In his new body of work, Andrea Carpita focuses on isolated snapshots of daily life. These depictions explore creative motifs and establish a relationship between painting, digital drawing, and photography. Intrigued by mixing the figurative and abstract, Carpita achieves this through digitally manipulated visualizations, playing with abstract forms in detached and lonesome compositions. Forming a pictorial vocabulary between figurative imagery and abstraction, Carpita presents anonymous, mainly male, figures whose actions appear photographically captured. Showcasing fidelity in details and retaining elaborate depictions, these scenes seem to simulate simple daily actions such as smoking a cigarette, reading a book or even just opening a car door. The artist’s compositions evoke contemporary readings of reality, which look familiar to the viewer.
Words: Yannis Kostarias
For his process, Carpita relies on discovering photography and music art on the internet. He clarifies the importance of finding these images. “I explore websites or social networks, selecting a series of photographs that will compose my future paintings,” the artists adds. These sources build the first base of his paintings, ultimately developing into something beyond the initial references. “I spent the past two years working on Kurt Cobain and Daniel Johnston. I’m still working on it because they are extremely connected between them and with me, -when I was a teenager, I was so obsessed with Nirvana, grunge music and 90’s subculture.” In these new paintings, the artist expresses his personal experiences into new forms of creativity on his canvases. A sort of painting language continues in the new body of work through a dark colour palette, minimalistic techniques and urban aesthetics. Either the work presents a clear image of a young man, or it creates a focus on a greater image. It could be a headless portrait of a man crossing his arms or a profile of a man that is rendered in a cropped snapshot. These works confirm the artist’s concentration on detail-oriented imagery and particular visualizations.
When it comes to bigger images, the representation becomes more abstract and minimalistic. Facial features are evidently avoided; digital glitches offer a more vague style; and minimalistic dots usually replace eyes. Previous works were developed on the idea of contour lines, which outline the paintings’ visual structure such as in Minimum Portrait (Soaked in bleach), 2017, and Minimum Portrait (Goodnight, Olga), 2017. The paintings are based on a range of lines that vaguely form the shape of a portrait, including some sparse dots that offer another minimalistic approach. These techniques are used less in the latest body of work than figurative portrayals of the human figure. Dark blue, black and grey tones dominate Carpita’s work and typify the moody and shadowy spirit of the paintings. In addition, the gloomy colours often create a contrasting energy with pastel, soft and delicate shades. Carpita’s portrayal of light and space deliver a balance of melancholy and mystery.
Born in 1988, Andrea Carpita lives and works in Carrara, Italy. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara in 2015. His new D-solo show ‘IN MY ROOM’ is on view at The Flat – Massimo Carasi.
Can you tell us about the process of making of your work?
Right now, my making process starts from the Internet: I explore websites or social networks selecting a series of photographs that will compose my future paintings. Then, I reproduce several digital drawings from the photograph (I could call them digital sketches) and usually this is the hardest part of the process. The final stage is very traditional, I choose the work size and I paint my favorite digital sketch on a canvas. I develop my work with a standard painting process using contemporary means. Why?Because I always tried to find my perfect balance between abstraction and figuration and in this way I can paint a portrait as if it were an abstract work; element by element, layer by layer.
How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)?
One word: hungry.
Can you name any artists you, lately or generally, get your inspiration from?
Every time someone asks me this, I don’t have a clear answer because I love so many painters for different reasons and I never ask myself where I draw my inspiration from. I can only tell you who I really love in this moment: Mark Thomas Gibson, Laura Owens, Henni Alftan, Jules de Balincourt, Alex Katz. My inspiration comes from, a lot of it, Anime, Manga, Graphic Novels.
Are there any new painting ideas, themes or even techniques that you presented on your new body of work at your last exhibition at The Flat- Massimo Carasi?
I spent the past two years working on Kurt Cobain and Daniel Johnston. I’m still working on it because they are extremely connected between them and with me (when I was a teenager, I was so obsessed with Nirvana, grunge music and 90’s subculture). The purpose of these series is talking about me without me, it’s a sort of autobiographical work. My recent exhibition at The Flat – Massimo Carasi shows just one part of this body of work and wants to create a strange and unusual dialogue between me and Michael Bevilacqua. I’m really proud of this exhibition, my work is different from Michael’s, but similar at the same time. I think we’ve been able to create a real relationship dictated by the difference from a common attitude.
Could you share some further details regarding your recent painting named ‘Portrait on Black Floor’, (2019) with us?
I don’t want to explain too much because everyone can see something different in the same painting and I really don’t know how much I can explain about it.
“Portrait on Black Floor”, represents Kurt Cobain smoking a 100’s cigarette, while sitting on a black wooden floor. I chose that image because he looks shy and meditative, but the truth is that like in every painting in my recent solo show, this is a portrait of a figure who obsessed and changed me, a painting that gave me joy and pleasure.
Creating a new painting can be a solitary process. If this applies to you, when you concentrate on a new artwork does it affect your social life at all?
I’m antisocial. I don’t know how much it affects me, because I don’t have a social life.
How do you know when a painting is finished?
There isn’t a correct way to finish a painting. I wait until I feel something like a soft voice from the canvas telling me: “ Hey, I’m finished”.
What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space like, and how does it affect your process?
I work in my house, in a room, in a little town far from distractions and it helps me because my process is really slow. I need time and here I can work slowly and peacefully, up to ten hours a day.
Which exhibition did you visit last?
Luca Bertolo, “ Why Write? Why Paint?” at Spazio A, Pistoia.
What do you hope audiences will take from your work?
What I hope is a mutual exchange. I can give something to the audience but sometimes the opposite happens .
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I’m a vampire who wakes up early in the morning.
Which are your plans for the near future?
I like to stay in my studio and work, so I will do it. This is my plan.
© All images are courtesy of the artist