This month dot-art catches up with artist Maurizio Liberato.
Join us as we get to know more about Maurizio’s life as an artist, from studying art at Liceo Artistico Misticoni in Pescara to working from his home studio in Liverpool, Maurizio tells us how over the last 15 years, art has not always been at the forefront of his day to day, and how this has finally changed!
Which medium do you work with and what do you like about it specifically?
I usually work in oil and charcoal. I love these mediums because they feel immediate, organic, almost primitive. If you think about it, charcoal is fundamentally a piece of burnt wood and oil colours are coloured powder mixed with a little linseed oil, I love the natural boldness and the power of these two mediums.
Describe your style of art:
I would say that my style falls into contemporary realism, and sometimes you can feel a hint of expressionism, especially in the charcoal portraits I do.
Can you talk us through your process? Do you begin with a sketch, or do you just go straight in? How long do you spend on one piece? How do you know when it is finished?
For me the first step is choosing the subject, I need to feel a connection with it, whether its a face or a piece of fruit. When it comes to oil painting, my process is quite traditional and planned. If it’s worth painting it’s worth planning as Andrew Loomis said.
I start by staining the canvas accordingly to the subject colours. Then I make a sketch of the subject, I want to get the right proportions and likeness (if it’s a portrait) as early as possible, it’s easier to correct it at that stage. Then I paint from darks to lights blocking in all the colours, paying particular attention to the values. After this, I start refining and adding detail, but only in the focus area, too many details can make a piece look weak in my opinion.
It normally takes me between one and four days for a small oil painting however it depends on the subject. I could go on forever with paintings but there is always a risk of making it look overworked, so I stop when I think that the message I aimed to convey is delivered, regardless of the details.
I also believe that a slightly organic, unfinished aesthetic can really add something special to a piece.
When did you begin your career in art?
My career officially began 15 years ago, when I was studying art at Liceo Artistico Misticoni in Pescara. Here I learnt the ways of the classic Italian masters, building the foundations of my skills in drawing, painting and sculpting.
From attending workshops, held by Sofia Welch at London Atelier of Representational Art, in 2018, my practice began to focus more on portraiture.
My artistic career hasn’t always been as consistent as I would have liked, but it’s always been at least bubbling in the background, thankfully in the last 4 years, I have been able to focus on my passion for art much more.
Who or what inspires your art?
I think anything can be inspiring, sometimes it’s the views of nature, the sunset and sunrise or an everyday object lit from a particular angle or light. As for artists who inspire me, it’s hard to narrow them down but I would say, Sargent, Sorolla, Zorn and Boldini inspire me the most.
What is one of your favourite pieces that you have done and why?
This is a difficult question, but I would have to choose “Tancrede”, not just because of the final result, but because of the fun I had painting it. It was one of those (rare) times where it almost painted itself, it felt very natural.
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
Keep it simple, plan and be consistent.
At the moment I’m finishing a small painting called “Sunset in the Midlands”, but also I’m planning to do more figure drawing and painting as I’m keen to explore this further.
What are your favourite things to listen to whilst painting? If anything!
I listen to classical or jazz, but not exclusively as it often depends on my mood.