Interview With Guido Salimbeni
Illusion of movement on canvas: An Interview with Italian artist Guido Salimbeni
In this weeks artist interview we learn more about Guido's inspiration and creative process.
All artists have a distinct method, and a signature look and feel that makes their work standout. For Italian painter Guido Salimbeni, it is his ability to create the illusion of movement on canvas.
He does this by taking a layered approach to painting, where he allows his oils to dry fully before adding the next phase. He finishes his work off with 3D modeling created with the use of 3D print technology.
SG: WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION FROM? CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR IDEAS AND HOW THEY EVOLVE?
GS: I get my inspiration from a combination of books and personal experience; from observing people and nature. I work in a very methodical way. I begin with an idea and then I start to explore possible ways for communicating and visually rendering that idea. I search and study many different reference resources, such as photos, videos and live subjects. I often elaborate on these first ideas with pencil sketches, 3D previsualization and small color experiments to assess which of my several attempts might be the best solution. Once I decide the way to go, in broad terms, I then select and prepare the materials. I usually paint in oil and most of the time on canvas. I like working with very fine textured canvas. My palette is often very limited. I usually complete the painting in multiple sessions, leaving time between sessions for the paint to dry. Each painting session is still painted "alla prima". Towards the end, I use a completely new technique that involve 3D printing technology.
SG: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK?
GS: I think that at some level, the desire of every artist is for his or her work to alone describe the scope that led him to create it.
I would like to think that there is a sense of vibrating quietness in my painting. I always search for a subject that has a psychological meaning around ambiguity, mystery and complexity. I try to use the subject, the composition and the brush strokes in a way to create tension in the painting. I like the idea of suspension of a subject, or potential motion, held in place by visual forces that work in opposite directions. I try to introduce this concept in my paintings; sometimes there is the perception of weight that pushes down against a rigid and centered composition that holds it in place, sometimes there is a simple perspective interrupted by unexpected and illogical overlapping elements, sometimes there is the lightness of the subject against the resolute brush strokes.
SG: WHAT ART MOVEMENTS DO YOU IDENTIFY YOUR PRACTICE WITH, AND ARE THERE ANY TEXTS YOU HAVE READ THAT HAVE BEEN INSPIRATIONAL TO YOUR PRACTICE?
GS: I find inspiration from many past and present art movements. At the same time, I try to express myself using my own individual and unique style. I have spent a lot of time studying painting techniques, including techniques of Leonardo Da Vinci (my first DVD produced in collaboration with De Agostini Editore), the Venetian technique, the French school, the work of Rembrandt and Van Gogh (my second DVD for the learning series produced in collaboration with De Agostini Editore). I would like to think that I incorporate in my painting everything I have learnt from these masters and at the same time paint in my own way.
In terms of other influences, while studying the storyboarding techniques, I came across the work of Milton H. Erickson. I read many of his written notes about cases of hypnotic techniques. Another book that has been very inspirational for my practice is “Art and Visual Perception: a psychology of the creative eye”, written by Rudolf Arnheim. I have created my own short checklist that combines the notes of these two authors, and I often use this checklist to judge my preliminary sketches.
SG: WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
GS: I am working on a new series of paintings dedicated to Japanese teapots. The idea is to paint the teapot as a darker element overlapping a lighter background. I will add a 3D printed element on the canvas aiming to introduce an optical illusion to the perception of depth, space, value contrast and color vibration.
SG: IS THERE A SPECIFIC THEME OR CONCEPT YOU KEEP IN ALL OF YOUR WORK OR DOES IT CHANGE WITH EACH SERIES?
GS: Visual dynamism: a sense of tension and suspension, ambiguity and mystery. The concept is to explore the best way to achieve a vibrating perception of a pulse in space or emotion, often with a subject and composition that has elements of ambiguity, mystery or complexity. I always introduce 3d printed pieces on top of the canvas, to try to achieve and enhance the visual tension. These subtle 3d printed elements introduce optical illusions in terms of unclear, overlapping objects, distortion of depth and wider range of lighting values.
SG: WHICH ARTISTS DO YOU ADMIRE?
GS: I am an art lover and I love every artistic genre. I am fascinated by Van Gogh. I have studied his life more than I have studied his works. I had a strong desire to understand the reasons that push him to make his artistic choices. I also like portraits even if I really do not paint many of them myself. In my opinion an amazing portrait painter is Picasso and his "Woman-flower" of 1946.
SG: ARE YOU A PART OF ANY ARTISTS GROUPS OR ORGANISATIONS THAT HAVE BEEN BENEFICIAL (TO YOUR WORK IN GENERAL OR CAREER AS AN ARTIST)?
GS: I am a solo worker when it comes time to paint but I love to spend time with other artists. I have a passion for animation and I am part of a group producing an animated cartoon movie. Animators are such skilled drawers and I learn a lot by sharing experiences with them and this is especially true of storyboard artists, who combine drawing skill with talent for telling a story and sending a visual message.
SG: IF YOU COULD OWN ONE WORK OF ART WHAT WOULD IT BE?
GS: Edvard Munch “The Fight” . My reason is purely personal. I first saw this painting in Genova with a friend of mine during a temporary exhibition. The beauty of this artwork struck me. I think it is a painting that can have a deep impact on people, particularly at emotional level; it can open new perspectives.
SG: WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR VIEWERS TO TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR WORK?
GS: I really would like my paintings to grab the viewer’s attention by alerting their visual senses. Once the painting grabs their attention in this way, I hope that the viewer feels intrigued by a sense of mystery. I would like the viewer to have a moment of relaxed but challenging contemplation; a moment of pleasant entertainment, perhaps like playing a chess game while drinking a glass of delicate red wine.