Mario Loprete is an Italian artist who communicates to the public through his work, his emotions, and everyday experiences. Moments and inspirations transposed in various creative mediums: from painting to sculpture. Continuous experimentation and the discovery of new techniques brought by art and represent a great interest for the artist, a fact visible throughout his artistic career. The art and the artist: two components that support each other, whose connecting process we will find out through the exclusive interview with the artist Mario Loprete. Along with the #Modicinterview, the artist has numerous participations in exhibitions and around participation in exhibitions another 400 appearances in international magazines, supporting and promoting the thing he believes in the most: his art.
1. Why art? You said that painting was your first love, how did you discover your talent?
I have had a strong aptitude for drawing since I was a child. I drew a lot. Then I met painting, and I was literally enraptured by it. Shaping the figures with color, capturing the poetry and the emotions that they managed to communicate to me, this has always been my path, being a painter, right from the start.
2. When did you make your first art piece and when did you realize it was an actual work of art?
The drawings were already a source of pride for a child and a teenager like me. One day my father, gave me for my birthday a campaign easel and oil paints. My first work was a landscape, it wasn’t a masterpiece, indeed looking at it with the eyes of an artist that I am today: it was quite ugly. But he understood one very important thing, I was very happy with the result and wondered incredulously if it was me who had done it. Art is a fire. And any fire starts from a spark. That was my spark.
3. What do you like about your work? Do you have a favorite work of art? (Yours or someone else’s)
I like my job very much. I like to experiment, learn about new techniques, which reset my knowledge to restart with the study of new materials and new languages. There are some works that I have kept to myself because they represent a passage from knowledge to knowledge. Above all the art works, FABRI FIBRA, an oil on reinforced concrete piece and a portrait of a well-known Italian rapper on a reinforced concrete formwork that I built ad hoc.
4. What role do you think the artists have in society?
Artists must understand, study, and analyze the world around them. This mental photograph, elaborated with culture and sensitivity, gives the artist through his own works a key to understanding his way of interpreting reality. I love direct and easy to understand art. Art is universal and this must remain, available to all. In my visits to museums and galleries, I often came across incomprehensible works, even after reading the critical and didactic text. The business creates fashion artists and fashions, and as Wilde said: fortunately only last 6 months.
5. In your last years you have focused more on sculpture, so, how has your technique and practice changed over time?
For my concrete sculptures, I use my personal clothing. Through my artistic process in which I use plaster, resin, and cement, I transform these articles of clothing into artworks that cand be hung. The intended effect is that my DNA and my memory remain inside the concrete, so the person who looks at these sculptures is transformed into a type of postmodern archeologist, studying my work as urban artefacts.
I like to think that those who look at my sculptures created in 2020/2022 will be able to perceive the anguish, the vulnerability, the fear that each of us has felt in front of a planetary problem that was covid 19…. Under a layer of cement there are my clothes with which I lived this nefarious period. Clothes that survived covid 19, very similar to what survived after the 2,000-year-old catastrophic eruption of Pompeii, capable of recounting man’s inability to face the tragedy of broken lives and destroyed economies.
6. Does painting and sculpture give you completely different feelings and experiences?
Painting for me is my first love. An important, pure love. Creating a painting, starting from the spasmodic research of a concept through which I want to transmit my message, this is the foundation of painting for me. The sculpture is my lover, my artistic betrayal to the painting, that voluptuous and sensual lover that inspires different emotions which strike prohibited chords.
7. Do you try to convey this difference between painting and sculpture to the viewers as well?
I remember a good film by Woody Allen, in which he explains to a girl the difference between a painting and a contemporary sculpture: if it’s hung on the wall, it’s a painting, if you walk around, it it’s a sculpture. This is true and goes for the incomprehensible works I mentioned earlier. For me, painting and sculpture have a single goal: to tell a story, to excite, to ask questions, and to intrigue.
8. Before doing sculptures in your artistic career, you made many realistic paintings, including portraits. How much do you think you can express through a portrait?
My artistic projects are represented hand in hand by painting and sculpture. They are two distinct and separate worlds held together by common factors such as concrete and hip-hop representation. I get much more excited about a painting through the process of creating it, because there is greater planning. The search for a subject, eliminating the pleonastic parts, adding my emotions, my experience. Some of the portraits I have in the studio I started more than 10 years ago, they are constantly evolving, every now and then I keep retouching them by bringing new technical knowledge and greater experience.
9. What does the fact that you insert your personal clothes into the sculptures mean to you besides your memory and eternal imprint? Do you feel that those who look at your work understand your experiences through clothes?
My sculptures start from my personal clothes, my memories, my experiences, from me being an artist, a man, and a witness, all those are crystallized inside. Whoever takes one of my sculptures really takes a part of me, the person tries to look at a photo of you from many years ago. But now, it’s you inside the clothes worn in that photo. Now, try to remember what you thought about in all those particular moments of your life, what you did in that period, what you read, what you ate, who was next to you and shared your daily life with. Have you thought about everything I told you? Did I intrigue you? This is what my sculptures want to give you: curious questions for introspective answers. If this is what it communicates to you, my work is on the right track.
10. What truly inspires you and what work do you most enjoy doing?
I often compare my work as an artist to that of a diviner. He is looking for water, I am looking for strength in my work, that strength that makes the substantial difference in the world of art. Like the diviner I search in hip-hop and in everyday life.
11. What is your creative process? Do you work every day?
I work always, and always, and always …
12. Do you think that in the artistic field you have to be persistent to be successful or you must really feel and enjoy the creative process and that’s how the results will appear?
Success for an artist is recognition, acclaim, and sales. Everything can be concentrated in the days of the vernissage of one’s exhibitions, which will be around 10/15 days a year under the spotlights. The remaining 350 days the judicious artist stays in the studio to work, because only hard work pays off in the end.
13. How do you think the public relates to your art? Do you think you are addressing a broad or niche audience?
The public loves my artwork because it is direct, sophisticated, and contemporary. The public hate my work because it is banal, obvious, and predictable. I have always tried to explain my art in a simple, direct, and professional way. If in the last 5 years, about 480 international magazines, from Alaska to New Zealand, have celebrated my work on their pages, there must be a reason. I like to think that it’s for all the reasons why someone loves it or hates it, but the important thing is that it intrigued. On a musical level there is classical and rock music. I love calling myself pop.
14. Do you have a dream project? Or professionally, do you have a goal?
I have a dream and a goal that have only one solution: to work for a top international gallery that values my work for what it really deserves.
15. What does success mean to you?
Travelling around the world following my art.
16. Are you currently working on any project? If so, what is it about?
I believe much in this project and there will be expose in these events exhibitions already scheduled:
– from 5 June 2023 at AVAPAI COLLEGE PRESCOTT ART GALLERY of Prescott Arizona U.S.A.
– from 14th August 2023 at Overcash Gallery – Central Piedimont Community College in Charlotte – North Carolina, USA
– from 1st October 2023 at Nantwick Museum – Nantwick – U.K.
Interview by Gregor Erin Beatrice
Photos taken from Mario’s Instagram