Croatia-born Tina Orsolic Dalessio started out in academia before studying painting at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy. Dalessio, whose beautiful work feels both studied and natural, talks about her experiences in both the academic and artistic worlds.
What was the inspiration for this piece?
The beauty of the holiday season in general and this little ornament in particular. I got it as gift from an artist friend who was a guest at a dinner party my husband and I hosted in Florence, Italy just before Christmas. It is an ephemeral and humble little thing, but I found its beauty timeless. It represents love and friendship and good times. So, I painted it to convey some of those sentiments in oils and make it last a little while longer through art.
Talk about your training at the Florence Academy of Art.
I studied at the Florence Academy of Art from 2016–2018, where I completed the painting program. I dare say this is one of the best contemporary art schools for painters interested in learning traditional academic techniques. The premise of their intense training is working with models from life, under natural light, with constant guidance and supervision of an amazing team of instructors trained in the same method. Everybody in the program works incredibly hard and strives towards excellence. It is such an inspiring environment for learning, and thanks to the training I received there, I now have the tools to do what I love doing the most. I am very grateful to have had the chance to study there and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in becoming a figurative painter.
You have a background in law and academics. What made you study art?
What made me study art after building a successful career in academia for almost a decade is the passion and joy I experienced when I first started painting, about five years ago. The more I painted, the stronger the calling became until the point where I could no longer resist it. Through the process of painting, I felt I was not only discovering my true passion—I was also discovering my true self. When something brings you that close in touch and in peace with your inner being, as well as the world around you, it is very hard to let go. As soon as I realized that I am my most authentic self when I paint, I knew this is what I should do. I was very lucky to be supported on this journey by my family and friends, most importantly by my husband, Marc Dalessio, who is an incredible painter and my best friend.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere around me. I like to paint the world that surrounds me and there is always something inspiring and beautiful to be found. It can be a landscape, a person, an interior or a still live. I love “slice of life” paintings through which tales of our lives as artists become apparent and which express our divergent moods and responses to the world around us. Looking back on the work I have produced thus far, I would say that the prevailing sentiment is gratitude for the life I live and the beauty I am surrounded with. Up until this point, the inspiration never lacked. In fact, I often feel the nature provides too much stimulus for an artist and there are simply not enough days in one’s life to respond to and capture it all.