I recently interviewed artist Lorenzo Castello. Mr. Castello is best known for his strong charcoal drawings (some art critics refer to them as 'charcoal paintings') and his portraiture done in oil (he has painted for royalty.). These works are created with a great knowledge of expressionism and traditional methods of artistic practice.
Mr. Castello has strong technical ability and utilizes his cultural ties with the traditional Italian renaissance. He creates images that capture emotion and space, forms and shapes, lights and shadows. In a sense, he conveys a world of magical realism through his drawings and paintings.
Q. When did you first discover that art would be an important part of your adult life?
A. "I, like many other artist, had the will to draw and paint since I was a child and I had the presumption to think that I could do the same works the greatest masters did. Now I know I was wrong. In order to live I had to choose a different career rather than art and painting was relegated to a role of my hobby foe a long time.
I am painting now since 1992 regularly full time professionally and I discovered that I may consider myself a painter when I realized that what I do and think all the time is art.
If I feel all the time the need to paint well then I am a painter."
Q. How has creating art shaped you professionally and personally?
A. "Well I feel different from most of my other friends and ex collegues in my previous employement (banker). I feel blessed to have that ability,but I am very conscious that I am not any better than others for that and that I have still a lot of things to learn both from art and from life."
Q. How has society influenced your art? Are there any social implications in your art?
A. "Well, yes. When I was employed as a banker I had to stay quiet about my art.
Employers from financial sectors are always suspicious about artist, you know those peaple with head in the clouds, with strange friends, ...drinks..., drugs..., unreliables...
At the beginning my art was oriented more towards subjects that could please the majority of the well-to-do lots. I did many landscapes, flowers, religious subjects, and portraits.
I won a commission for an altarpiece in Genova Italy in 1992 and later a portrait to Sir Eddy George, Governor of The Bank of England. In a way my boss helped me to be accepted as an artist and banker."
Q. What are your artistic influences? Has anyone inspired you?
A. "Caravaggio, Titian, Michelangelo, the french impressionists, Klimt and Schiele."
Q. How long have you been a working artist?
A. "Since 1992 although initially only part time."
Q. On average, how long does it take you create one piece?
A. "Average for a 20"by20" oil... one week."
Q. Do you have any 'studio rituals'? As in, do you listen to certain types of music while working? What helps to get you in the mood for working?
A. "I always listen to music, classic music or country music mostly.
I have this urge to paint all the time. I do not need extra help to get in the mood."
Q. If you could pinpoint the characteristics of people who collect your art, what would they be?
A. "Art lovers. My works are never very cheap to buy. They are not expensive either but you need to love my works to part willingly from your money.
In this way I am always sure that my works are well accepted."
Q. Discuss one of your pieces. What were you thinking when you created it?
A. "Well, let us take one of my girls (sample above). One of the many... does not matter which one. They are almost always staring at you in the eyes.
Most are naked and are usually not in a provoking posture.
You look at them in the eyes and your mind is captured.
They are naked but that does not matter, you enter their mind. Your thoughts are travelling in their thoughts."
Q. What is your artistic process?
A. "First a blank canvas, then a brush and a very liquid oil paint, a life model or less often a vivid memory and here we go."
Q. Why did you choose the medium(s) that you use?
A. "I tried all the others before oil but I prefer oil because I do better works with it than with the others."
Q. Where can we see more of your art?
A. "National Gallery of Dublin, Saint Mark Church in Genoa, National Museum of Cairo, Italian Chamber of Commerce London. WWW.yessy.com/nainnarart, www.lorenzocastello.com"
Q. Are you represented by a gallery? Do you have any upcoming exhibits?
A. "Il Sorpasso Art Gallery, 16012 Busalla (Genova) http://www.ilsorpasso.org/
Arte Fiera di Genova 22 February 2007, Paddington Centre, London, 29 March 2007."
Q. What galleries have you exhibited in?
A. "Portrait National Gallery of London, Porte Ouverte Sexieme Paris, Galleria San Donato Genova, Arte Padova Padova."
Q. What trends do you see in the 'art world'?
A. "Well, it is too easy to fake good paintings with the modern help that is available.
It seem to me that the saing Big is beautiful could be adopted for art as BIG IS ART.
If you do a good work of small proportion nobody will care of it but if you enlange the same work at gigantic level well that will be art. I think this is sad."
Q. Any tips for emerging artists?
A. "Do your work and carry on. You will become a good artist but nobody will notice you.
Do something outrageous and you will get the headlines and ... if you are good, the fame."
Q. In one sentence... why do you create art?
A. "For my pleasure."
Q. Can we find your art on MYARTSPACE.COM?
A. "Yes (I am trying just now to set up my gallery page)"
Q. What can you tell our readers about the art scene in your area?
A. "Italy is so picturesque that there is no need to describe it.
Suffolk is less wild and exciting but still is fascinating."
Q. Does religion, faith, or the lack thereof play a part in your art?
A. "I think so. I am a free spirit. I do not believe because I have to. I think reason is much better than faith."
Q. Does your cultural background play a part in your work?
Q. Is there anything else you would like to say about your art or the 'art world'?
A. "The 'art world' has been used and abused.
If you believe everything is art you are negating art.
I was so respectful of the word "art" that even now I feel unconfortable when I have to call myself an artist."
I hope that you have enjoyed my interview with Lorenzo Castello. Feel free to critique or discuss his work.
Take care, Stay true,