Lola Scarpitta: the art in the blood

2012-05-14 00:14:32
Monday 00:16:17
May 14 2012

Lola Scarpitta: the art in the blood

Interview by Matteo Cornelius Sullivan

View 166.2K

word 1.5K read time 7 minutes, 16 Seconds

Lola Scarpitta is a well known Californian fourth generation artist… her father is the famous Sal Scarpitta, her grandfathers name also is part of US art history: Salvatore Scarpitta Cartaino and her great-grandfather, Gaetano Cartaino was an excellent sculptor who migrated from Italy and worked in the US a long time ago… is art in the blood? Lets ask her!

Lola, is art in the blood? I think that when there is generation after generation of artists in the family I think that it could be the case. But the person has to be willing to “receive“ the DNA and use it in some way. But some of the greatest artists in the world came from a very different and not artistic DNA, for example Cezanne came from a banking family for some generations and Degas too was from a long line of bankers. Maybe it’s better to have come from bankers so that one can support themselves as artists if the family is willing? Hahahaha! I don’t think hunger ever helped art. I don’t agree with that old fashioned and Bourgeoisie romantic notion of what a “real“ artist should be. Hunger never helped anything except socio-political revolutions. So I guess it’s good for something. But I would rather see artists with a full belly creating their work. Alas, that is just a beautiful fantasy on my part.

Have you been influenced by your father, growing as an artist?

No doubt that there was an deep and complicated influence. The idea of being accepted by him and being called “A fellow artist“ was probably his greatest gift to me. That day came when I was in my 30’s, way after I was through with art school. I was overjoyed when I heard it from him. It meant that I had finally gotten it right. It meant so much more for him to wait and utter that phrase than if he just said it carelessly earlier on in my work. Also, he left Rome when I was about a year old so I met him for the first time when I was five years old when my mother and I moved to NYC from Rome. My mother got a return episode of TB from WWII that first year in NYC so he took me to the studio with him a lot those first 3 or 4 years to give my mother some help for her recovery. And during those years of 5 to 10, I learned volumes of information on technique and mastering the thought to it’s inception. He always said that I was the only one who really understood his work and I think that he may be right! Understanding comes from really experiencing the difficulty of creation along side the person in this case. And I was really a nice little blank slate that was sucking up all that was around me. So do I understand his work and all that went into it? Yes, but that is thanks to him because he shared his thoughts with me from the time I was 5. And I was interested.... I would work alongside him at times. It was really great.

Who or what influenced your art mostly, beside your father?

My Step-father, Stanislaw Zagorski, the very well known and respected graphic artist of countless 1960’s and 1970’s (Record covers, rock and roll posters… The Rolling Stones Tour of 1978 is one, Time Magazine covers and book dust jackets) is still mentoring me and really being my art guru. His guidance to what is my form of art, figurative, has been a key factor to my growth. And also my mother, Clotilde Puntieri Scarpitta Zagorski, who was a portrait artist and graduated from Belle Arti in Rome alongside Salvatore, was instrumental as my technical guide. I would watch her do commission portraits one after the other and I would take mental notes in my head to remember this or that. Anything that looked like I could use in some way. She was a child prodigy. And I think that may have turned her off to art in a way. The elementary school in Rome found out how good a portrait artist she was at a very young age and had her do portrait after portrait of Mussolini to hang in all the lobbies of each school in Rome! She must have gotten so tired of doing the same portrait over and over again! Hahahaha! But it got her in Belle Arti! And there she learned to be an art rebel alongside all of her fellow classmates. Also, I’m an avid lover of art history. I learned that early on from my family and then I went deeper in College where I had a double major, Fine Art and Art History. My plate was full with influences, from Manet to De Kooning, the work of those before me were like beacons of light in my brain. Remember that there is no original thought. It’s all been done before, it’s what YOU do with it that makes it worthy of a repeat or not.

Talking about one of your last paintings where you can see a woman floating in the sky like a balloon hold by a cord in a mans hand… is that something to do with chauvinism?

The painting is life-size and is called “Cosmos Mariner“. It has to do with a boy’s fantasy and not chauvinism. He is becoming a young man and there is crisis at this age between wanting to play and having nothing to do with girls but yet the hormones are kicking in... so I combined the two together in one image, play and hormones. The girl is the “Cosmos Mariner“. She has traveled while on his string and brought back a star for the boy. I think it’s probably a little homage to my sons, really. It’s my love letter to men, to my understanding of them in a very simplistic way. So it’s as far from a painting about chauvinism as one can get!

Is there any metaphysic in your art?

Yes, there is that and there is a certain realism that shows a truth about my life. I am above all a diarist in my work. What you see is what I am and where I have come from.

How would you define your art?

I’m still trying to define it. But I think that the more time passes the more I can see that everything in my reality come through on to that canvas. I’m a diarist in oils with a brush instead of ink and a pen. The images are my words, my stories.

Is it "easy” today to be an artist in the US?

No, but that’s because it’s not easy to be an artist anywhere in the world. Whenever you make your career in something in the arts, it’s as close to masochism as anything I can think of. You never feel secure in your world. As for one country being better than another, I think wherever you have the most ideas for your work, THAT is the best place. Some places I’ve lived in sort of numbed me a bit and I did not paint as much as other places I’ve lived. I don’t know why or even if it was my situation and not the place that made me numb mentally at the time. Today, I’d like to think that you could put me in Alaska and I would still have work inside me! OK, maybe not Alaska...

Are Californian artists somehow different from the other American artists?

Yes, there is a light and giving spirit here that I have not seen anywhere else. Maybe it’s the climate and the beauty. But then again I have only New York to compare to...

Which are the contemporary art waves in the USA?

I think it all goes here...there is no boundary. I show with graffiti artists and conceptual artists. The different movements here play all together like a good concerto or a cacophony of barking dogs. It can be wonderful or perfectly horrible. But I like that!

What are your next art shows going to be about?

I had a one person show last summer and I have not been asked to be in another show since! Hahahaha! I should take that as a hint but the world can’t be that tough... after all, if I like it, chances are good that with 7 billion people in the world, some other people will like it too!

Source by Matteo_Sullivan

Similar Articles / Lola Sca...the blood
from: rockitalia
by: Rockitalia
from: ladysilvia
by: Redazione
from: ladysilvia
by: Matteo_Sullivan