|Today I introduce a new series on my blog: Artist Interview.
I plan on interviewing an artist every now and then who deserves extra attention. Enjoy this first interview post – I hope many of these posts will follow.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a London based Italian artist and I’ve been living here for almost 7 years now.
From a very young age I’ve always felt a connection to visual arts in general and when I moved to Rome I started experimenting with photography. Later on, moving to London allowed me to collaborate with different kinds of creative people, mainly in the fashion industry, and it has been a truly rewarding experience. However, I didn’t feel like my research was complete so in the last couple of years I turned to art and painting and somehow it expanded my creativity and made me want to learn more about it. I am mainly self-taught but I have started to attend classes at The Art Academy in London Bridge around 6 months to be able to explore the art world more.
You say that you began taking painting seriously only a couple of years ago – what made you decide to paint? Was there a special trigger that made you decide to become an artist?
Moving from photography to painting has been quite a natural step for me. As a photographer I am drawn to dark atmospheres blending into strong colors and I’m obsessed with perfection. These are all elements that are important, and that I appreciate, in making paintings. The main difference is the approach: the solitary relationship between me and the canvas in the studio allows me to feel a wider sense of freedom.
I’ve always argued with people who don’t consider photography a form of art but I have to say that even tough in my work as a fashion photographer I’ve always been inspired by art, it’s much easier to let your full vision come to life in a painting rather than a fashion shoot. There are less restrictions in general. Therefore I don’t think there was a triggering moment, I believe it has always been at the back of my mind and was just waiting for me to explore it.
What made you decide to take a one year course at the Art Academy? What are in your opinion the benefits of having an art education versus autodidact/self-taught?
I am a perfectionist and I like to be in control of my work. Some consider this attitude to be a bad thing but to me it’s all about knowledge. Once you know the basic skills and experiment with different techniques, I believe you become more confident with your style and acquire a better sense of what you want to achieve. This is the reason why I started attending classes at The Art Academy and it turned out to be perfect for me because I was after learning the practical and technical skills. The Academy is a vibrant and eclectic place where you can choose the kind of education you get according to your needs. I believe this still gives you room for your own creativity and that is important to me. I don’t think I would keep studying for too long because I don’t want to be stuck in those strict academic ways of seeing things but I do believe it’s important to know the basics of what you love in order to use them as creative tools.
How do you work and approach your subject? Where do you find inspiration?
First of all, I really need to be by myself in my studio/home.
Inspiration can come from anywhere… Sometimes it’s a feeling of uneasiness towards our society. Other times it can be very personal and psychological or coming from someone else’s story that I relate to in some level or I just empathise with.
I can really connect with the Surrealist movement, it’s extreme beauty but also the overwhelming darkness and tension. In the end of the day I guess all artists explore what they do or don’t know about themselves.
How would you describe your artistic style?
My work tends to be very much figurative and surreal. I think it’s because to me it is all about my inner world and how it relates with today’s society.
In order to bring to life my emotions it comes natural to do it in a surrealistic, distorted way. It’s a paradox but the more surreal it is the more I think you can find a deeper meaning and make a connection. Having said that, my priority is to always produce something that is honest, seductive and with a distinctive out of the ordinary edge.
“I think of art as something very personal and yet so exposed” you say. Do you ever feel uncomfortable visualizing your inner depths, feelings and thoughts and putting it out in the open for everyone to see and how do you react on comments?
I am very critical myself of my work so it is not about what people think, even though it can affect me on some level, but more about if I am happy with what I produce. When people look at a painting they either connect to it or not and that’s fine. You can talk for hours about a painting, the artist and his/her inspiration but it is ultimately something to be enjoyed visually. When I go myself to exhibitions I become extremely quiet, I guess my eyes take over and I just enjoy absorbing everything without over-analyzing but just feeling it. The most beautiful thing is when your work manages to speaks to someone, revealing something that you didn’t even put there intentionally. You see, it’s like giving up control and discovering something new about yourself through other people’s sensibility.
You are working on a new series titles: “The Lost Myth of Androgyny” for your first exhibition: The Art Academy’s Graduate Show in London in July. Why this theme?
There is a lot of talking about gender lately and besides the media frenzy, I wanted to know more myself. What interested me as an artist was the pain and suffering of not feeling in your own skin and body. This is what I wanted to depict, together with a sense of “here it is in your face, either you like it or not”.
Also, in a wider sense, I was fascinated by the fact that we all evolve throughout our lives and only by removing layer after layer we can reveal our true selves. I think of it as a journey towards acceptance. Accepting our limits and ourselves. I’ve been researching on gender dysphoria, looking up various theories and got fascinated by ancient myths that once glorified people who were different rather than judging them… of course before Christianity came along.
I am really excited about this show and in order to make it the way I always wanted to, I’ve started a Kickstarter Campaign so hopefully people will make it happen.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
What would really make me happy is to keep doing what I am doing and more. Being able to do something you love is the ultimate pleasure of life.
|About the artist
Fabio Esposito is a 33 year old, London based Italian artist.