First of all: Happy New Year! … may 2021 bring good news and happier and less terrifying moments than those caused by the Covid-19 world crisis in 2020!
We open the new year with an interview with the young Milanese artist Gianluca Somaschi, a long-standing friend (almost a decade), and his works with an expressionistic and captivating artistic language developed during his academic years at Brera and during his professional life in film, theatre and television. His canvases are a theatrical backdrop, rich in matter, for urban landscapes and faces from everyday life: reality is transfigured and the energy of the painter’s personality reaches the public without inhibition. Gianluca Somaschi creates an art imbued with sincerity, an art full of conflict between peace and restlessness, an extremely contemporary art that investigates today’s civilisation in all its facets with ironic irreverence. By joining the project “Contemporary Italian Art in Netherlands”, the artist wants to export his artistic vision and poetics outside his circle of Italian collectors, in order to become the spokesman of Milanese cultural anthropology abroad.
But let’s finally get to the heart of the interview:
I had the pleasure of meeting you many years ago now and at that time you were creating large informal and abstract canvases. Although you have not definitively abandoned the abstract, you are now more oriented towards the figurative. How, when and why did you decide to change direction towards an expressionistic figurative style?
Large canvases have never stopped being inside me. In the last period, I have returned to the abstract path on large canvases 150×150 and more. The direction I had taken towards figurative/civic, was a desire for change dictated by the fact that I had small canvases (100×80, 50×70) that would not give me the opportunity to throw colour as I wanted to, without limits, as I can only achieve on large surfaces. But I continue to do both abstract and figurative according to my moods.
Looking at your works one gets the feeling of a narrative path, do you agree? Do you think that by combining all your urban-themed canvases you can create a story-board of a contemporary Sin City?
In fact, you can trace a narrative path, in the sense that the first “city” works were more like patches of colour that recalled streets and buildings, and painting after painting, the streets and buildings took on more and more shape and definition, almost maniacal, in the search for detail and detail.
What is your inspiration for both abstract and figurative works? And how do you go about your creative process?
I draw inspiration from everything around me and the moment I start painting, I am overwhelmed by events. The moment of creativity is like the moment of sex. Passion, sweat, smell, desire, all improvised and enjoyed, without rules, inspired by the quick strokes, the colour, the drips of paint until completion, like an overwhelming orgasm.
“Lay yourself bare”: what do you think about when you are in front of the blank canvas?
Sometimes I know exactly what I want to do, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes the blank canvas challenges me. Sometimes everything comes to me with great speed, determination and naturalness. Sometimes I hate the end result but I take advantage of it to reuse that botched canvas as the basis for a new beginning. I paint like I have sex. I let it wash over me and I don’t stop until I’m exhausted.
What do you foresee for the near future? After 2020, such a disastrous year, how does Gianluca Somaschi, the artist, view art and the art circuit?
2020 was an opportunity for new creativity. I was able to isolate myself more and think more… what emerged was the anger and awareness of colour on canvas, to restore harmony to spaces. In 2021 I will take my passion on the road, to make it known and to let people know who I am…
My sincere thanks go to Gianluca Somaschi for his collaboration and for the time he dedicated to us. To see the works exhibited here in Holland, I invite you to read the page dedicated to the Milanese artist: Gianluca Somaschi – Italian art by ELisa Manzoni (criticoarte.org)