Mauro paints on canvas or paper with acrylics, ink, chalk, graffiti, nails, and oil pastels: the latter mainly uses it to let yourself go on the canvas, free as a waterfall.
In the initial phase the subjects of his works are mainly the eyes, he devotes most of the time to realize the gaze, which according to him, it must transport the observer.
” Painting is a blind profession. We don’t paint what we see, but what we hear, what we do evidence regarding what has been seen. “My intoxication in Art are the eyes. The gaze portrayed on two-dimensional support, artifact, but at the same time, he manages to hypnotize you, kidnap you, like a real, real gaze. If the eyes are the mirror of the soul, I get drunk with the presumption of putting it on canvas “.
Painting is going out of oneself, forgetting oneself, preferring anonymity to everything else, and sometimes risking not to be in agreement with one’s own century and with their contemporaries. It is the act of opening a passage through an invisible iron wall that seems to be between what you hear and what you can.
In the second phase, which begins only after an immense introspection given by encounters with two shamans – one Colombian and one Siberian – and in-depth studies on the treatises of Gurdjieff and Jodorowsky, Mauro is ready to let himself go, enriched by contamination of Twombly and Basquiat. He decides to stop painting the eyes and make the whole work a soul that is at the bottom of the gaze. He departs from the style figurative to embrace Neo-Expressionism, where he manages to express himself fully. Here he has the leap in quality. He has a desire to charm and introject the viewer as when you first observe a deep and disruptive gaze, put together some bizarre and deformed to recreate emotions that leave enchanted and intrigued: “I want people to stop in front of my paintings bewitched by emotional magic “.
A mixture of archaic tribalism and esoteric graffiti, whose codes are not all intelligible as indeed semiology wants. A work of art is an externalization, an urgency of our conscious and unconscious, of senses and contradictions, as the complex and multifaceted personality of those who perform. Mine is not an inner search, but now the next phase. A moment in which research is overshadowed to give the following the action, the transmutation, the solve et coagula of the athanor.
Hello Mauro! You say your initial phase of the subjects, and intoxication in art were the eyes. Tell me more about that.
Mauro: Hi Lisa. In my initial phase, the subjects of the works are mainly the eyes, I spent most of the time creating the sight, which must transport the observer. Painting is a bling profession. We don’t paint what we see, but what we feel about what we have seen. “My intoxication in the art are the eyes. The sight portrayed on two-dimensional support, artifact, but at the same time able to hypnotize you, kidnap you, like a real one. If the eyes are the mirror of the soul, I get drunk with the presumption of putting it on a canvas.” To paint is to come out of oneself, forget oneself, prefer anonymity to everything else, and, sometimes, risk not being in accord with one’s own century and with one’s contemporaries. It is the act of opening a passage through an invisible iron wall that seems to be between what you feel and what you can.
Also, your second phase, where you depart from figurative art to Neo-Expressionism sounds fascinating. What was the transition like, and is there a story behind it?
Mauro: In the second phase, which begins only after an immense introspection due to encounters with two shamans – one Colombian and one Siberian – and the in-depth studies on the treatises of Gurdjieff and Jodorowsky, I feel ready to let myself go, enriched by contamination of Twombly and Basquiat. I decide to stop painting the eyes and make the whole work the soul that is deep in the sight. I detach myself from the figurative style to embrace Neo-Expressionism, where I can fully express myself. Here I make the leap in quality. The desire to enchant and introject the viewer as when observing for the first time a deep and disruptive sight, putting together bizarre and deformed shapes to recreate emotions that leave enchanted and intrigued: “I want people to stop in front of my paintings, bewitched by an emotional magic”.
When did you begin painting and how did you get started? What did you want to become when you were a child?
Mauro: I was born with a pencil in my hand. I first learned to draw and then to walk, but I never imagined art as the path of my life. From an early age, for example, I dreamed of becoming a spaceship builder or a stock trader. The event that changed everything took place in my old workplace. I was a university researcher specializing in Cone Beam CT in dentistry and my office was a room of about 4×3 meters without windows and with only one entrance door, gray walls with no paintings, and only a coat rack and two computers to keep me company. So I decided to embellish that sad room and created an artwork full of color and joy: it was my first experimentation with Neo-Expressionism. After only 48 hours, the director of the department, prof. Maurizio Piattelli declared himself a great lover and collector of artworks and bought my work, advising me to continue painting because according to him I had a great future. Shortly thereafter, I embellished my office with new works that were purchased continuously and the compliments from the public were always greater until the last one, from an important critic. From there to today the step is short.
What is the process from start to final artwork, do you envision it from the beginning or is it a different process?
Mauro: The process is mainly divided into three phases.
Phase 1: the choice and creation of the background, which is often more important to me than the subject itself.
Phase 2: the creation of the subject, which is often completely detached from the background.
Phase 3: create the balance between the subject and the background relying only on my instinct without any pre-set rules.
I realized that my greatest talent is that of seeing my personal balance in the work, this is what strikes the audience. Although to date I haven’t yet fully expressed what I feel inside. With this, I want to tell you that the best is yet to come.
Do you ever experience creative blocks? And if yes, how do you overcome it?
