The Bird of Self-Knowledge , Anonymous, 18th Century

                                                                                          The Bird of Self-Knowledge, Anonymous, 18th Century


Painting is an adventure for me. I paint to discover what I’m about, where am I, who is hiding beneath the surface. I start by working with a female model or an animal and then enjoy the journey that follows for days and sometimes months. My style is an intuitive and spontaneous evolution of my feelings, without any pretense to belong to a specific school of thought. Painting is a conversation with the unknown, with the mysterious, with the unspeakable, and a childhood game with colors. It’s the most important way that I have to play and get lost in wonder.

Perhaps because I am a Gemini, I have two quite different styles: the first one is studio painting, always based on a live female model, expressionistic and whimsical yet somewhat figurative. The second one is what I call 'The Perplexed Animals Series': a series, in fact, of exuberant, magical and very talkative creatures that I also reproduce on limited editions prints, posters, greeting cards, and fabric. What these two styles have in common is my desire to give these creatures (human and not) an identity that resides mostly in their eyes, and that never belonged to them in the first place but is a combination of me, them, the surroundings and the mystery that called them in. It is my joy and my intention to create worlds that have a foot in a recognizable reality, and the other in an intriguing and inspiring unknown one.

My inspiration to paint comes often from other painting fellows, alive and dead. I have studied with Joe Blaustein for over 10 years and he has been a consistent provider of different approaches to painting and drawing, along with brilliant mentorship (he is the subject of my documentary The Dog and the Duck). Among my main sources of excitement are Gustav Klimt, Degas, Leonardo Da Vinci, Vermeer, Bosch, mediaeval illuminated manuscripts, Eastern European folk art, Egon Schiele, old fairy tales, mythology, Jungian psychology, shamanism, mediaeval architecture, ancient trees and English gardens. My Italian roots always bring me to seek for the marvelous and in a certain way the sublime. I know a painting is finished when it feels like Italy to me – when I have made that trip home with my imagination and have painted it for others to see.

Silvia Gallini