Sunday, February 28, 2010


The ability to draw the human forms opens up a world of technical, aesthetic and metaphorical possibilities for the artist. Whether you seek a classical finesse or something more raw and immediate, the representation of the body is one of the most inherently fascinating and timeless subjects of art.

Practice by copying in pencil the following works. They belong to Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Del Sarto, Rafael, Durer, Barocci, Amusco.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I found out about sculptor Gaudier-Brzeska through a movie about his life - Savage Messiah. I am fascinated with the work this passionated sculptor produced in the few years he had before his life was cut short by war.

Monday, February 15, 2010


My dear friend Amalia Ranisau lives and works in Adelaide, Australia. She paints still lives and abstract. Here is an old image which brings a lot of nostalgia, from our very first exhibition together.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I always feel so much more comfortable communicating with children than with grown-ups. Everything is far more simple and makes so much more sense – to me at least. In the world of a child anything is possible, there are no limits for imagination, and magic and miracles are a natural part of life. Communicating with adults, on the other hand, sometimes seems to be so limited and incredibly complicated. And usually boring.
Unfortunately it’s the grown-ups that rule the world and make the laws and all kids have to go through their demolition-program called education. Once they come out on the other side they are usually broken, and their magic is gone.

And then they can be citizens, soldiers, clerks, psychiatrists, politicians, bankers, undercover agents, prostitutes or other interesting things like that.
Gottfried Helnwein
in an interview with Yuichi Konno for Yaso, Japan

This is Helnwein palette, there are quite a few Winsor and Newton Artist oil paints. The others must be Old Holland Classic, the oil paints considered by many to be one of the best in the world. The artist also has on his table a Liquin Original medium from Winsor and Newton, a glazing medium for oil. This medium helps with working in fine detailed layers, and also reduces the drying time to around 24 hours, depending on the humidity level in the studio. I used Liquin Original for some years in Australia, and with the help of the dry Australian weather, I was able to work in oil day after day, without interruptions. In order to reduce the toxicity I gave it up though and replaced it with linseed oil and poppy seeds oil. This changed the way I worked, as with a glazing medium you work in layers, while now I work more alla prima, with more color and more freedom. As you can see, Helnwein uses rubber gloves to work safely and sometimes he uses his fingers with gloves on, to smudge the paint.
Amazing, while watching the artist working in the The Child Dreams video, I had the impression that one of the arm of the girl moved. The child looks so alive that she seems waiting patiently while he paints her dress.
Gottfried Helnwein's art explains itself for me, violence is very present in our lives, and war and human brutality are as much the reality of this century as they were centuries ago. The artist is right, we have no memory. We tend to forget so easily about events that happen even in the present times. Helnwein paintings are here to remind us to be human, because we need to be reminded again and again. The sad truth is that we have annihilated entire populations and communities since we appeared in this world.

"...When I look at a work of Art I ask myself: does it challenge me, does it touch, move or inspire me? Do I learn something from it, does it startle or amaze me - do I get excited, upset?That is the test any artwork has to pass: can it create an emotional impact on a human being even when he has no education or any information about art? I’ve always had a problem with art that you can only understand if you have a degree in art history, and I have a problem with theories in general. Most of them are bullshit anyway. Most critics and theorists have little respect for artists, and I think the importance of theory in art is totally overrated. Real art is self-evident. Real art is intense, challenging, enchanting, exciting and unsettling; it has a quality and magic that you cannot explain. Like the Blues, a poem of Rimbaud or Rembrandt's late self-portraits. Art is not logic, and if you really want to experience it, your mind and rational thinking will be of little help. Art is something spiritual that you can only experience with your senses, your heart, your soul. Think of Bob Dylan, Hendrix, Mozart, Howling Wolf, Goya, Bukowski or Robert Crumb - do you need to know the theories that some busybodies might attach to their art in order to experience it?Marcel Duchamp said: "The work of art is always based on the two poles of the onlooker and the maker, and the spark that comes from the bipolar action gives birth to something - like electricity."These two poles is all you need. ... " Gottfried Helnwein

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


For more images see
I discovered Italian illustrator and painter Lorenzo Mattotti (born 1954) through Wong Kar Wai, my favourite Hong Kong director (In the Mood for Love, 2046). Mattotti realized the paintings for the trilogy "Eros" of Wong Kar Way, Soderbergh and Antonioni. I envy Mattotti for the way he can express love through such simple forms and gestures.

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