An unexpected flexibility of space, texture, colour and pattern is taking place in Dominic Dispirito‘s (b. 1982) art practice. It intertwines forms of analog paintings with digitally constructed paintings and sculptures. It is a kind of new painting genre that enthusiastically takes advantage of the modern technology and brings the digital experience to the art world, while evidently inducing more artists to interact with art mediums beyond the traditional. This digital approach characterises Dispirito’s visual expression; in fact, most of his recent body of work has mainly been created on his iPhone. “I make animations and digital studies which I then translate into acrylic on canvas where I mimic the textures and the colours that you find on the screen”, Dispirito says.
Words: Yannis Kostarias
Although this challenging shift in painting usually tends to bring more abstract and minimal painterly works by other emerging painters, Dispirito’s imagery is predominately concentrated on the figurative approach. It is quite rare to come across an artist who does employ funny, sad or even personal subjects and characters, rather than a generic body of work based on digitally-influenced techniques. By sketching a great deal of daily and colourful scenes with seemingly simplistic lines, Dispirito copes with the emotional depth of his cartoonish characters having a wide range of expressions. The resulting painting is reminiscent of the imagery made with the use of digital tools on smartphones or computers, but what is more interesting is the artist’s approach to form, colour, shape and tone rendering an alternative dimension in his works. Bearing in mind the artist’s creative fluidity between digital and analog methods, Dispirito’s fantasy successfully builds a distinctive visual language that certainly attracts the eye.
While the artist is mainly interested in illustrating everyday scenes, such as a man lying on a bench or arrested by the police or people fighting, there is also a profound emphasis on emotional, individual or even impressionistic depictions of his painted figures.
Dispirito’s work regularly embodies autobiographic memories. As the artist himself explains: “with my painting ‘Pissed Again’, there is a solitary character laying on a park bench with a can of Carlsberg on the ground. The character is me, I’m in recovery from alcoholism”. From another point of view and taking into consideration artworks such as “The Last Train to Pricksville”, “It’s Kicking off round the manor” or “I am from LDN where the sky is dreary”, the London-based artist seems to be attracted by motifs and pictures of the modern British urban landscape.
Dispirito is a British artist living in London, who studied Fine Arts at the Middlesex University and recently completed a postgraduate degree in painting at Slade School of Art in London. He received the Adrian Carruthers Studio Award in 2017 and was also nominated for the Boise Travel Award in 2017.
In his interview with Art Verge, Dominic Dispirito shares his approach on art issues and provides some interesting insights about his daily life. Check it out!
Art Verge: Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
Dominic Dispirito: All of my work starts off with using apps on my I-phone, I make animations and digital studies which I then translate into acrylic on canvas where I mimic the textures and the colours that you find on the screen.
AV: How would you define your work in few words (ideally in 3 words)?
DD: Funny, sad and personal.
AV: Can you name any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?
DD: Andy Warhol has always been a big influence for me.
AV: Could you briefly share with us the story behind of a recent painting of yours? Which thoughts made you start working?
DD: I usually start a study with the first thing that comes to my mind. It’s really simple. With my painting “pissed again”, there is a solitary character laying on a park bench with a can of Carlsberg on the ground. The character is me, I’m in recovery from alcoholism.
AV: Creating a new painting is a solitary process. If this applies to you, when you concentrate on a new artwork does it affect your social life at all?
DD: Hahahaha. Yhhh well, it can be for sure. It affects my social life if I let it affect my social life. I am really addicted to making art and so yes I do quite often let it affect my social life. But, actually, because I’m in recovery I need to keep my social life alive.
AV: How do you know when a painting is finished?
DD: Something tells me to stop, something which is greater than me, like the law of the universe or something like that.
AV: Which exhibition did you visit last?
DD: Wade Guyton at the Serpentine galleries.
AV: What do you hope audiences will take from your work?
DD: I wish my audience to get a sense of enjoyment, a sense of being human and a spiritual connection to the work. But at the end of the day, I want them to be free to respond the way they would like to respond.
AV: What does your mum think about your art?
DD: Hahahaha. It’s either good or bad.
AV: Are you a morning person or a night owl?
DD: I love getting up early in the morning ready to enjoy the day ahead.
AV: Is the glass half empty or half full?
DD: I think my brain naturally tries to trick me sometimes, but I do my best to be positive.
AV: Which are your plans for the near future?
DD: More work, more shows and hopefully gallery representation.
Jeeze! I almost for got to mention my brother @dominic_dispirito is having a two person show with @cristina_banban next week @the.dot.project – the PV is on Thursday 5th October. These two are pushing the boundaries of figurative painting. I'm really excited to see what you guys come up with. Good luck with the install! ✌🏻 (posted by @oli.epp )