There is something so viscerally rich and energetic about the way Dario Molinaro applies paint that I sometimes think I can see the figures in them move or change. I love the thickness and rich tones, sometimes complemented with a lightness of drawing materials like marker to make the painted aspects ever more prominent. Check out this great interview, and find more at his website afterward!
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Hi Dario! First, tell me about yourself! What first interested you in making art? When did you discover painting, or were you always attracted to it?
I grew up between the years '80 and '90 feeding myself cartoons, comic books, and fairy tales. All this has generated in me a strong inclination to research images and stories, which is a curiosity that is still very strong in me. Like all children, I drew what I saw on TV or in magazines, and from there I have not stopped, arriving today (and growing) to develop new interests and new ideas to produce drawings and paintings.
Your drawings and paintings take everyday scenes and turn them into cartoonish figures. Can you tell me more about that?
Yes, I draw inspiration from many aspects of daily life -- my life and others. It is a complex process that begins with a search of images and photos taken by me or found on the web, then reshuffled and seasoned with various quotes ranging from literature to cinema. Subsequently I rework all of this on paper or canvas in various ways as needed.
I particularly enjoy how thickly and energetically the paint is applied to your canvases. What is your process like? How do you get started on a piece, or how long does it usually take you?
I have a very instinctive attitude to color. Before starting a painting it is all a premeditated study done of drawings. Once I have framed the composition, I try to be as free as possible; I like the material, the material color, and I like to mold it and shape it. I do not know exactly how much time I spend on a painting; when the work responds, it's completed.
What is your studio space like? How much time do you usually spend there?
I have a home/studio, very nice and messed up. Here I spend most of my time studying, reading, doing research, and working.
Where do the ideas for your compositions come from? Do you find inspiration from photographs or real life?
I have a sketchbook into which I put precisely everything that interests me, like the images of course. But it also notes stories, which then become my stories. I take inspiration from what surrounds me, from my private life, and from life in general. Using the photograph to stop a moment lived can evidently arouse in me a feeling. This mix of research allows me then to intervene with painting or with the drawing, and then build the final work's compositional structure.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you've received?
Work quietly and with the utmost concentration, thinking only of your goals. I use it as a mantra.
Is there a teacher or a mentor who has been significant in the development of your practice?
My teachers are also fellow adventurers, friends, artists with their advice, curators, gallery owners that help you grow and understand what to do and what not to do. I was always fascinated by the professionalism of Enzo Cucchi, although I do not know him personally, but I read his book and it taught me so much.
What do you find most difficult or challenging about pursuing art (creatively, professionally, etc.)?
I do not honestly know, this is a difficult question. I believe that the most important thing is to work, and the work has to answer everything.
What is the most rewarding aspect?
Starting from a canvas or a blank sheet of paper and seeing the end result--the result of all the previous research.
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or projects you're currently developing?
I am in the group exhibition of the artists selected for the "Francesco Fabbri Prize for Contemporary Arts" curated by Carlo Sala. In December, I have a solo show in Maastricht at Lenssen Gallery, and a collective project curated by Eva Comuzzi and Orietta Masin at various locations in Friuli (Italy).
Find more at cargocollective.com/dariomolinaro!
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