You were saying that you come from a background in sculpture.
I did art school, and I got a prize for something in between sculpture and painting called 'basso relievo' in Italian. I was second-best at the Centro Scolastico per le Industrie Artistiche, in Lugano. One of my teacher was Nag Arnoldi. I feel honored that he was my teacher, and he's one of the best sculptors - Switzerland is full of his work.
So I did sculpture. But sculpture is bulky, it's big, and I was always traveling. All of my life, I have been traveling all over the world. But for sculpture, you have to be in one place and produce there, you cannot just travel around.
But like you say, you are using the concepts. You're still making a sculpture on the surface of your pieces.
The concepts, the nervousness of the movement.
You have said in an interview that you are really creating something for people to live with and enjoy in a home, not just to see in a gallery.
Maybe I could put that down just as your philosophy!
How do you choose your materials? Do you just use basic pigments, or do you actually look for specific types of materials?
I like acrylic, I like oil. I used oil, but I dropped it because it's just not healthy to be there and breathe it all the time; and it takes a long time to dry and I am impatient. I can't just be there and wait three whole days until the next step ... Acrylic dries very quickly, which forces me to let go. I don't want to think too much: I have to go to a place of not-knowing and let go, because it's happening so quickly. And the colors - I don't much like mixing, you know, preparing the color. I like to use the primary colors … bam-bam-bam-bam.
How did you explore the use of the Ciba pigments?
I put them on canvas, old canvases that I had and still have. Paintings I did last year, two years ago. I had to see how they looked before I started on the commission, because they are so new. I did two, three paintings. They were figurative, like flowers and stuff.
The first experiment, I put all the color combinations I could on paper to see how the pigments react with each color. On black the effects come out more; on white, you hardly see it, so then you know you have to do other things to see the effect. And then of course the greens, the blues, the yellows and reds . I just wanted to see where you see this the best, where it disappears more, things like this.Let's talk about the specific materials you used.
I was using Ciba® XYMARAT Gold Pearl G00, and I was using the Ciba® XYMARA NordicT sparkle effect pigments. You know, the Gold Pearl works fantastically on darker surfaces, but my painting was already golden - it was already orange and yellow. So at the beginning I said no, it's no good, because it should stand out and you want to see the effect. But then I just loved the "velveting" and the depth that the thing gave, so I did use it. Now it's gold-on-gold, but worth the risk.
Did you get a choice of the products you could use?
I have Gold Pearl, I have Ciba® XYMARAT Silver Pearl S03, I have the XYMARA Nordic sparkle-effect pigments, I have the Ciba® XYMARAT Bronze Pearl B02. The Silver Pearl is good, it's like the Gold Pearl. And the sparkle-effect is more obvious, it's easier to see.
They're part of my tools now, for sure. You know, when I tried using other products before, to get the same effect, it never worked. I did not like the glitter - the painting became almost kitschy, whereas this is just optimal.
What's the difference? Is it the way it sits on the canvas?
Yes, it's uniform. The other stuff that you buy in the shops looks like glitter. It's not the same. I don't want a glittery feeling.
How was working from a commission different to your previous work?
Usually I do the painting and then if somebody likes it, they buy it, right? I don't have to go through emotions, because the deal is clear. You like it, you pay the price for it. But with these pieces, you're paying beforehand, so you're expecting something. And that puts me in a completely different situation: I went through insecurity, not knowing ... I am not like the average artist, who has his ego and says "I do my thing and then either you like it or you don't".
So that's the difference between subjective and objective art I was telling you about before. I care if the work brings you something. If I do it for myself and you like the thing and you pay me for it, I am fine; you like it and that's a relief. But if you pay me beforehand and expect something, then that's more challenging. Actually, sometimes I like that more, because of the challenge. Then, personally, there is more love, more care that goes into the thing than before.
But you're enjoying it, which is a good point ...
I love it, yes, yes, yes. It makes me more alive. It makes me more centered. It makes me more focussed. I want more quality.
And then I feel more alive, I tell you. I feel more alive in insecurity. When you're secure, you walk around like a dead person. And life is insecure. I mean, you can try to make it all fixed, but then something happens - somebody dies, or ... you know. Life always takes you off your feet and for me it is a form of being ...
By Le Vin Chin
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