Our January 17, 2020 Dan’s Papers cover artist, painter Alessandro Licciardello, who splits his time between Scordia, Italy and New York, found artistic inspiration from his international upbringing.
What was the inspiration for this piece, “The Owl 2?”
I’ve always been fascinated by the appearance of this animal, which we often hear but don’t see. Through painting, I was able to explore the mystery of this nocturnal bird by dwelling on its intense gaze, its angular feathers and its iridescent colors. I grew up in Sicily, in the countryside. At night I had always heard the sound of this bird and I have many times imagined being able to paint it. I liked the idea that this bird of prey was also a skilled predator and that it moved at night. One morning I finally decided to put on canvas the mystery of the owl I had thought of many nights. I hope I have succeeded.
Tell us about your artistic process.
When I got the idea of the owl, I started to find out. I have seen various images and documentaries, many species of owls, from the most common owls to the eagle owl, up to the owl. It was the gaze of the owls and the yellow eyes of the owl that guided me in my artistic process. I worked a lot on the plumage and the swirling movement. This owl allowed me to better express my style where movement and color are the protagonists. I worked a lot on the complementarity of the colors, yellow and purple.
Talk about growing up in Italy. How did that shape you as an artist?
I never stopped creating. I have been living in Milan for some years and in this city full of cultural events I had the opportunity to create a personal exhibition where I presented my latest paintings.
Every day I look at what surrounds me, the frenzy of the metropolis, with its urban landscapes, from means of transport to the always busy streets, with people running from one side to the other.
I often visit various exhibitions in Milan and other Italian cities, to keep myself updated. I’m very curious. In November, for example, I visited the Venice Biennale where I was able to see the latest trends and experiments. What I have seen will certainly influence my artistic process and my next works.
In recent years, I have worked mainly on commission. I made various paintings, from the seven deadly sins (pride, avarice, lust, envy, gluttony, anger and sloth) to portraits of some philosophers, such as Socrates and Immanuel Kant.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you be doing?
If I hadn’t become a painter, I would have been a designer. I’ve always liked cars and means of transport in general. I would have liked to design them. I like the materials and assembly techniques. So, in recent years I have approached the world of model aircraft. I design and reproduce model aircraft with the balsa wood. I’ve always liked planes and aviation in general. In Italy, model aircraft is a widespread hobby and boasts a considerable group of enthusiasts. Last year I got to be able to fly an ultralight plane. It was exciting to be able to drive a vehicle that I studied and that I had reproduced in scale in my studio.
Visit alessandrolicciardello.com for more of Licciardello’s work and use #alessandrolicciardello on Instagram.