When did you first realize you were an artist?
I first realized I was an artist when I won an art competition in high school and was chosen the best artist of the school at age 14.
Could you tell us about your work?
Although I was always attracted to Impressionism I started painting the traditional style following the ways of the old masters. I later broke away from the traditional style to pursue Impressionism.
At first, I found it quite challenging to tackle the Impressionist techniques. With Impressionist paintings you want your paintings to be colorful, vibrant and full of texture.
I want my paintings to elate the viewer. I choose subjects that are pleasant as well as interesting. I find great beauty in European subjects and architecture. France and Italy have produced some of the most wonderful artists in the world. They are also my favorite countries. I have been painting pictures of Rome in watercolor since I was a teenager.
I try to make my paintings interesting to look at from a distance as well as up close, and the composition must be good. In portraiture, it must be a good painting, not just a good likeness. It often takes me longer to paint the backdrop for a portrait than the portrait itself.
What artists have influenced your work?
Monet and Renoir influence my work a great deal. When I saw Monet’s paintings the first time I was mesmerized. His paintings were so incredibly beautiful. No one can paint landscapes like Monet.
I like Renoir’s feathery style and the way he handles figures. There is romance in his style. When it comes to portraiture and figure painting Renoir is my favorite.
Van Gogh and Bonnard also influence my work. I admire Van Gogh for his sense of color and texture, and Bonnard for his dynamic style.
What is your creative inspiration?
Painting for me is a process of learning and discovery. Every time I paint I become a student, and I learn more about my own skill and limitation. Ironically, the more I paint the more I find that there is more limitation than skill. I am seldom satisfied with my finished work. My creative inspiration often comes from my desire to improve the level of proficiency in my painting skill, technique and speed.
I collect digital pictures of paintings from the masters, thousands of them. Every time I look at these pictures I’m inspired. Can I ever paint a garden as beautiful as Monet, a portrait as charming as Renoir, or texture as exciting as Van Gogh? The only way to find out is to paint.
“I love paintings that make me want to wander around inside them.” – Renoir
What other interests do you have besides creating art?
I enjoy international travels and meeting people of different cultures. I like movies, music and books. I listen to music when I paint. My iPod and surround sound system are my companions.
What advice would you give to a new artist?
Quality before quantity.
Could you give some advice about the business side of being an artist?
Most artists prefer to spend their time creating art than attending to the business of selling art. We need more avenues to show art. Online sites such as artevaggio.com could potentially be a great marketing opportunity for artists. The key is to make this website popular with the public as well as with search engines. Networking is also important. We all need more visibility.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
Still happy painting!
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