefano is originally from the South of Italy but has been living in London for decades now.
His work revolves around themes such as the definition of identity, introspection and freedom, merged into landscapes like the Mediterranean Sea and its dazzling light.
Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and how you started painting?
"My name is Stefano and I'm Italian. I grew up in a very traditional family where out-of-the-ordinary behavior was not allowed. I received a strict upbringing, expressing my creativity wasn't really encouraged, and I was only allowed to play with typical children's games.
I wasn't interested in cliché boys' games like football, fighting and plastic guns, because of the sense of violence and competitive nature I perceived in them. Drawing was my way out, a creative space where I could play with whatever I wanted, freeing myself from the constant repression imposed by the world around me.
In real life, I was isolated but in my sketchbook, I was never alone. I started drawing animals, flowers, plants, cities and landscapes, queens, witches, wizards, angels... and it never really stopped. Painting became a part of my life, and now as an adult, I find in the creative act the same sense of freedom and catharsis that I discovered as a child."
"My childhood was dark and it left a black hole inside me. Painting is a language I use to have a dialogue with the loneliness I experienced in those years and to accept it. In the past, I tried to fill that hole in various ways but with no success. Painting allows me to leave that hole as it is but to build a new world all around it.
Loneliness is a recurring theme in my paintings but being an "outsider" also generates an exhilarating sense of freedom: the lightness of not having to conform to anything, the liberating detachment of deviating from the norm."
Was there any event that influenced your artistic path?
"The technological progress of recent years with digital photography and the increasingly sophisticated software for image manipulation, have definitely had an impact on the type of technique I developed: a mixed-media of acrylic, oil, and collage of digital images.
I travel a lot around the world and like everyone else, I take many photographs. I find it extraordinary that modern technology allows me to incorporate fragments of my life into my work, share the magic of faraway places that I was lucky to visit and infuse the picture with a new life.
My artistic evolution has also been influenced by my growing interest in environmental protection. My last three collections (Colordive, Inner Horizons, and Wondering Heights) were mostly produced using recycled waste material: wall-paint leftovers, thrown away furniture, wooden panels, frames from broken mirrors... Many of the paintings produced with entirely recycled material were purchased very quickly; I like to think that this is due to a mysterious and positive "ecological karma".
"Finally, my daily practice of meditation, as well as my love for literature and poetry, are sources of immense inspiration. Many of the images in my paintings appear in my mind as I meditate. Meditation allows me to reflect inwards, taking a step back to observe my mind and moods from a broader perspective. It helps me to understand the dynamics of what happens to me and how it affects my emotional sphere, transforming its essence into images. The human mind produces 70,000 thoughts a day, most of these thoughts are "waste" and don't correspond to the truth, they confuse and intoxicate our perceptions. When I meditate, I purify my mind and find the calm, the discipline and the concentration I need to conceive and execute a painting."
|Next week, we'll talk about one specific painting by Stefano, Small Town Boy Plotting.|