1 ::: Why are you an artist Alberto?
Even when I was a child, my maths teacher
used to say I was wasting my time, always
scribbling and flicking through arts catalogues,
instead of paying proper attention to
the class and studying my school text
books. This was not entirely true, but
those who did not interpret my behaviour
as a response to an uncontrollable passion
in life, dismissed it as lack of effort
and commitment on my part.
My passion eventually prompted me to decide
to become a painter, and
it is basically the reason why I am a
I know I have not answered your question
directly, but I no longer understand what
the word "artist" means today.
It seems to have become an over-used and
+2 ::: Could you tell us some more about
I can only say how I interpret my work
as a painter. Hopefully, this will help
people to understand my work better, too.
It's like when you go to the cinema
and the film has already started, so you
start watching without understanding exactly
what is going on
trying to pick
up the plot from the setting and the characters
as they appear on the screen, without
knowing whether they are the main characters,
or just walk-on parts; in fact, without
even knowing if the film has only just
started, or is coming to an end.
When you think about it, everyone enters
life when the show has already begun.
We all do our best, in the time we have
available, to try to understand the meaning
of our own particular story.
+3 ::: You seem
to be very aware of the history of painting.
Where do you see painting today?
The word painting has no meaning outside
the context of its own history.
Today we often believe that we have come
back to our origins, and the limelight
is always captured by paintings that do
not openly admit to having a history behind
them, but only seem to be influenced by
But the only purpose of fashion is to
+4 ::: Which artists have influenced you,
one's various influences are transformed
so greatly over time, and become absorbed
and interlinked, so it becomes really
difficult to say which artists have had
the greatest influence on my work. You
also have to remember that often an artist
manipulates the work of great artists
who have inspired him. In order to produce
an entirely original work, an artist cannot
avoid betraying the works he most admires.
In case, by saying this, I seem to be
avoiding the issue, I can mention a few
names, in no particular order of preference:
Caravaggio, Velasquez, Goya, Daumier,
Degas, De Kooning, Bacon, and many others.
+5 ::: What other interests do have (besides
I read quite
a few books. I go down to the local "Trattoria"
(informal restaurant or tavern serving
simple Italian dishes) to chat about the
great and the small things in life with
an old friend who has come to visit me
in my studio. Sometimes I go to see a
film with my companion, by a director
we both like. When I'm in the country
I go for a ride on my old racing bicycle
::: What inspires you to paint and how
do you keep motivated when things get
tough in the studio?
Starting a new painting is like moving
in a particular direction. Painting is
like going on a journey, sometimes full
of adventures, which can take you to totally
unexpected places. Oliver Cromwell said
that "nobody goes as far as someone
who doesn't know where he's going".
This may be true, however paradoxical
In any case, I also believe that you could
work on the same painting for an indefinite
length of time. When I feel that a painting
has its own voice and is coming alive,
I want to live with it, talk to it, quarrel
with it, and agree with it. In other words,
I don't want to put my signature to it,
and bring the experience to an end.
::: How have you handled the business
side of being an artist?
I have had exclusive contracts with various
art dealers; some satisfactory, others
Art dealers are not all the same: some
are capable and good at their work, some
are like shop-keepers plying their trade,
and some are adventurers.
Except that I must say that the similarities
between them always outweigh the differences.
The painter needs them in order to be
able to devote himself to his work. But
you have to try to keep them under control
It is never an easy relationship.
::: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years' time I shall be 85. Who
knows which way the wind will blow
I like to imagine myself still in my studio,
surrounded by canvasses, easels, paint-brushes
and cloths, with the smell of paint in
the air, and the light coming through
my big window.
::: Could you talk about your latest series
of paintings and what you are trying to
achieve with them?
working on a painting to which I have
given the provisional title of Outskirts,
in the sense of away from the centre of
things. In this case the meaning should
be understood figuratively, as peripheral
to a sense of value, and not as a physical
It is a very large canvas, which I've
been working on all the time over the
last few weeks. Of course, I have moments
of enthusiasm and moments of discomfort
::: What advice would you give to an artist
just starting out?
I would say, as I have said in this interview
when talking about the essential qualities
of my work, to be absolutely sure about
your choice, not to bow to the dictates
of fashion and, above all, never stop