WHEN IN ROME: INTERVIEW WITH THE LOCAL ARTIST GIULIANO GIULIANI
Updated: Mar 29, 2018
After an afternoon spent people-watching at the Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere, me and my friend continued to wander down the cobblestoned streets looking for the Roman wonders. I spotted a hint of Art Nouveau and instantly popped in to the art gallery, where we were welcomed by the artist himself, Giuliano Giuliani. He briefly introduced the paintings: "They are the women of the world". I began to see his perspective and was willing to find out, what his story was.
Giuliano Giuliani is a self-taught acrylic and oil artist, known for his colourful female portraits. Although Giuliani's daytime is occupied by the corporate job, he doesn't lack inspiration and remains a prolific artist. He has exhibited across the globe – from Italy to the USA, from Switzerland to New Zealand... The list goes on.
Can you tell me more about your favourite painting?
"Agadir", a Moroccan woman looks at the viewer leaning against a wall, the blue sea in the background, her look is vaguely melancholic and sweet, with an intense, nostalgic expression. I love this artwork, which I have brought to many exhibitions... Without a particular reason, there are some works which I am particularly fond of. "Agadir" and "Al Cafè del Mar" are among these.
In conversation with the artist Giuliano Giuliani at the art gallery in Trastevere, Rome. "For some reason I'm inclined to paint sad eyes", says the artist, whilst pointing at his favourite artwork, called "Agadir".
You said you like to paint women in solitude with sad eyes? Why? Tell me more about your creative choices.
The theme of a woman sitting at a table in a bar has always fascinated me. A lost look towards an undefined and distant goal, a sad and full of nostalgia for the moments (happily) lived. My work "Al Cafè del Mar" well represents this concept, a work that combines the two themes of coffee and art.
What materials do you use?
They are all mixed oil-acrylic techniques, also it is not uncommon to use paints and sand.
"Al Cafè del Mar" (2014)
Tell me more about the collection of the women of the world.
In my last solo exhibition, I wanted, as I often do in my exhibitions, to make a tribute to the women. The female figure is represented in all its splendour. European women, oriental, with an exotic charm and in different contexts. These are works created in the last two years or so, the style oscillates between Picasso's Cubism and the major currents of the early twentieth century.
Why did you choose to paint women of the world?
Since I was a child, I've always drawn women. I do not think there is a specific reason, I think it is a question of an attitude. Over time this attitude to the representation of women has in some way "specialised", representing a woman in her ethnicity, race, belonging. That you can see in my current exhibition!
Are they real women or fictional?
They are women who live in my fantasy, but that could absolutely exist in reality!
"Venezuela" (2017) "Special Star" (2016) "Miss India" (2017)
So many different cultures, so many different women. Which country has the most admirable female muses? Why?
I am fascinated by South America and Asia in particular. Many of my representations recall women of Tahiti and the atmospheres portrayed at the time by Gauguin. Perhaps it is an imaginary escape into an ideal world, away from the stress and neurosis of modern life. A return to nature, to peace, to the primordial values of our existence.
What sort of a woman inspires you?
A dark-haired, Latin woman with a strong personality. But at the same time sweet and full of pride. Beautiful but not fat, imposing and proud.
What artists are your inspiration and how have they influenced your art? What have you learnt from each of them?
I am fascinated by the pictorial currents of the early twentieth century, with special reference to the production of Gustav Klimt, Picasso and Matisse. I spend hours and hours studying details of their most famous paintings... In Klimt's women I find very strong suggestions, as well as Picasso's Divisionism / Cubism. In the use of pure colour, typical of the "Fauves" and of Matisse, there are some elements that have become a constant of my painting over time.
"The Actress in the Living Room" (2012)
When did you start painting?
I started drawing as a child, began to paint with oil and acrylic later, when I turned 20 years. My fear was to be unable to master the colour and the brush, an unreasonable fear of painting, I thought art as a profession was available to a selected few. Fear then vanished over time, today painting is more than a passion for me, it’s a real reason for living.
Why did you choose to be a full-time lawyer instead of a full-time artist?
I am a lawyer, and I currently work as an employee for a large company. I try to combine my work with my passion for art, and I try to do both, to do my best.
Do you make a living out of your art and does that motivate you?
It is indeed very difficult to earn enough as an artist. It is the dream of many, but a general crisis mainly affects this sector and the sale of a painting is an event that is generally quite occasional and exceptional.
Often those who have the possibility of buying do not invest in the unknown emerging talents. Although they are talented, collectors prefer to spend their money in historicised names as an investment.
Even the mere fact of displaying them in galleries forces the artist to absorb the financial cost, which alone is a non-indifferent obstacle. In this sense, having a job that supports artistic activity is a good way to face expenses and plan exhibitions over time.
Are you planning to become a full-time artist?
Not for now, I have currently found a good balance between my "official" work and my artistic activity.
Have you ever had a creative day job?
I worked for a short time in the fashion world, as a creative one. I designed fantasies for foulards and ties. Short but fun, stimulating experience.
"Indonesiana" (2015) "Mediterraneo" (2014)
Some members of the art world or even general public mistakenly emphasise the qualitative difference between being a professional full-time artist and being an amateur, who divides his time between different activities. How do you respond to such criticism?
I think this reasoning is the result of a widespread and common prejudice, according to which if you are an artist in life you have to create only art and nothing else.
Personally I have a much more practical and flexible vision of human existence, it is well-known that there are many people with strong artistic inclinations among doctors, lawyers and other professionals who create (per vivere!) absolutely heterogeneous works.
On a more general level, I believe that all of us are actually potential artists, and the difference lies only in the fact that some are more aware of it, and therefore make the decision to present their artistic side to the world.
"Chinatown Girl" (2015) "Buongiorno Roma" (2016)
Does the fact that you have a corporate job as a lawyer discourage art buyers?
Whoever buys my art, often or almost always does it because that painting has excited him, or has evoked something profound, has touched his soul.
Have you ever had a moment when you questioned your career in both corporate and art worlds? What decision did you make?
Yes, there are often times when enthusiasm in art is lost. There are periods when there are no sales or commissioned work, and this can discourage. But it lasts a little, fortunately, and creative enthusiasm has the upper hand over these moments of discouragement.
The artist Giuliano Giuliani at the art gallery in Trastevere, Rome.
What is art to you?
A mission. My only, immense reason for life. A great consolation!
What are the future plans for your art?
Next exhibition in April in Tuscany, at the same time I'm creating the artworks for the next solo show, which will be held in Milan next autumn.
What would you like to be remembered for?
My joy of living and... My paintings!
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