Italia Ruotolo was born in Naples, Italy. She did classical studies of ancient Greek and Latin. Later she graduated from the Fine Arts Academy of Naples. For many years she worked as a goldsmith and designer. This had a great influence in her painting while in search for the preciousness of the matter. Her style has many influences, as her artistic ideals ranging from pop art to art nouveau. Her source of inspiration is the world that surrounds her, but her art is not realistic in the strict sense, quite the contrary is a sort of travel into a parallel world where the real acts as an element of provocation triggering imaginative reactions. In her art there isn’t any distinction between high and low cultural levels, because she’s aware that the contemporary man lives in a myriad of sensory stimulation and is himself the product of continuing contradiction between what is real and what is mere appearance or mere fiction. We find echoes of these contradictions in her work in constant search of a balance between true and false, past and future. Her work has been displayed in many galleries. Check out more of her work at www.myspace.com/italiaruotolo.
We sit down and ask Italia a few questions about her life and inspiration, and this is what she had to say.
The colorful artwork of Italia Ruotolo is seductive and captivating
Italia: I live in Naples, Italy, an ancient city founded by the Greeks. It is located in southern Italy, overlooking the sea. It has a very special light that is intense and magical. I think that living here has greatly influenced my research about the light effects that I create in my painting.
Arte: What do you do for fun?
Italia: I have no hobbies; my work and my fun converge. When I go out for a walk, I’m actually looking for inspiration. Producing art can be a mission, a blessing or a curse, but I do not define it as real work. I enjoy and am content being in my studio. Especially when I have a good idea to implement. White canvas, loud music, and my leisure travel begin. My desire is that my passion will be shared with other people when my art piece is complete.
Arte: What types of mediums do you use to create your artwork?
Italia: I only use oil colors diluted with turpentine and poppy oil. The support is usually wood prepared with gypsum powder and animal glue. I also use Dutch canvases but only for large art pieces such as Blue Triptych. The use of materials is a fundamental problem for me because the quality of colors determine the success and durability of the artwork. I also do research on the old masters techniques to achieve a high-quality standard. Sometimes I arrange my colors by myself starting from natural pigment powder so that I get very bright colors.
Arte: What galleries have you displayed your artwork in?
Italia: Until two years ago my art exhibition was held in Italy; I made two solo shows in Naples in 2005 and 2006 and numerous exhibitions in Italy. Then I found out the web way and now use it as preferential channel to diffuse my work. The web has done away with so many communication problems. The times before, an artist was forced to physically move their art from location to location in order to make their art known. This took away a lot of time from their artistic activity. You can find my art online on MySpace and Facebook. And I display my work in art shows which have also been displayed in a major exhibition of erotic art in the museum in Zurich, Switzerland. In August I will show a painting at The Hive Gallery in Los Angeles.
Arte: Where does your inspiration come from?
Italia: It may seem bizarre but my inspiration comes from reality. I have an innate taste for observation. I look around and often find something that catches my attention such as an insignificant detail, shape or color, and then my imagination comes into play. I think I just dig to that particular detail that will set in motion my subconscious. The image is developed through sketches and drawings and is always far away from what caused it. Everything becomes surreal and I like to mix together very different things, such as a girl’s hair and white mice, or a Chinese lacquer table with a rooster that walks on it. For example, there is a painting called Golden Years, which shows a cat with a thimble on his head used as a medieval helmet. The inspiration to create this picture came from the fact that my mother is a seamstress and when she sews, she always has her cat under the table. The roses around the cat comes from my mother’s garden, and the golden background is inspired from the song Golden Years by David Bowie that I often listen to while I paint. As you can see, the inspiration comes from the real world but the picture has a completely different depiction, namely it’s surreal.
I look around and often find something that catches my attention such as an insignificant detail, shape or color, and then my imagination comes into play.