Interview by Isabel Merchand / Edited by Jose Morales
1) Can you tell us about yourself and your career as an artist?
My name is Mario Loprete, and I live in Catanzaro, a small Calabrian city in the south of Italy. It’s a beautiful place to live in, geographically, and culturally. It is the land that the ancient Greeks called “Magna Grecia,” rich in culture and history.
Artistically, I consider myself a self-taught artist. I have extensively studied the history of art and that of the great masters. I first studied for six years, and then at the age of 34, I decided to attend The Academy of Fine Arts of Catanzaro. I was aware that if I wanted to give more strength to my work, I needed to confront myself with other artists and to share experiences with them.
I completed my studies in 2007, knowing that formal education is necessary for every profession. An artist needs to be unique and to know the history of art and who preceded him. I dedicate my days to research in order to strengthen my work.
2) What inspires you?
What inspires me most is everyday life. It is the streets and people walking by who attract my curiosity the most. I believe that an artist’s task is to give a different interpretation of the world around us.
3) Can you see the finished product in your mind before you begin to work on it?
I really like the design phase of my work. I get the ideas and write them down on an agenda. Subsequently, when the idea has been metabolized, the real realization phase begins. I already have the final result, but the realization is difficult, and most of the time, it is changed during the work to improve the message I want to transmit.
4- Have you ever doubted your talent, and how did you work through your doubts?
There is only one certainty I have, and that is the constant and convulsive search for strength in my work. I do not believe in the talent or gift of God that makes a man an artist. The artist is the one who searches for a whole life the communicative force of his works. It is not talent but perseverance that elevates a dreamer to an artist. An artist is not a man who always has people that praise him and his art. When the lights go out, and he finds himself to be a lonely man, alone in his studio, he tries to feed the fire he has inside with the constant search for himself through art.
5- How do you manage to stay both personal and original in your creative endeavors?
I look, I document, I study, and then I elaborate. I compare the work of an artist to a bodybuilder. A man strengthens, molds and tones his body based on the stimuli and perseverance that the workouts have on him. However, the skeleton is always that and must be strong. The purpose of an artist is to develop his artistic concept by improving communication, perhaps using other communication systems while remaining anchored to the initial project. Only an excellent foundation can turn houses into skyscrapers; the opposite would have disastrous results.
6- What is the best advice that you have been given creatively?
A professor of the Academy of Fine Arts told me: “Treat your work with the utmost respect, as Michelangelo respected his. Only then can you pretend that it is respected by others.”
7- What do you feel has been your biggest achievement as a professional artist?
If we talk about important exhibitions, in 30 years of work, I have participated in more than 200 exhibits. From these, the exhibition ‘Tradition and Innovation – Italian Olympic Spirit’ held at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Center in London in 2012, was the most important international showcase for me. Together with six other artists, we represented Italy at the 2012 London Olympic Games. It was exciting to see every athlete who won an Olympic medal pose for the ritualistic photos with my paintings behind them.
This year, I will have a solo exhibition in Lido di Venezia, at the Manni Art Gallery from August 31, 2019- October 31, 2019.
The Numa Crew – Oil on concrete