Taking inspiration from Escher and Dalì, with whom he has a lot in common. A mad intuition and intertwining lines leaning towards avant-garde and classicism, for example, of designs filled with matryoshka-sized images, where the end ties in with the beginning in a never-ending cicle. The subconscious is the main theme of the pictures, looking at the observer for the realization of their fullness: what do I represent to you? Who are you? What are we all? His name is Luca Valerio D’Amico, doubtlessly one of those innovative artists for whom the contamination and revelation beneath the surface of urban life are true passions carrying a deep sense of the being: “I draw without thinking, it flows out of me, of what I see”.
When did you first discover your passion for drawing? How?
This is something I’ve been doing all my life, since school. I would draw during class: Rocky, soccer players… On day, back when I was in university, I met up with a friend who showed me some pictures he took in Cuba during a trip printed on canvas, and that inspired me to do the same with my drawings. I printed out a few, just to see how they turned out, and everyone I showed them to said I should put them on display. I started in some friends’ places, in Rome, then it was Moscow, Stockholm, Madrid, New York…
How exactly did you get to an international level?
My first international experience came from my regret for not going to study abroad during university, so when I was twenty-nine I went to Stockholm. It was kind of crazy, I left quit my job out of the blue, I was sure I would find work in Stockholm in a communication agency, doing something creative; instead I ended up working as a waiter for any Italian restaurant. Then a friend who was working in the warehouse of a company of supplements was able to get me a job and when I met with the managers I was hired as art director. A couple of years later I decided to move back to Rome, still working for them from a distance. That’s when my adventure as free lance creative artist began.
Did that pay the bills?
It did, especially because the cooperation was steady. It was a privilege for me to be able to work for a Swedish company from my hometown and get paid for it. That allowed me to travel and have exhibits of my pictures.
Where in New York were your exhibits?
In a little gallery, Gallery Bar, in Orchard street. It gave me further chances to try new techniques, because the director wanted all paintings in color, whereas mine were all black and white. I wasn’t sure how the paintings would turn out, but they were all very appreciated.
It’s funny but I always start drawing from one eye. The rest comes without a scheme or design. I do it right off the batch, I can’t erase since I use markers, so I have to up my concentration. It’s like meditating, you don’t think of anything else.
Is the work divided in phases?
It has to be. Each drawing takes about twelve hours, impossible to do in one sitting. It’s usually three to four three-hour phases.
This winter you have an exhibit called Supervisions.
Right, unexpected perspectives. The base of the pieces comes from the subconscious, from instinct, from pure creativity. It’s a recurrent concept.
I love New York, but it’s not a city where I would want to live. I like to visit and develop new projects, see friends there… But the more I travel, the more I realize the most beautiful country in the world is Italy: nothing can compare to Rome.
What do you like about New York?
The energy, such a variety of cultures, offers, surprises.
Artistically, what’s the difference between New York and Italy?
Availability of the managers, for sure. In Italy, if you want to talk to the director or curator of a gallery, you first have to talk to seven different people then, maybe, you’ll be able to get in contact with them. In New York you just dial their number.
Does that mean it’s easier to get a space to display your pieces?
It’s more flexible, automatic. In Italy there is availability but it’s often conditional. Many take advantage of your wish for visibility and try to make money off of you, demanding up to three to four hundred Euro.
What is your wish? Your aspirations as an artist?
I’ve fallen in love with a project named Fail by a group of New York artists. Going from installations in museums to image aging at the Lincoln Center. That is exactly what I’d love to do: combining my passion for design and graphic, to painting and art.
Where would you do that, in Italy or New York?
All over the world, it can be done. Take the project here in Trastevere for example, students from Tokyo were working on it along with students from the Accademia di Belle Arti of Rome, in a sort of joint venture. I love that.
When and where are your next exhibits?
We’re working on one which is going to be in Palazzo Velli, in Piazza Sant’Egidio, plus we are always in contact with New York. That’d be a dream, another important wish.
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