A tram that brings me downtown Amsterdam while I am looking at the nice buildings and at a line of bikers being the first two blond (maybe locals), the third one probably Indian, the forth one looking American and last one a lady maybe from Morocco, some steps up and down along the canals, my friends’ touchy words pronounced over a delightful dinner last night, that suddenly pop up in my mind, my walk into a beautiful work-space for the day that surprises my eyes for its design, its relaxed look, the music it plays, the laughter of people having breakfast at the bar-corner, the cool signs marked on the floor to direct visitors, the colored sofas, the flashy hair of extravagant ladies I bump into while walking, the waving cats of my friend’s neighbor welcoming my return back home ….
What does all this have in common?
….. an overwhelming, deep and uncontrollable sense of unexpected happiness.
I’m still enjoying, while writing, a full state of pure pleasure, continuing to repeat to myself, silently, the same words: “ I AM HAPPY”.
A random day of the year has turned into a gift made of mind-boggling images, lights, colors, sounds, smells, making me smile while getting pleasantly lost in the crowded streets of this city I have fallen in love with. I feel alive.
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I am writing this blog while flying from Arusha to Zanzibar. I am just back from an amazing 4 day-safari in several parks in Tanzania where the close contact with nature and the total disconnection from the reality I am used to, have incredibly boosted my artistic creativity.
Africa has been treating me fairly so far. Tanzanians are awesome people, very welcoming and smiley. The conditions they live are far from the comfy ones an average European is used to but in their eyes I always read pride for their country.
Driving for hours and hours, many are the villages I have been passing by. Amazing, fast changing landscapes have pleased my eyes and the colors of natural elements such as the yellow of the earth turning into an intense brown-red and then changing again into a mesmerizing green, the blue sky, the huge trees turning into a very dry vegetation exploding again into an overwhelming dark green forest, have had such a breathtaking effect on me.
The environments change but the conditions people live in do not. Poverty is all around. Kids wearing dirty clothes waving our car at the crossroads look happy because they don’t know there is a better life elsewhere. Many those walking for kilometers without shoes under the hot sun carrying water or being just on their way to the closest school. Their eyes and their smiles, despite the miserable conditions, are shining. Sadness looks not being part of the way they approach life.
By now you perfectly know how important the role of colors in the conception of my Art is. Having been living in "sophisticated" countries, I cannot retain myself from comparing the pleasant chromatic taste of locals opposite to, sometimes, the chromatic disasters of some Europeans who look ignoring the concept of color harmony and the basic difference between primary and secondary colors (it's the Italian in me speaking).
Well, it looks that African people got it naturally. My artistic eye is fascinated by the way they choose the colors of their clothes, how they combine the fabrics. The result is simply stunning! This aspect becomes even more mesmerizing outside the crowded areas, where human beings are seen in a natural background. The effect is powerful, as their blush-colors opposite to those of the natural elements become the center of attention of any observer. The Masai tribe goes over the top by the use of white painting on the dark skin of their faces and the use of a reverberant red in their clothes. They live a simple happy life in piece with their animals. Vibrant people are ones we remember. They are usually bright and full of personality. African colors cover poverty with a thick layer of human decency.
Good marketing is surely a bridge linking the artworks to the need for art an audience may want to satisfy. Marketing is all about satisfying needs. It can be very powerful and help the artist get known, especially in those cases where he/she operates on his/her own without being backed up/supported by a gallery and its network.
However, I like taking distance from Marketing trends, from numbers of clicks on specific artworks, inquiries, comments, number of likes etc. The main reason is that, as an artist, I feel the need to protect my creativity and make it operate freely, taking even directions that marketing seems to indicate as not the optimal ones.
Do I like making my life as an artist more complex than it may be? I don’t think so. I just want Art to be my magic box, like when I was a kid and liked to jump into a huge paper-box where I could play alone for hours in total isolation from the real world, which was by the way, pretty pleasant for me thanks to the happy environment my parents set for both me and my sister. That box was my way to escape the reality and be in a magic world.
Art plays, more or less, the same role today. When I paint I am in a noiseless box . I forget about everyone and everything. It’s a solo trip in a world of colors, images, characters and emotions my brain generates generously, thing that helps me a lot create almost non stop pieces since a while by now.
By following simple emotions, I eventually realize that, sometimes, I am painting tough subjects, not necessarily from a technical perspective I mean (this may vary a lot from painting to painting) but rather from a content perspective.
In this regard, in the last few days, I have been gladly busy with a painting picturing a frightened young boy discovering his first sexual encounter.
Will people look at the painting with the right eyes avoiding jumping on wrong, kind of cliché conclusions? Some probably not as it will take still some time to the humankind to detach the gay identity from some insane diseases such as pedophilia. But then I think further and I ask myself: Do I really care about people’s wrong conclusions? Art is accessible by those who own the key. The beautiful, trembling face of my Niño, in the painting, is worth the risk of million of wrong conclusions. I am already in love with El Niño.
8am on a Thursday morning in June. I am wrapping one of my best pieces in order to prepare its shipment.
