Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Conversation With Italia Ruotolo

"I'm just beginning-Howl"

I have always had a love for all things Italian, stemming from my childhood when my family and I lived in the Naples, Italy area. So it seemed only natural that I showcase artwork and artists from one of my favorite places on earth. Recently I came across Italia Ruotolo, an artist currently residing in Rome, Italy, via my favorite social media tool, Facebook. Her artwork is a gorgeous mix of elaborate design elements, vibrant colors and strong female figures. Ruotolo took time out of her schedule to speak with ArtSeen about her artwork and inspirations. 

Can you tell us a little about your artwork, artistic process, and what types of artistic materials you use?

My art process starts from preparing the painting support which is the key to the work's success. I use ancient techniques and materials that are increasingly difficult to find. For example, the preparation of the support is done using fish glue, plaster finest gilder, linseed oil, and vinegar. After the preparation I draw the outlines with a small brush and then finally start painting with the multilayer technique. The image rises up by overlapping numerous levels of painting. I use only top quality oil colours diluted with linseed oil, turpentine and Dammar varnish. I think the colours quality is fundamental for the painting success, you can be a great artist but if you don’t use the right materials the work will be penalized!

"A blue trip-tych"

What inspires you as an artist? Why do you create art?

My inspiration comes out from reality; I have an innate taste for observation along with a great curiosity. I look around and very often I find something that arouses my attention, an insignificant detail, shape, color, and then comes into play the imagination. I think I just dig to that particular detail that will set in motion my unconscious. The image is developed through sketches and drawings and is always far away from what caused it.

I am a servant of art because art is within me, when you have such a strength inside it is inevitable that at some point you need to externalize it; creativity is a very positive force, but if you do not find the way to put it out, all that energy turns against yourself. 

Communicating is a must, because you put in common your own inner world with others and this sharing of spiritual things enriches everyone even the artist himself; it is such a way to contribute to the human progress.

"Kissing Judas"
What types of themes, ideas, or concepts do you explore within in your artwork?

I have not a preferential theme, certainly I like more talk about moods than represent stories. The common thread is the female figure; however my women are just the interpreters of moods that also can be antipathetic, ranging from light to dark.

Two paintings are emblematic of this concept: "Absent Absinthe" and " Forget me!"

In the first one I set up an almost psychedelic image, a magical trip into a green liquid world where the woman watching us from the picture acts as a kind of sorceress who invites [us] into a world of pure enjoyment with no gravity law.

The other picture instead shows a woman in full conflict with herself, fighting against a fixed idea she has to defeat. This is a picture of struggle where it is not clear if the figure wants to escape the darkness or on the contrary wants to lead the viewer into the darkness along with her. 

I always like to leave a margin of ambiguity in my paintings, something vague and mysterious that provokes questions to the viewer.

"Absent Absinth"
Are there any artists that inspire you? If so who would they be and why?

Too much to mention, every day I add a new artist to my favorites, but my absolute reference in art is Leonardo da Vinci. Beyond his extraordinary ability to paint, what fascinates me mostly of him is the enormous sense of mystery he expressed by his paintings. He was able to give perfectly the sense of his life, that is, the enormous curiosity and hunger for answers. I believe that the mysterious stare of the “Gioconda”, and the solemn pyramid composure, did inspired many of my paintings.

What do you think the role of the artist is?

I think the artist is just a pipeline, that enable the people to focus on what is already inside them but they can't see! A picture hits you only when you come to empathize with it, namely when it suits your inner being. So the artist has a midwifery function, he teaches nothing only puts out what lays within us.

What do you want viewers to walk away with when they view your artwork?

I wish they walk away with a sentiment of magic and the feeling that behind the reality we live every day there is a hidden world where anything is possible.

"Forget me !"

And finally, what advice would you give to other artists?

To study, study a lot, not only all about arts techniques, but also history, literature and so on! Keep alive the curiosity always and never forget that the paintings are made by brain not by hands! The technical skill is just the body adaptation to the soul's desire to express yourself!

You can check out this video displaying Ruotolo's creative process via Canale di foxypop on Youtube.

For more information about Ruotolo and her artwork visit her website, Redbubble profile, Facebook profile and deviantArt profile for more details.

All images provided by Italia Ruotolo.


Sandra van Doorn said...

definitely a lot of magic in this work, it’s amazing. thank you for sharing i did not know Italia Ruotolo before i came here.

Lisa Graham said...

So many details and very mystical. Amazing talent.

Shawn Daniell said...

Thanks for all the comments! I really love her use of colors and line detail!

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