614. ‘The Art People’ Spotlight Curaçao Artist Giovani Zanolino

The Art People, a community of artists and art lovers from around the world — with over 91,000 Facebook Fans — has recently profiled awesome Curaçao artist Giovani Zanolino in “Live to Create”. Giovani has already been featured in two 1000 Awesome Things about Curaçao posts as ‘supporting artist’ (see: #709. Zanolinos’ Psychedelic Banda Bou Trip and #648. Curaçao’s Lysa De Windt: Changing the World One Photograph at a Time)… So it’s high time he received his own post!

Giovani's take on Degas. Excerpt from the article: Giovani’s gorgeous, hugely compelling and richly-layered digital series entitled “Masters At Work” is an inviting, eye-opening homage to the work of some of the world’s greatest artists – that succeeds in bridging the “digital divide” between young and old, acting like a “portal” to a previously contained and often inaccessible world.

Giovani’s take on Degas. Excerpt from the article: ‘Giovani’s gorgeous, hugely compelling and richly-layered digital series entitled “Masters At Work” is an inviting, eye-opening homage to the work of some of the world’s greatest artists – that succeeds in bridging the “digital divide” between young and old, acting like a “portal” to a previously contained and often inaccessible world.’

Giovani Zanolino was born into art. His father, the artist Philippe Zanolino – who studied medicine in Bordeaux, France – abandoned a more conventional career many years ago “for the love of Freedom and Art,” and has worked as an artist ever since. He introduced Giovani to art as a young child: “I’ve always been surrounded by [art]. I spent hours of my childhood playing in my father’s atelier, subconsciously picking up on many of his techniques, [his] use of color, contrast, and content.” Giovani, in turn, worked on his first canvas when he was about six years old: “I begged my father for a piece of canvas. After some determination on my part, he gifted me a piece of his expensive Belgian linen and stretched it for me. I painted a bird and collaged the clouds… I guess it was a premonition of things to come. Collage became my main [vehicle] for creative expression and I was… naturally attracted to it at a young age. Birds became [important] symbols in our work. [We played with the expression] “Vole Love” – “Vole is the French word for “fly” – so with “Vole Love,” all flying objects became love objects in our work.”

Giovani creates art for a living and lives to create art: “It’s what keeps me going and it is my purpose. I have a joint gallery with my father on Curaçao, but I sometimes have to get a job here and there… when sales are [rough]. I also sell prints internationally to interested parties.” Giovani’s art is inspired by the work of several masters: “Other artists [who] have influenced my work are Picasso for quality and collection, Dali for his composition and use of space, Basquiat for his raw power and color, Rembrandt for his use of contrast. I also have a particular affinity for Marc Chagall. But this is just [to mention] a few, because truly every masterwork I have come into contact with has benefitted me and my art greatly. Now [that I am] older, I have [a] newfound respect and esteem for Renoir. Something about his works really captivates me.”

Good and Bad Days

Giovani is devoted to the creative process, often spending upwards of twelve hours a day working. He explains that these periods give him great pleasure, but admits that his days are not always so easy, especially when balancing the demands of part-time work against the pursuit of his artistic vision: “[It] really fluctuates – the good periods. Sometimes, [for] months at a time, [my days] consist of waking up, [drinking] coffee, [working] twelve hours [per day] with tiny breaks here and there to… eat and drink a little something. But basically, [I work] twelve to fourteen hours straight on the good days. [On those days, I am] so productive that when I go over the production of the day, I sometimes even get tears of gratitude. [On] bad days, I can… barely get a proper hour of work in. Motivation can dwindle and inspiration won’t be forced. [I also have to do some] self-promotion, as well as taking care of business. But honestly, I wish I could have twelve hour creation days all the time. It is such a pleasure that [I am] willing to let it consume [me]. The worst is when I have to take part-time jobs and get home so tired I can’t work. This can cost months of productiveness…”

“Masters At Work”

Giovani’s gorgeous, hugely compelling and richly-layered digital series entitled “Masters At Work” is an inviting, eye-opening homage to the work of some of the world’s greatest artists – that succeeds in bridging the “digital divide” between young and old, acting like a “portal” to a previously contained and often inaccessible world. Giovani describes his current work as follows: “I painted and did collage for eight years, but now I have entered a digital period and most of my creative output is done with a computer. Right now, I am doing a series called “Masters At Work.” I pick a Master Artist. I go through his collection and biography. Then… I create a collage using his works… I respect his life. I add the wife, the children, the beloved mistress, the respected parents. Whatever I feel is most important to them.”

“First, I learn a lot about [the] artists and their collections [to] add value to my own work. Second, I pay homage to [the] Masters I respect and love. Third, [whether] curious viewers or connoisseurs, [I hope that others will] read the [Master’s] life, [to] see and feel the energy of artists who truly left us many gifts – gifts that many of us will never… get to experience. So it is a chance to teach our generation about valuable art history. The big bonus is [that] there is a personal transfer of energy between the artists. It’s as if they are communicating with you while you do the work, hence the eerie name “Masters At Work.” [I am inspired by] curiosity, study of the artist and the self, adoration and a feeling of kinship.”

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Art as Life

Giovani believes that art has affected him on a very personal level, on a spiritual and on a practical level, changing his perspective and his way of doing things – even altering the way he thinks about creativity itself: “It has given me proof of a higher self. It has given me purpose. It has given me companionship. It has given me a way to express myself, even the subconscious self. It gives me answers when I am in need. It has given me profound lessons in philosophy and spirituality. It has given me the courage not to settle for less.” Through his art, Giovani hopes to continue his pursuit of truth: “I hope it helps me to keep [going] and [to] shed the illusions… until I can finally savor the truth we are so desperately trying to get back to. I hope that by example, and by leaving a visual trail of my life – all the suffering and love – I might, like our great predecessors, give some aid to the seekers who follow, so that our communal knowledge will be of use and help our world progress to a state of bliss.”

Giovani’s advice to artists who are just starting out: “Be courageous, very courageous. Have the guts to make what comes out of the deepest [part] of your soul, even if people don’t like it, don’t buy it, and don’t consider it beautiful. Be strong enough to make mistakes and follow your intuition. Have the balls to throw paint, splash it, walk over it. Have the courage to love yourself. But most of all, enjoy it. You are having a direct experience with the universe’s creative energy. Beware of the Ego, especially when people start loving your work. Be humble and give back. The point of art is to share with the people. So share your message.” 

Self-Portrait Giovani Zanolino.

Self-Portrait Giovani Zanolino.

“I think fear is the number one killer of true art and humanity.” – Giovani Zanolino

Follow Giovani on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Giovani-Zanolino/567535193263904

About 1000awesomethingsaboutcuracao

I'm Carolina Gomes-Casseres, the creator of 1000 Awesome Things About Curaçao. I live in and love Manhattan, but sometimes miss my first Awesome island...

3 comments

  1. Nice work. That phrase of Renoir is one of my favourites, that defines what his artwork was. Beauty pure. That is my opinion, but it can be diferent for each person. The beauty idea conception is not always the same.

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