It feels like a funeral. LE BAR DES AMOURS is quitting the studio to reach its final destination: London. The artwork has been conceived as a project taking a long time. I sketched the scene in August last year and started painting it only after many months. For a long while it stayed like a sketch on a canvas, hidden behind other canvas in my studio. I loved sketching it while traveling in the States but, for a long time, I was unable to be the visionary I usually am, projecting in my mind the finished result. I usually see my paintings as they eventually look before they even exist. It did not work for this one.
It took more than 6 months to finally have that vision in a supermarket while shopping for my grocery. I suddenly decided the technique and the colors to play with. Once I started painting it, I could not stop. It went fast and it was like painting without effort. My hand moved as it knew perfectly where to go without any hesitation. I completed it just in time to send it to the frame-shop and equip it with a charming old-fashion frame which suits its atmosphere and essence before my last expo. In April, I proudly exhibited the artwork in Brussels being it, in my eyes, one of the key-pieces of my solo exhibition itself. I am seduced by its colors and the blurred effects of the characters, their clothes, their conversations that I could even hear while painting it.
After the exhibition, I decided to hang it on the nicest wall of my studio where it has been shining day and night for a while…. a short while…. a while shorter than expected as someone has also fallen in love with it. This someone sounds like the right person for this artwork. The way he looked at it the day he came to the studio made me think immediately that there was a clear connection between them. This is just magic. Le Bar des Amours will move to London leaving me with very mixed feelings. I am happy for the owner but this morning I felt like deep pain in my chest while wrapping it, the same pain we feel when we get separated from a person we love, being afraid we will not see him/her anymore, the same pain a mother feels when she is separated from the creature she gave birth to.
Guess I should think of something else and clear out the bitter from my heart thinking we will meet again one day when I don't expect it.
In more or less 3 weeks from today, I will showcase my last artworks in a solo exhibition in Brussels. The Wine & Canvas event is a project aimed to create value for the expat-community in Brussels by giving visibility to International Brussels based artists and wine-businesses paring their wine to the artist’s Art while allowing freely access to the public audience.
This year, I have the honor of working with Italian Wines Etc represented by the brilliant sommelier, Andrea Leghesa. Andrea, is currently selecting the “best fit” wines to be pared with my paintings.
For the Wine & Canvas, I have chosen to present some artworks realized on plexiglass, some on canvas and a few watercolor-blossoms.
There is a profound difference between the selected artworks. While the watercolors stay light and embrace the themes of “dream”, “imagination”, “childhood-nostalgia”, “the stories told by my grandmother in the long afternoons spent together”, the bigger sized paintings represent the investigation between human beings in dynamics spanning from men in social groups to duo-dynamics such as man-woman, man-man, man-fetish, man-voyeurism, man-animals.
In one of the canvas, LA MAITRESSE (100x100cm – multimedia on plexiglass), which represents, in my eyes, THE highlight of the exhibition, I have decided to represent the theme of social compromise. Does it make the painting difficult to digest? Well, it is surely not what an average art consumer would put on his/her wall mainly due to reasons I explain in here.
This painting is basically addressed to those Art lovers who are ready to forget about the “traditional and lovely bouquet of flowers”, which is a passepartout in many houses, and are ready to access a different level of artistic research.
The painting shows a bed-scene. A naked woman, the maitresse, seats on a bed, reflecting upon her relationship with her man, who sleeps close to her. They are both naked after having made love. She knows that he is taken. He shares socially his “official life” with another woman despite the fact they continue to secretly meet. She knows he won’t leave his wife and family for her, thus she won’t be able to have him all time as she maybe dreams of. But does COMPROMISE represent really a source of discomfort? While painting the maitresse-character, I shaped her as a strong woman who readjusts and accepts the price to pay to break socially moral rules. In my eyes, she is eventually happy not to be his household's woman. La maitresse is and will be for him the object of desire resulting from a transgression of social rules.
To end, another interesting aspect of this painting is the male nudity. I decided to represent on purpose not to hide the male sex in the painting. I believe, the human body, and not necessarily the female body, is an amazing structure to paint. Now, we are still at a stage where female nudity is more “acceptable” in art than male nudity. Well, my mission, as a painter, is to bring novelty and in my view, male nudity is as interesting and artistic than female nudity. There is nothing to be ashamed about it if we start looking at it with different eyes and distance from unnecessary moral guidelines.
I am counting the days to welcome all my valued guests at the Wine & Canvas exhibition on April 4 and have a Live exchange on their views on Art.
“ Art is a journey of self-discovery”.
This is indeed the quote welcoming visitors on my website www.beddru.com
The statement gives the extent of what to expect on the website while preparing to enter my artistic world. The statement gives also a concise but essential piece of information about the drive behind my pictorial works.
If, on one hand, I am pleased with the positive response and the encouragement coming from my public, which eventually translates into fuel burnt while painting, on the other, the statement clearly tells that I don’t paint to please others.
Painting is rather a pleasant and colored therapy, painting is research, painting is a way of understanding better how I function as a man, why certain thoughts have been formulated in a specific way in my head and especially why certain memories are stronger than others.
