Visiting an artists studio for a private visit provides a straight look into the life of an artist and the way he or she works day to day. On Thursday, my Galleries and Studios class visited 6 different artists in their studios. We got on the 490 bus to San Lorenzo and watched how the city changed from ancient structures to mostly residential and industrial buildings. Artists come to places like this to get out of the bustle of the city and the higher prices of being in the center of Rome. San Lorenzo provides for a great area full of youth where the artists can come to their studios to work whenever they want. After we arrived in San Lorenzo we walked a coupe blocks to a large yellow building where we climbed the stairs and found ourselves in a huge space with enormous ceilings.
The first artist, Seboo, came out to greet us and invited us into his studio. A smaller space then the others, there were 4 paintings propped up against each wall with tons of oil paints all over the floor. The large window provided for great lighting and made the paintings really pop with their vibrant yellow ochre color. His paintings were abstract and he described to us that they make up various “creatures” and landscapes that he sees and then puts them on the canvas. He said being in this space finds him looking out the window for much of the time, soaking in the area around him, which inspires a lot of his paintings. Since coming to Rome he’s very interested in the ruins, and they influence him when he paints.
As we said goodbye and thanked him for the visit, we stepped back out in to the open hallway and the next artist, Mauro di Silvestre, came out to greet us. A friend of my teachers for a very long time, Mauro was very happy to see all of us and seemed a bit more comfortable than the first artist. His studio was much larger than the first one, and it seemed as if he had been there for years, working and making this his second home. He introduced us to his paintings as memories and ideas from the past. Obsessed with the past and the physical passing of time, he explained how many of his paintings have ghostly figures on ornate and very colorful backgrounds because he becomes caught up in adding more things to the paintings and using his collection of things from the past (movie stubs, plane tickets, pictures, etc.). At the end of his studio visit he handed us all a catalogue of his work which was very generous, and I can now add it to my own collection of memories!
The next artist, also a friend of my teacher, was Marco Colatzo. Also very interested in the subject of identity and memories from the past, Colatzo paints in an early 80’s style of paintings and uses ornate and very abstract backgrounds, then adding some sort of figure to the foreground. He likes the idea that the background is very separate from the figure and that their relationship is minimal.
We made our way through 3 other studios of very young women artists in their mid 20’s who also conveyed that their paintings stem from the idea of memories and identity or the capturing of a space at a certain time. They seemed a bit nervous but definitely excited to talk about their work and tell us why they did things in their paintings to make sure that we didn’t think something else. Being an artist isn’t easy, and especially in Rome where the contemporary art world somewhat struggles with young new artists who are trying to make a name for themselves, they need to keep producing work and love what they are doing.
The visit was great and it really allowed for a personal look into the lives of a couple artists. Seeing an artist’s work in their studio and hearing from them is a much different experience then hearing about and seeing it in a gallery or a museum. The artist is there conveying their true feelings and true reasons for the work.