Ilaria Rosselli Del Turco initially trained as an illustrator in Florence and Rome but eventually found that her true passion was for painting portraits and still lifes in oils. She studied painting at Heatherley’s in London and subsequently exhibited at the BP Portrait Award in 2010. Rosselli Del Turco’s paintings are tranquil and quietly poetic, making use of beautiful harmonious colour in compositions that celebrate simple everyday observations. We asked Ilaria about her painting and her new project, an online platform for selling original prints.
Lisa: Why do you make art?
Ilaria: My impulse to “make art” did not start with the art but with the making. I was always a maker of things. I need to have a tangible result of my work: even as a child my favourite activity was making things with paper or knit dolls clothes and I still brandish a drill at any occasion.
I have a great reverence for the word ‘art’ and I find it difficult to use it about what I do in the studio. I rather concentrate on ‘painting’: I ask myself questions on our visual experience, on the pictorial space, on the long history of the painted image. Ultimately it’s quite a self-indulgent activity.
Lisa: What subjects are you drawn to? Does the subject matter you select vary depending on what medium you are working in?
Ilaria: Independently from the medium, I need to have a presence on the canvas, be it an object or a person, that works as a unity of measure of the space. I am not really interested in striving to depict reality as is. I need to make (this word, again!) my painted world.
After a series of failures I recently painted a landscape I like, done in the studio from sketches: a landscape that is remembered more than observed. I might do more, otherwise is still life and figure/portrait.
Lisa: How do your monotypes and paintings relate to one another?
Ilaria: I have to make a confession: I don’t like drawing. Monotypes are my drawings: I work on the same subject as my painting or I work from the painting. I also use them to jot down images that are too “young” in my head to take the form of a painting, or to recall scenes I saw briefly such as a late night encounter with a fox or the Tiber bursting its banks in Rome.
The practise of monotypes has also affected my understanding of tone and edges in oils.
Lisa: What qualities do you need your oil paints to have and what brands do you tend to purchase for your work?
Ilaria: I am very keen on my materials: the physical characteristics of the paint is an important factor for the composition of my palette, which is mainly played on the opacity of transparency of the colours I choose. I mainly use Michael Harding and Winsor and Newton colours. Recently though I fell in love with Williamsburg oils (only online at Jackson’s !) who make a series of French and Italian earths that are wonderfully gritty: they are essential for the dry and almost fresco-like surface of my work.
Lisa: Can you tell us a bit about your family history? It sounds like you descend from a long line of artists…
Ilaria: The Rossellis were a family of Florentine Renaissance painters. I love the figure of Cosimo Rosselli, who painted in the Sistine Chapel and was the beloved master of Piero di Cosimo. The family has recently sponsored the restoration of a beautiful painting by Cosimo from the Uffizi Gallery, now on display for Piero’s Exhibition ( http://www.virtualuffizi.com/the-summer-exhibition-at-the-gallery—piero-di-cosimo,-an-eccentric-genius.html).
It’s great to have this connection to history and it makes me more aware and appreciative of timelessness in painting. If a work of art is too linked to current affairs it will no longer be relevant tomorrow.
Lisa: Please tell us about Print Solo – what motivated you to start this idea?
Ilaria: I am very passionate about art and aside from my work at the easel I wrote a blog for a few years to promote the understanding and appreciation of art and artists.
Print Solo is entirely my idea, an initiative born with the same spirit: it’s an online gallery that focusses on the fine art print and is approached from the point of view of the artist. There are a lot of websites that sell reproductions (and call them prints) as well as websites open to semi-professional printmakers. I wanted to create a platform for the “serious” artist, including those who have printmaking as a secondary medium, printmakers who have been showing for years, are ambitious and experimental.
Lisa: What do you hope to achieve with Print Solo?
Ilaria: I hope that Print Solo will come to represent the best of global printmaking, a website where the general public can discover the solitary French artist or the celebrated Finnish printmaker they didn’t know of and have a chance of asking direct questions about the artworks as well as acquiring them from the artist studio.
PrintSolo.com is live now: we are introducing the project and asking for feedback so I hope your readers will come visit and bookmark it for later!
There will also be a blog for news and a wiki section that explains techniques.
I am particularly keen on the artists’ books section: I think they are very special tactile works of art and I can’t wait to see them on the website.
Lisa: Do you paint full time? If not what other work do you do and how does this inform your painting?
Ilaria: One can only do so many things at one time. Before, it was my young family and painting, now as my sons are growing up, aside from Print Solo which is brand new, I try to go to Italy more often. My work is all centred on the deep emotional connection with Italy.
Lisa: Is there ever a way of saving a failing work of art?
Ilaria: I think that the focus should not be on the “success”of a work of art but, wait for it, on the making. Evaluating a work of art while it is in process can be very frustrating and there’s a danger of fixating a goal, an ideal result the work should tend to thus not being open to other possibilities.
Whether it is a success or a failure, whatever parameters one wants to judge it against, once the painting is done you still need to move on and think about the next one.
Lisa: Where online or in the flesh can we view more of your work?
Ilaria: The next event is in September at the 20/21 British Art Fair with Fine Art Consultancy, who also show me all year round at fairs in UK and abroad. I also have regular solo shows in Italy with Galleria Elle Arte (Palermo) and I am in the roster of Cricket Fine Art in London. My website is ilardt.com and I also post a lot on Facebook and a little less on other social networks.