Mauro: Fortunately, I’m a river in flood. I’ve got a creative power that ranges on several fronts: I often find myself fantasizing about screenplays, texts, music, but I decided to focus only on painting. I like to call myself a gold mine, but as a mine, I can’t do everything by myself, I also need someone who wants to take this gold and trade it. Sometimes I think about who could help me if I had a block, but then I realize that no one can help me because I’m completely alone in front of my creation. This terrible awareness could tear me down, yet it makes me joyful because now I know that basically, it all depends on me. I ask myself “Are you ready to face life right now? Are you ready to be an alien moving among the inhabitants of this bizarre planet?”. No, I’m not, no one would be ‘cause it’s a vision of the reality of unprecedented violence, but, somewhere inside myself, I feel I have to try. A similarity: how stupid is a condemned to death who is afraid of trying to escape in front of a firing squad because they could shoot him? I mean, he is already condemned to death, what does he have to lose? Too many people live as inmates trying to make their prison more comfortable in order to forget that they are not free. They try to be successful in life so as not to feel the pain of existence with a closed heart. An evasion is therefore necessary which, to be successful, must be individual.
Do you have a real-life situation that inspired your artwork? If yes, what was it?
Mauro: Actually no. I look around and everything could be a source of inspiration, but I think I’m lucky because I have a continually open inspiration. I pick up the colors, turn on the music, start dancing and singing and a channel opens up, ready to flood me. Maybe the biggest secret is to get excited, to try to live with an open heart, in the present moment, get out of the routine of life and so inspiration comes. Inspiration is ready to choose you and express the moment through you.
What artists influenced you the most and why?
Mauro: The artist who struck me first was Monet, but the one who shocked me was Mirò. I had seen his works in some books, but with superficiality, because they couldn’t transmit anything to me; one day I was on vacation in Turin and I came across an exhibition on Mirò, so I entered more out of respect for his name out of curiosity. In front of that exhibition, I was completely overwhelmed, the power of the sign and the idea stole my heart. A small curiosity: when you find an asterisk in my artworks it’s because I decided to pay him a tribute. Instead, the artists who upset me after I adopted the Neo-Expressionist style are Basquiat and Cy Twombly and, although it may not seem, the latter more than the former.
What are some of the stories behind your work?
Mauro: I have several. “Bird of Freedom”, for example, was born as a tribute to Juliane Assange. It took me 60 days to make it: I changed its shape and color at least six times, but I was never satisfied. I observed it and I didn’t feel the balance, I also slept on it looking for the right intuition.
I painted the work “Emozioni” watching the Netflix series “Sex Education” from the first to the last episode. I did an experiment: I tried to keep the rational part of the brain occupied in following the TV so as to leave the creative part freer to express itself.
Some works, instead, appeared to me in a dream, and they are the ones that I’m most afraid of creating and presenting to the public.
What all the paintings have in common is that I have an initial idea of how they should be, but the final result is always completely different, instinct takes over. It’s like making love: you can’t decide what will happen, it just happens and the more you try to get lost in the moment, in the flow of emotions, the more you are surprised in the end about what you managed to create.
What are you currently working on, and what was the last piece you’ve enjoyed working on the most?
Mauro: I’m working on the Divine Comedy of the great Dante Alighieri. To be precise, I’m painting an angel of purgatory. It will be part of a major exhibition organized by Giorgio Grasso to be held in Venice and Florence and will later become an important publication. The idea behind it is to select artists who will paint the Divine Comedy to honor the seventh century of the death of the great poet and I was the only one selected for my style of painting. The artwork I’m doing is really huge, 240×160 centimeters, but I’m very satisfied with the final result. I’d like to do a series of big works centered on street-style angels. At the same time, I was working on a lilac pig, but it was bought even before I could finish it. It happens that important collectors come to my studio to get to know me, even covering many kilometers – the last one who visited me drove 1300 km – and when they are there, they buy the works even if they are not finished. The idea that a person, often important entrepreneurs, take a day off and even travel thousands of kilometers just to get to know me in person really fills me with joy and I’m still incredulous every time it happens.
Do you see your art as serving a purpose beyond art?
Mauro: My ideal, my golden standard would be to communicate and transmit the figure of the hero, “the warrior monk”, whose success never depends on external circumstances and whose strength derives from identification with values related to the world of soul. Unfortunately, this ideal has disappeared from the education normally given in schools and sooner or later the books dealing with this figure will also disappear so that no young person will feel the call anymore. The epic, the myths, with the values they manage to transmit, are no longer the foundation of children’s education but are now taught only in a limited number of study courses. True values, the heroic gesture, the chivalrous ideal are no longer praised. A work of “obscuring the myth” is underway. So the intellectual TV opinion-makers, the CEOs who prey on the companies created by others, the corrupt politicians, the sportsmen, the TV presenters, the music bands, the mafia bosses will be the only points of reference for the new generations. For this reason, in almost all of my works I try to hide ideals and intentions that express the fire of the soul and try to keep it alive.
Are there any upcoming shows or workshops we should know about?
Mauro: The agenda is always full and sometimes I found myself rejecting the proposal. In September I should be part of an exhibiting in Miami, I use the conditional because with what is happening in this period the exhibitions often skip. Then I have two solo exhibitions scheduled, one in Belgium and one in Sicily. Finally, if you believe in mystery, a visionary revealed to me then within a year and a half I will be part of an exhibition in New York that will introduce me to the world of great international artists.
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