I was born in Messina on November 30th 1974.
Since I was a child, I showed a peculiar interest for drawing.
I began creating my first “graffiti” on the wall paper of my living room; I used to cover with sketches all the inside covers of each book I found. And very often, I found myself contemplating the reproductions of two works by Van Gogh, hung in my house, wondering the reason why. After school, I started studying Modern Literature and Humanities at my home town university, but I kept on drawing and creating cartoon sketches for the faculty student magazine and for a city newspaper.
After the conscription period, I entered the Art Academy in
Reggio Calabria, determined to follow my passion.
During those years, I gained my personal style, expressively a style “of signs”, which starts from the figurative and gets to almost abstract outcomes. In the meanwhile, I started my collaboration with a lot of marketing advisers as an advertising illustrator.
I graduated with a comparative thesis about Schiele,
Munch and Ensor. I draw my paintings in my spare time.
Even if it might be weird, the hardest thing for me at the Art Academy was to come up with “the language” of mine, with the proper way of expressing myself. And I couldn’t manage to do it. Maybe going hard at it, I could create something decent, nice, but still tasteless, not speaking of me. Flowers, landscapes, symbols, and many other subjects sprang up from my hands, but they were speechless, even dead sometimes, when they came to life.
In the meanwhile, something else was taking shape on its own, above all when my mind was elsewhere and I was making scribbles on a paper as I was talking on the phone, thinking about something or listening to someone else speaking: twisting human figures. I wasn’t using a particular technique, I wasn’t paying attention to fair-sized dimensions, to details, to anatomy. From a feature, from a hand, from a leg, from a muscle, it took shape a body which seemed a tangled rope. The primordial broth, that generated them, was, within my mind, a whole of many pictures coming from the paintings by Caravaggio, from the super-heroes comics, from the sculptures by Michelangelo. Bodies that expressed a condition of the soul. Never untroubled, composed, languishing. But twisted, bent, contracted. And I was even ignoring all this because they were a kind of “release”, a twitch, a doodle. But one fine day, I started drawing on a sheet of carbon paper, and without realizing it I was overlapping a lot of figures, for under the copy paper there was another sheet of paper which was completely covered with crossed, tangled, trapped human figures. One of those figures was standing out among all, since it had been markedly traced, and it almost seemed about to come out of that mess of bodies, which were my thoughts indeed.
That evening I bought a larger cardboard sheet and I hung it on the wall, then I started drawing again those figures, one on the other. Armed with an oil pastel, my hand was tracing curved lines which then became bodies, until it created a texture of twisted anatomies. Then I sketched the outline of the “strong” figure, the one that came out of the mass, the one that didn’t want to remain within the sheet of paper, that needed to be different from anything else, that hated being equal to the other ones.
I had found out the language of mine.
During the first period at the Academy, one day, I was assigned by my teacher the task of representing "the injury".
What kind of injury? How could I portray it?
In an attempt not to make a poor impression, I tried to draw a detailed and irregular “crevice”,
carefully sketched on the drawing paper, featured by hundreds of black and red Indian-ink marks.
With great patience, I made what I considered a well drawn , clean, very good work.
I showed it to my teacher, hoping he would praise me for doing such an accurate and painstaking job.
But he said: “Is that meant to be an injury? Does it really express pain? How long did it take you to make this?
Do you think you have obtained the result that you were hoping?”
Actually, however accurate that work might be, it did not say much to me.
It was aseptic. A good work with no soul.
Suddenly the teacher took a blunt pencil, clasped it as if it were a knife,
and started moving it all over my drawing, so strong as to butcher it.
My work was spoiled, but now there was a real wound.
That tattered paper, that uneven and torn cut, that sheet raped by a blunt pencil: all that really expressed the idea of an injury.