INTERVIEW WITH MARCELLO CASTELLANI
Marcello Castellani is an artist who uses different techniques in his works. His search for a constantly growing evolutionary path denotes a strong desire not to remain tied to a single formula.
From his beginnings with graphic design there have been years of research and evolution that are still going through the protagonist faces of his portraits in which the gazes are the real protagonists, able to attract the viewer, amaze him and make him experience an emotion every time .
All images © courtesy of Marcello Castellani
In your works you use different techniques. How do you proceed in the elaboration of your works?
I usually start by developing a very fast digital sketch that helps me understand the shape and composition of my model on the canvas. After this I prepare the surface where I want to work, either wood or canvas and start working on it, I usually start my paintings from charcoal drawing and then start adding paint with thin veils of paint. During all this process the work takes on a personality of its own and a conversation begins between the painting and myself. At this point I start to get excited about the act of painting, and to generate a dialogue with my work through the process.
Why did you choose to express yourself through portraits? How do you choose the subjects to portray?
It is a question still unanswered, because it changes over the years, but I find in portraits offer a lot of possibilities .Think about this: everything what we feel and don’t feel is expressed through our face and although there it is and we see it daily we sometimes are not able to see who we really are, so it is an infinite exploration! I consider some of my paintings as "self-portraits" even if I am not reflected in them directly, it still remains the complexity of what I am feeling. The people in my paintings are chosen, most of the time, because of their expression. I generally look for deep looks and faces that surrender the viewer in an atmosphere of uncertainty and satisfaction.
The faces you represent escape from a contextualization and live in the space almost floating. What do you want to express with this representation?
When I started my career as a painter, I was so obsessed with portraiture that everything else for me was just empty space, so from the beginning I made the decision to only focus on the emotion of the portrait and not to show the viewer other objects or themes that would distract them from the conversation with my work. But now I am at a point where I think this is going to evolve and I will start to include some contexts in my paintings... we will see is something that is in process.
Compared to your first works, the figures are evolving in a different way, how is your way of representing and expressing changing?
To answer this I must say that my beginnings in painting started from graphic design.
I learned to paint through a digital tablet that allowed me ,in my free time as a graphic designer in advertising agencies, to make my first works. That’s why in my early works you find pieces much more influenced through the advertising image and decorative art. Although some years have passed I must say that I am still in this process, in this transition, I am in search of a more personal painting. I am not a painter who loves to be left alone with a formula, I understand that I must face the change and I know that my painting will go through many more over the years, the changes and transitions are painful and confusing, but they bring wisdom in the background, I am in that search.
What drives you to create what inspires you? there is a time when you feel more creative?
There are many things that motivate me at the time of starting a new painting.
For example painting very big portraits is something that I love. Facing a piece of canvas that is bigger than me is something that excites me.
Today I am finding inspiration in much more personal images. It also inspires me to go for a walk and visit galleries in Berlin, discovering new forms of expression and artists. As about the time to feel creative, I think it is a question with many variables, it depends on the day and the context in which my mind is, but generally the night is my best time to create for me.
Which artists have influenced you the most and which of the present do you feel you are
most interested in?
When I started painting my strongest influences were Alberto Giacometti and Francis bacon. Now I have many contemporary painters who simply drive me crazy, like: Cecily brown, Jennifer Packer, Nicola Samori, Jenny Saville, Aryz, Gerard Richter, Ruprecht Von Kauffman
What are your plans for the future?
It’s complicated , there were some exhibitions scheduled for this year but as you know this pandemic has unfortunately finished many projects, for now we just have to wait until everything is better for everyone.