Interview by Faiz Kermani for Center Point Basel Switzerland
You originally studied architecture. When did you decide to become a full-time artist and why?
At a very young age I loved to draw but as soon I started the architect school I realized that all the technical data I had to study was not my calling so I immediately changed to the nearby art school of CSIA in Lugano.
Which styles of art are your favorite? Can you tell us about your approach to art?
I have a lot respect for figurative art, portraits, bodies and things as it requires a lot of knowledge and technique but I prefer abstract paintings because it always brings me into an unknown space, not knowing where it leads and at the same time still take care of harmony in compositions of forms and colors.
What is the best thing about being a full-time artist? What is the worst thing?
The best thing for me is being able to be creative, to do something beautiful and to be totally present in the moment while I am painting and have all the time at my disposal to study and go deeper with what I am doing and the worst thing is when I feel stuck, when the energy is not flowing and inspiration is missing . then I rather stop and feel what is happening inside me and accept the situation. At this point I don't paint . I wait until the clouds of my mind disperse and the next wave of inspiration comes.
Is there a particular artist(s) in history who has inspired you? Why?
I have many favorites; every one inspires me on different levels, Monet, Cezanne and many others ... and Klimt with that transmission of female sensuality in his paintings. Also I love all the Zen Japanese artists from down the ages.
Who are your favorite current artists? What do you like about their work?
Current artists for me it is difficult to like. Most of the art now days is become cathartic and tries to provoke and shock people as people are not shocked enough with what is going on in the world. Although some of them very interesting I can't think of a famous contemporary artist that I really like.
Do you think that it is possible to learn to become an artist or is it a talent you have to be born with?
It is a mix of both. Everybody is an artist in a way or in another depending in which area, dance music or painting or cooking or even gardening. As a child we all painted somehow, everybody is born with it. One must trust himself and at the same time is good to learn techniques and to practice.
What types of projects are you working on at the moment?
Am doing a series of abstract paintings where I use antique Asian beadwork, old embroideries and recycling materials I collect in my travels and transform it in beautiful and aesthetic canvas where I try to manifest our human essential qualities trough the colors and trough the shapes.
Is there anything you would especially want our audience, the English speaking international community, to know about your work?
Right now I have an exhibit in Locarno at the Atelier Fabiola in Piazza S. Antonio 2 where they are exposed in an exquisite set up and one can easily experience what I mean by "one own essential quality trough colors".
For example the White color Is known as the Will Essence, it has to do with a feeling of inner solidity, inner support and a sense of value. It is the relaxed confidence that comes when we are in contact with our Being. It is grounded, resourceful and committed.
Or with my Red paintings am trying to transmit the Strength Essence, it has to do with our capacity to be an individual; it brings the strength to separate from old structures that no longer serve our evolution and uniqueness. It is passionate vitality, enthusiasm and the strength to go into the world with all its challenges.
Or with my Green paintings am trying to evoke on the viewer his Essence of Compassion, this color gives us a profound understanding of and compassion for our ego structure. It is the compassion and understanding which allows us to go deeply into our wounds and heal them. It gives us the capacity to do the same with others.
With my Yellow canvas . Yellow usually represent the color of Joy, this subtle dimension of our Being is like an inner sun shining and is about our innate capacity to live in Joy and Curiosity. It is a place where our old negative self-images and seriousness are dropped and our light-hearted innocence is regained. And so on and so for, every essence quality we have is represented by different colors and vice versa.
Have you had an Expat experience yourself and if so, would you tell us about it and share your perspective on living in a foreign country?
I lived abroad my entire life since young age. I lived literally all over the globe, this beautiful earth is my home, I do not believe in nations. I feel blessed I experienced so many different people and different cultures. I feel at home everywhere. I spend a lot of time in India also and there is where I learned Meditation , the art of looking inside oneself and become more aware of my inner freedom and I am trying my best to get this feel trough my canvas ...
For someone new to Basel, what would your top recommendations be for them to see and do ?
There is so much about art, the Beyler Gallery, Tynquely Gallery, Museums, good restaurants like Jay's Indian Restaurant and more but one fun thing to do in summer is to jump in the river and let you transport down the current. Many people do that and is really fun if you know how to swim of course.
And personally, which is your favorite spot in Basel?
Everywhere down at the river.
Is there anything else you would like to add to this interview ?
Yes, my website www.giollo.com for more infos on my work.
Thank you for your kind help !
Faiz Kermani (Faiz.firstname.lastname@example.org)
PR chair, www.centrepoint.ch