This week’s cover by Alessandro Licciardello, called “The Cyclist,” is not only eye-catching but demands a second or third look.
At first glance, the image appears as a blur of color coming toward us at high speed. We look again and realize it’s a figure of a man whirling through the streets. The essential aesthetic qualities are movement, texture and color, three formal traits that drive Licciardello’s work in general. His signature is horizontal, short brush strokes, though some works by Licciardello are not involved with movement, like his images of animals. But these paintings have as much drama as the landscapes.
Licciardello was born in Catania, Sicily, in 1979. He enjoyed an art education, attending the School of Art. After high school, he spent a year with his mother in New York. Returning to Sicily, he attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Catania, after that dividing his time between there and New York.
The cover image of a cyclist is quite dramatic. What does it mean to you?
First of all, cycling is a sport I do almost every day because I really love the bike. The figure of Fausto Coppi is for me an icon of life. The cyclist is a work portrayed in one click, the pleasure of escape and moving forward into the future. It is energy, determination to achieve goals by overcoming the obstacles of life.
What influenced your style in this image?
The style harks back to the Futurist painters (Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni). I particularly like Futurist painters who were attracted by the artistic individuality of Max Beckmann.
What was your formal art training like?
I have been drawing since I was five years old. Design was one of my favorite games. When I attended elementary school, teachers told me I had a natural vocation for design. I attended the Art School and later the Academy of Fine Arts in Catania, where I obtained a diploma in 2005.
You live in New York part of the year, visiting your mother. I think its energy has influenced the energy in your paintings. What else attracts you about Manhattan?
I am attracted to New York because I think it’s the most important city in the world for contemporary art. As for the United States in general, I believe that this country pays special attention to artists from all over the world.
What about Sicily?
I am inspired by the Mediterranean landscape and in particular the area that surrounds the Etna Volcano. The landscape there has a specialty for the vibrancy of the colors found in nature.
Where would you like to travel to learn more about art?
I’d like to know contemporary art in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In Europe, I would like to know more about the art in London, Berlin, Paris, Madrid and Barcelona.
What will you be doing in five years?
For the moment, I would like to continue to teach teens techniques and the fundamentals of painting and drawing.
What advice would you give these teens?
Always look with a critical eye at their works for the purpose of artistic improvement.
For more information, email Alessandro Licciardello at [email protected].