Painting is also a way of expressing how I perceive the world around, others, their emotions, their dreams, and their expectations. Sometimes, irony plays an important role in my artworks. Why? The aim is not judgmental. It’s just innate. I am a man before being a painter and irony is a daily companion, also when I don’t hold brushes in my hand. Irony is a feather I like tickling myself with, my partner, my friends.
Now, when it comes to my paintings, I like keeping it light, soft, visible, never dramatic nor tragic. The excesses usually don’t interest me.
My irony is usually in between brushes and titles.
A clear example is offered by a painting I am currently busy with “Le bar des amours” (100x100 Mixed media on canvas) which pictures a very crowded scene of human beings “closely” interacting with each other. Its incongruity, thus the ironic component, lies between the title and the pictured situation. I sketched the scene last year, in late summer. Then, my attempt to paint it got stopped several times as I could not decide myself on the exact technique and atmosphere I wanted the scene to have. I, then, wisely decided to wait. Two weeks ago, all of a sudden, the bulb turned itself on. I could eventually see the way I wanted it. I selected my palette, which by principle, I keep very limited in terms of colors, and the painting is eventually coming to life beautifully.
Irony in my painting is never dry. I like to see it merging with the emotional participation of the characters I paint. Thus, in the mentioned scene, I like thinking that some of the men went to that bar with the serious expectation of meeting someone rather than with the purpose of just showing off or fishing for a short night-pleasure.
I am in the process of confirming a couple of exhibitions in Brussels where I will indeed showcase this work together with other new ones. Looking forward to meeting you there and exploring more irony together.
When it comes to reflecting upon ART and what it means to me as an artist, there are 2 things I like keeping distance from:
a) considering Art as "decoration" (I am horrified at the idea of someone choosing a piece of Art based on the furniture or the interior design of the house opposite to prioritizing the message the piece brings or the personal connection we may have to it);
b) approaching Art in a static way. Art is not an end in itself. Creating Art means connecting to others and embrace collaboration;
I like thinking of all the positive aspects Art entails. It makes us feel good; it may become, like in my case, a self-discovery journey; it supports self-expression; it creates value for us but also for others. This is indeed the point I want to quickly develop through this post.
Art creates social value as it can support important social causes eventually helping those who are in need.
2013 is still giving me so many positive vibes. The news this week is that I had the chance of starting a collaboration with the Swim for Life team in Brussels that has been supporting the marathon to collect funds for the fight against AIDS. Their great job has translated into more than 360.000EUR collected in 18th editions.
How long it took launching our collaboration? Well, it went pretty fast. 3 days, we brainstormed and the level of enthusiasm got higher and higher so we decided to launch the project by offering Art in return of donations. A special edition of THE SWIMMERS will go to the highest bid sending a message to the Swim for Life team
firstname.lastname@example.org. between the 1st of December and the 15th of December 2013.
We trust people's responsiveness and sensibility and we can already smell the success of this important action taken with enthusiasm and commitment. Art is for LIFE.
I come from a volcanic island, Sicily.
Sometimes, I think I was born with a volcano inside especially when thousand of artistic ideas start popping up. It’s surely not the ‘what to do” that I am lacking and I am delighted at the idea of always finding a way or “my way” to get there.
We are approaching the end of the year, and I feel lucky when thinking of the appealing 2014-proposals I got offered. I am indeed busy preparing my agenda for next year in regards to events and exhibitions I intend to participate in.
I want Brussels to stay my main platform where I will be showcasing artworks while considering proposals also in other cities and even abroad.
The idea of showing works where there is energy, young energy I mean, seduces me.
As a consequence I have set my longest exhibition in 2014 so far within a “Cultural Café” in Brussels, a place where energy feels at home, where a very International crowd meets, where kindness and simplicity are core values, where good food is served and where I spent myself a remarkable personal time studying in the past, pleased by its positive environment. I went there the other day and it was like its high walls were asking to hug my artworks so I decided: “ Ok, let’s do it”.
The name of the place?
Be patient, it will soon published under NEWS :-)
By now, I can unveil that my ART will be on display from the 22nd of August till the 30th of September 2014 and that I would love to see you all there.
Stay tuned, save the date and get ready to more news to come!
Many years ago, one of the women I have admired and loved the most, my grandmother, gave me a tablecloth as a present. It was made of white candid cotton, very pleasant at the touch and beautifully embroidered. I loved it at first sight. Thus, I used it, once in Brussels, on the occasion of special dinners with friends.
Many years have passed and many things have changed. The spots of red wine, coffee and food have been populating the candid tablecloth leaving as a trace the good memories of joyful dinners and lunches with my dearest ones.
My grandmother is not there anymore but the tablecloth still is.
Many of the things I paint come from the recollection of the moments spent with her when I was a kid. I have then decided to keep that old and dirty tablecloth and use it while painting as a way of keeping grandma close to me. She is the only one witnessing the creative process behind my artworks, from beginning to end. She protects my paintings from the direct Sun light before they are sealed, she absorbs the excess of the pigments I apply and the drops of water leaking from my brushes. She is with me anytime.