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The story of my painting

Tai Chi 1996

I would like to tell the story of my painting through its phases, for me it has always been difficult to divide paintings into categories by technique or period, because the different phases have often overlapped, and my production has always been vast, eclectic and abundant, so there are no defined lines that divide a way of painting from another, but a slow and constant change.

So, by telling the story of my painting through its phases, we start from Brazil.

I arrived in Brazil in January 1995, in Salvador di Bahia, with a one way ticket and € 100 in my pocket, and lived there for 3 years.  At that time I was traveling a lot, I had no sense of risk and loved adventure. There is a lot to tell, but I want to focus here only on the story of my painting. So one day in Salvador I was eating in a restaurant and I saw three very elegant rasta. I couldn’t find my lighter so they made me light the cigarette. In the conversation they told me they were artists and they invited me to visit their gallery, in Pelourinho, the historic center of Salvador de Bahia. They offered me a job because I knew various languages and there were many foreigners who went to the gallery to see and buy their paintings and they had a hard time communicating. The gallery was huge and contemporary and  the three artists were renowned in the area, and one of three,  Totonho, also recognized internationally. There were many artists who frequented the gallery, so I lived immersed in that world of art and creativity. 

I liked the life in Salvador  and I had many friends, but my wild nature and over all my love for nature didn’t give me peace. A friend who frequented the gallery had lent me an unused house in the Pelourinho, not far from the gallery, and this house had a terrace overlooking the sea, and every day I sat on the terrace, looked at the sea and saw that island, and I said to myself, one day I will go to live on that island.

So one day while I was looking for a shop, I asked a lady at the front door for information, she invited me to come in and have a tea. She was very nice and there was immediate harmony. She also told me that she had a house on the island and that she was going there the next morning with her daughter and invited me to go with them. I gladly accepted and she had a big beautiful house on the beach. She also had another smaller house towards the village and she said that if I wanted, she would gladly lend it to me. And so it was that after 6 months I left Salvador of Bahia to go and live on the opposite island, Itaparica.

On the island I was very well, I swam every day, I had new friends, I went fishing often, I walked on the beach, and I often went to walk in the pristine forest, which gave me a lot of peace and from which I always returned with a backpack full of fruit, mangoes and more.

Then one day the elderly women of the village decided to teach crochet and with pleasure I participated. Clearly the old women taught how to make table centerpieces, but I made a hat, then I began to think about how to use the point they had taught me to make more concave shapes and combining more colors, and I made a bikini, and slowly this new fun became a real business, not only I made them for myself but also received orders to make bikinis, bags and hats for others on commission, and it made me very relaxed to do them in my office, which was my hammock on the beach.

In the meantime, with the remains of fabric, I began to make collages with everything I found around, bark, cardboard, various materials, and I used all types of fabrics as a color, the scissors was my brush. This in the photo above is an example of the works I was doing, for this it inspired me the story told me by a  Chinese Tai chi teacher,  who asked me to teach his daughters. He had told me how the martial art of tai chi was born from the observation of the struggle between a fish and a water snake and the harmonious movements that had come about. So I took my shirt with blue shades, scissors and a cardboard support and I did this. I have made hundreds of collages that have remained in Brazil except this one, and another which is the first “work” in which, in addition to collage, I also included painting, a work I will talk about in the next article.