Arts Editor: Christopher George
For our third and final interview with artists exhibiting at this year’s Talented Art Fair (1-3 March at the Old Truman Brewery), we caught up with Italian painter Irene Raspollini who tells us about her work and her love of kitsch.
In just a few words, who are you and what do you do?
I'm Irene Raspollini. I am an Italian painter. I live in a small village called Scalvaia, near Siena in the beautiful Tuscan hills. I love art, culture, nature, food and good wine.
What is your background?
I'm a self taught artist. While I have been drawing and painting since I was a kid, I only became a full time artist a few years ago. I began to sell my work online in 2015 and I have since exhibited in 8 countries, including China and the USA. Last year I was invited to Mexico for my first solo show abroad and was one of the finalists of International Artists Grand Prize at ART Revolution Taipei, in Taiwan.
How would you describe your work?
If I had to choose one single word to describe my work, it would be “narrative”. I developed a personal style of narrative portraiture, with which I always try to suggest stories and concepts behind my characters. My rosy-cheeked people are often surrounded by colours and surreal situations, and bright colours are always present in what I do.
Talk us through your creative process.
I tend to organise my work in projects, so the first thing I do is think about a concept to develop in a consistent series of paintings. Once the theme is settled, I start on my works with acrylic paint on canvas as long as there is something to say about the chosen concept, and as long as the inspiration flows. The inspiration for my characters comes from vintage ephemeras and family photos, as well as old films and videoclips.
Who and what are your biggest influences?
I have been highly influenced by European medieval art since I went to Siena as a child. I also owe much of my inspiration to all the great self taught artists like Frida Kahlo, and also to art brut artists, such as Antonio Ligabue, Aloïse Corbaz, Wolfli and Seraphine de Senlis. I love folk art and anything “kitsch”, because it's never boring and brings a playful dimension to everything. Kitsch is where you can find saints and glitters in the same place.
Who would you say are your favourite contemporary artists?
I absolutely adore Hockney and Botero. It's impressive how these octogenarian artists are still making such fresh and wonderful work at their age, after an entire life of creativity. I love Olafur Eliasson and Ai Wei Wei installations, because they make me feel a strong connection with their art: I love the concepts behind their works. I'm also very interested in contemporary African art, in particular the work of Congolese painter Jean-Paul Nsimba Mika and Senegalese photographer Omar Viktor Diop: it's pretty clear that the next big things in art will come from this amazing continent.
What makes you get up and create art?
Well, it's my job! Apart from that, I deeply love what I do and art comes natural to me. I love every aspect of my artist life, from painting and creating, to the marketing and public relations part. I like to manage my website and promote my works on social networks, engage with my followers and receive feedback from them. I also like the challenge of finding new venues and galleries for my works, and exchange opinions with people of the art world, at any level. I'm definitely doing what I love most, so I stay deeply focused on it with no efforts at all.
What will you be showing at Talented Art Fair?
I will show some of my most recent works, mostly from my Chroma Key Project. This series of paintings is inspired by chroma key composing, a post production technique which allows the layering of two images or video streams together using a colour hue. One of the most used colours for this technique is the so called Chroma green: green areas in the foreground image are made transparent in post production so that the image or video in the background is visible through them. This technique is widely used in TV and cinema, but for me the best (and most kitsch) things ever made with it were the Italo disco video clips from the 1980s. So the series is a sort of tribute to that period.
TALENTED ART FAIR runs from 1-3 March at Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, London E1
Entry is free on Saturday and Sunday (12-6.30pm)
Private View on Friday (6-9pm) is ticketed
For more information and tickets, visit: https://www.talentedartfair.com/
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