This short introduction explains my approach to painting and drawing, and my predilection for a solid union between technique and art.
The deeper is the knowledge of painting and drawing techniques the greater is the chance of being able to express oneself and communicate.
As you may notice, it’s a continuous research into the possibilities of an encounter between the real and the imaginary, through different materials and experiences, moving to a final and unrepeatable result.
Each painting, drawing and digital image is the result of a unique study, which lasts the lifetime of the single opera.
You won’t find here replicas of the same work in different colours.
Subject, technique and formal approach unite to tell the story of each creative emotion.
The works are organized into sections and subsections: the focus shifts from techniques to materials.
The menu is completed by the Blog section, where my new works and reflections will be posted.
Thank you for reading so far. Enjoy your visit!
Alberto Repetti, Interview for Art Reveal Magazine Published on May 8, 2017
When, how and why started your art practice?
Even when I was a child I used to get a physical kick out of painting and drawing, but it was only when I was around 14 and at art school that my approach got more serious and structured. I remember one particular episode which made me ‘discover the true meaning of a commission’. Basically after my brother was born my mother seemed to have less time for me, or at least that’s how it felt to me, and the idea came to me to take a Mickey Mouse comic book and copy its cover. I showed the result to my mother and I still remember the look of amazement on her face, and that look was the stimulus to me to produce another forty or so of the same. That day I discovered the true meaning of a ‘commission’ and you could say that what I always seek to achieve is that same look of wonder in the eyes of those who view my work.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
This endeavour has been a constant but it’s only in the last couple of years that i’ve felt sure enough of the results achieved so far to exhibit them. I’d like to complete two ambitious works i’m working on at the moment: I’m thinking of an inter-action between sound and image and to this end am hoping to bring on board composers and musicians, and the second is being able to exhibit with a good corpus of work to enter into an art circuit that will give me the possibility to compare and share experiences. Let’s say that being able to successfully exhibit one’s work without necessarily having to compromise is an excellent goal to aim for.
Do you think of yourself as a conceptual artist?
If we think of the conceptual artist as someone who takes an object where its meaning acts as a catalyst, that is not what interests me, or rather it’s an interesting route to follow but not for me. For me the working process, the technical aspect, is central to what I do. I don’t want to belittle the ‘descriptive’ aspect of the work but I think it’s the result of a precise and meaningful manual act and this manual act must resonate with what I am in every single sign I leave on the surface. The signifier is also the meaning itself. The painting or drawing are a concrete representation of themselves even if they inevitably leave a space for a variety of triggers for each individual viewer. What I put on the surface is a construct, or at least this is the result I seek to achieve, so that the viewer is directed towards a vision in the particular after having had an initial overview. I would like my work to be seen as close as possible to the support medium.
Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice?
I can’t deny that my country’s artistic tradition inevitably leads to the idea of a work of art on the basis of its compositional structure and at the same time its formal exploratory dimension. Renaissance and baroque are part of a heritage that constantly emerges in every Italian designer or painter, yet the evocations and personal passions which mature the choice towards one artistic direction rather than another go beyond this. In my specific case there is an ideal line running from Giotto through Cezanne to Picasso and Bacon who have had a decisive influence on my reading of reality which I am very aware of and which at a formal level, does not so much influence as determine the background noise which is a constant in my work. I imagine it was the same with other artists’ influences on these ones.
In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture?
Matta liked to repeat that ‘art is a weighty matter’, while Cezanne wrote that every work of art should teach us something’, to which I would add that the artistic manifestation is something which produces emotion and transmits a message via a formal process. In the field of visual art we are witnessing a fragmentation unparalleled in any other historical period. The avant-garde have run out of steam, after being structured in a precise context and with recognisable elements we now find ourselves buried by images which multiply ad infinitum and seek to amaze – inventiveness at any price – maybe even provocativeness at any price. On the other hand i.e. from the ‘user’s’ perspective, what we have is considerable confusion, generally linked to a superficial knowledge of the subject and a cultural preparation which when it comes to interpreting the image is very approximate and produces an easily satisfied and undemanding superficiality. For me the work of art is key for reading the future, and I would say the artist is a kind of shaman, but this interpretation of complex reality which gives us a glimpse of the future navigates a sea of images and is not so easy to identify. The spectacle of art does not equate to art as spectacle and to get back to being at the centre of attention it must be first identified, which is no easy matter. In a room full of people shouting things out for effect, listening to a person saying something ‘profound’ and in a normal voice is impossible. Sometimes it does come out and that is a miracle.
What is the most challenging part about working with traditional media?
So the knowledge comes first – knowing what is the right support for one medium compared to another, be it canvas, cardboard, aluminium or plexiglass. Familiarity with the behaviour of the substances making up the colours or materials I am using. Certain colours, if we are talking about oils or tempera are made up of mineral or organic substances whose combination may give disappointing results for reasons of chemistry so that those two colours should not be mixed together. Accordingly for any medium the technique and a through understanding of how to use the materials is an essential prerequisite for recognising what are the limits and possibilities for using the materials in question.
Whenever one decides to start a work it is done in the context of the material to be used. Indeed I should perhaps emphasise that the so-called digital painting I ’employ’ also requires a practical knowledge of the means adopted. Buying a box of colours or downloading an app doesn’t make anybody an artist nor indeed a painter, which would in itself be quite something. Today there are numerous photographic effects which enable us to produce similar effects to a job done by hand but their ultimate effect is superficial as they are a all more or less the same. The practical process costs effort which in the end pays off because it allows us to conceive formal inventions which help and stimulate the whole production process of the work in question.
What advice can you give to those who are just starting out in the arts?
My advice is to always start from the drawing and the composition. The acquisition of manual dexterity is necessary ind is achieved solely and exlcusivley through constant practice. It’s like learning to play an instrument. You have to keep on trying this and that, be lucky enough to have a good teacher and if you don’t have one then learn from nature, by which I mean the reality around you and the work of artists who feed your curiosity and sensitivity. I think this is an essential prerequisite even for someone pursuing a path which is seemingly remote from painting or sculptural practIce in the traditional sense, as it allows a whole bag of technical tricks which can be made available for the creative act with whatever material is used. Formal practice allows us for example to choose the appropriate means to express a certain type of composition, a broader awareness and the broader the range of expressive possibilities. The idea should always be able to rely on a manual ability which allows it to manifest itself and to materialise. One last thing I want to add is that what has always been the moving force behind my work is to have an infinite respect for the person interacting with my work.