“It is said that painting has exhausted its possibilities, but how come is the mother of the artists always pregnant?”
AT: Where are you from and how/why you start engaging to art?
CC: I was born in Florence (1990). I spent my childhood and teenage years between Florence and Grosseto. My hands are dirty with colour since I was a kid and I never stopped painting. Once I had finished my studies in Florence at Art school, I received a scholarship and I moved to Milan where I graduated in 2013 from the NABA (New Academy of Fine Arts).
AT: When did it become serious?
CC: At the age of 16, I was already aware that art was my path. I never deviated from it or interrupted it, and I grew up with the paintings and they grew with me. After years of testing and comparing the various art methods, I had a solo show “The Sunday Side” at the Clima Gallery in 2016. This exhibition marked my real career start, reinforcing my career choice.
AT: Are there any person that have been significant in your progression as an artist?
CC: In my family, my grandmother and my father are the people who have transmitted the most in this field. I had at least two good teachers for each formative period, starting from elementary school, even though the real teachers I found were from outside of the training contexts. I’ve been a skateboarder since the age of 15 and I’ve been in the Tuscan hip-hop scene for a long time. This has inevitably impacted my artistic research, despite the fact that I had put aside my “street” background during school to concentrate on studies and to train at 360 degrees.
AT: What’s your first approach to the work? Could you describe your practice?
CC: I always start out from an idea that is never crystal clear, an idea that then comes across detours, changes in programme, interruptions, cancellations and new transcriptions during the work in progress. I am interested in conveying a certain elegance and refinement through apparently “coarse”, brusque actions. Only subsequently do I proceed to cross-fertilise these bases marked with figurative elements, painted in oil, in search of new geographies of form. I have always been fascinated by the interaction between the figurative and the abstract.
“The Sunday Side” Clima Gallery, Milano – Installation view
AT: What are your favourite tools and materials for working?
CC: I work in layers: every level represents a different subject or technique that overlap and sometimes intersect each other: cancellations, too, can create further planes that I then leave cancelled or that become the bases for additional levels of paintings.
AT: How do you understand when a work is finished?
CC: The work is only finished when I feel that I have found the right formal balance, often leaving the result with a glimmer of incompleteness or something unresolved. The contrast of techniques and meanings is purely evocative and left free for interpretations. I proceed in opposing directions and work by means of contrary intentions: I never confine myself within specific trends. Elegant / coarse, slow / fast, natural / urban, geometric / informal, figurative / abstract.
AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from? Do you find inspiration outside or it’s all inside you?
CC: Wherever I am, whenever I go out to skate my attention is captured by the signs that skaters leave on walls or other structures with their passing and their tricks. I am seduced by those signs, by the texture of the grubby marks left by the tyres on their wheels, as a sort of souvenir that tell us that they passed by, generating painting in the pure state. In the course of time, I have developed the idea that this aspect is the starting point for a new form of painting research. A railing marked by the grind of skaters can inspire me just like a branch of an oak tree in the garden.
Fucking awesome, 2018, mural paint,oil, skateboard marks, bitumen, dirty on cotton canvas, cm: 220 x 170
L’equazione, 2018, mural paint, oil, skateboard marks, bitumen, dirty on cotton canvas, cm: 220 x 170
AT: Do you think art can be learned or it is something innate?
CC: I believe that you are born an artist, but it is not enough to be a good artist. You have to put in a lot of work and perseverance in order to achieve your goal.
AT: There are any artists that influenced your works? Why?
CC: I have been influenced by the Renaissance, by American abstracts expressionism and by the figurative painting of the last twenty years coming from Germany (the New Leipzig School).
AT: How important is for you the role of social media?
CC: I’m very curious about what’s happening in the world; I use social media like Instagram for both promotional and study purposes: many artists are often discovered more easily, and it becomes easier to follow their work. Obviously, limiting oneself to social media is cold and passive. Paintings should be seen in person.
Jacopo is back in town, 2018, iron primer, oil, skateboard scratches on iron bar – Installation view
AT: What’s your opinion about the contemporary art system nowadays from your point of view as an artist?
CC: Several times I have experienced frustration in the face of a badly executed work or some destructive criticism and I have come out stronger, making way for true satisfaction. The ultimate euphoria comes more often during my studio work sessions, after completing a beautiful painting or during the working progress of it.
AT: What do you do outside of painting?
CC: Often after finishing a project, comes the most delicate phase. I need to retire and do other activities, like a sort of hibernation before moving on to a new professional upgrade.
AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?
CC: I don’t want to have too many expectations, and demand too much from myself, which often generates stress, the worst enemy of creativity. I would like to learn more techniques and broaden my skills and slowly present my work to other foreign countries.
Cosimo Casoni, born in Florence (10-11-90), lives and works between Florence and Milan.