I have only been painting since November 2013, having spent all my years writing long bad novels, a few plays, one produced in NYC in 2011, some good short stories and lots of good, perhaps, very good poems, many of which were published.
But then something happened.
I went into hermetic mode. I needed silence. I tired of setting words in a pile, putting them into order, fashioning characters, background and backstory, twisting plots and creating drama, tension, and a satisfying finale. Words, words, words. Basta.
I started painting full-time in near-total retreat.
What to paint?
Images emerged at night, while sleeping or during my waking hours, unexpectedly. Or they simply appeared to me in all their completeness and finality directly from the blank canvas, or more commonly, primed or unprimed wood board.
Once I had a good body of work, I started writing galleries in cities where I could depend on friends to have me as their guest, if I did get an exhibition; and if I did, I could count on them to show up with friends and friends of friends: London, Montreal, New York, Toronto, LA, Philadelphia, Brussels. Closer to home: Milano, Rome, Bologna. And then, Holland, Germany.
I had hit upon the Artforum list and tried them all. Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Estonia.
But no luck.
Some replied they were not taking on any new artists, and some never wrote back. Simply not interested.
Meanwhile, I had a group show at Palazzo d’Avalos in Vasto, where I live, and a solo show at the Politecnico di Milano university in May 2013. I was also accepted for a group show in Ireland, to take place in November, and I was really looking forward to returning to Ireland, but the gallery was damaged by an inopportune flood, the show put off indefinitely. Sigh. During the summer, though, Galleria Ramundo, Vasto’s only commercial and longstanding gallery, decided to put two of my paintings on display. A hotelier friend who organises cooking classes and Abruzzo tours at Palazzo Tour d’Eau in the hilltop town of Carunchio also suggested a show, especially as he caters to mostly American clientele who might appreciate contemporary Italian art.
But by the end of the summer, the fifteen or so paintings were all still there. No sales.
All the while, I kept painting constantly, grateful to my muses, and the great unknown that granted me the time and opportunities to dedicate myself wholly to painting full-time, and during intervals, who would I contact?
Then an acquaintance called. An architect, she has a beautiful little studio she has used for exhibits, and would I like to have a show? Sure.
Date: 20-23 December 2014. Location: Piazza San Pietro 16, Vasto. From 6 pm.
And you’re all invited.