Why do you make art?
I’m trying to express myself without words by putting ideas onto canvas and letting people interpret it.
I like painting to express myself. I like to talk and I talk a lot, but sometimes there are things that I don’t want to say because I am shy or because I can hurt someone’s feelings. That is the reason I started painting, to say something without words and just put it on a canvas. If you get what I am saying then great, if not then you can interpret it in your own way.
I have travelled a lot around the world and I have found that paintings are more appreciated in the states than in Europe. I have this feeling that people here in London look at paintings as secondary to ideas and they want your art to be more engaged with the community.
You like to use text in your work. Why is this?
I used to be primarily a photographer until I went to art school where I studied graphic design and art direction. My professor of modern art showed me a movie of Basquiat and I totally fell in love with him, his lifestyle, and what he was saying. From there, I started searching for artists that influence me like Rauschenberg. I took bits of inspiration and ideas from each artist to feed what I was doing as I started to paint.
My technique has changed a lot since then, at the start it was very close to Basquiat and in that kind of current, but now it is more personal. They used to be more expressive and you wouldn’t understand the figures inside. Now you can actually see these figures in, and I still put words in the paintings to offer a little suggestion to the audience.
Most of my paintings are inspired from music, I always paint with music, and sometimes it becomes like a mantra, so if I start painting something with a track I will put that track on a loop until I have finished that painting. I have to finish the painting in that moment, so if it takes an hour or eighteen hours sometimes, then I will paint without stopping. I cannot start and stop with painting because I lose my energy. So here Christ came out on the painting but it wasn’t inspired by Christ, it came from a track by one of my favourite DJs Christ air. So this was the result of my feeling from the track.
So where did you study?
I studied engineering and architecture in Rome, then I studied in Prato, near Florence, then Milan for a graphics and art direction course. Plus, I was lucky enough to travel a lot because of my family I was spending a lot of time in the States so I managed to see a lot of art. Since I was eight I went there every year for three to six months. I have never exhibited there though; I tried to do an exhibition in Malibu, but there was too much paper work.
Are you a full time artist now?
I work in fashion and graphic design, but I consider myself a full time artist, I have times in my life where I am very productive and paint a lot, then other times where I don’t, but I am always a full time artist, because the ideas and emotional feelings I get from occurrences in my life all feed the energy which makes me paint. For example, I didn’t paint for seven months, but then after that I did thirty works.
So it comes in phases?
Yes, and that is why my technique and way of painting changes, I stop from time to time and when I start again some things will have shifted. I wish to be a full time artist, but as you know we need to make money.
Where would you like to take your art?
It sounds crazy, but I hope to be in the art books, that would be a dream, to leave something to a future generation. Maybe people could study me, I don’t know if I am interesting enough to be studied! Anyway, my realistic dream right now is to do a solo exhibition, I have some projects in mind.
I also work a lot with furniture and other things, so I am preparing a future shows which will involve all of my skills including painting, furniture design, sculpture, etc. That is my aim right now, to find a space big enough to create this exhibition; it will take a lot of time.
If you could give any advice to a young artist what would you say?
What I have done is just express myself without caring about what people say. A lot of people have said ‘oh your art is not good, you should change,’ Just do what you want to do; for me art is immediate and is something that has to capture you in that moment, so create stuff that is gripping for you and maybe it will be for others too.
If you think you have to please others, well it is not like that; a lot of artists make money after they pass away like Modigliani. They said he was wasn’t good enough, but now everyone wants him. It is always like that, sometimes you are lucky and sometimes you are not, but at least you are doing what you want to do. That is my advice.
Fabrizio Acquista will be exhibiting some of his latest paintings in our Spring Collection at the Menier Gallery in London Bridge, this February 28th - 4th March.