Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your work
My name is Jason, Italian visual artist currently based between Italy and Canada.
I have always been surrounded by art, both my parents worked in the field, so I grew up in this environment of visual stimulations. I would say that art was brought to me and during the years it allowed to become the expression of my feelings where words weren’t enough. I always felt that I was different from others, kind of an outsiders. During times when I preferred to spend my time alone, visual art was always a company and vehicle to make me feel part of something.
How is your personality reflected in your work?
My driving force is to push further into experimentation and the unknown. I can say that It's like a personal quest to find that something that you haven't found yet, an expression of inner feelings that represents the invisible to others. For me Art in general is the best expression of the human being and an universal language that breaks all the possible barriers.
Tell us about the themes you pursue in your work
I very much prefer working from the photographs taken to people I know, my models are most of times people I had the chance to know so that while transporting their image on canvas I can add characteristics that I remember through shapes and colours.
I couldn’t attempt to do a portrait from photographs of somebody I didn’t know but, if I both know them and have photographs of them, I find it easier to work than actually having their presence in my studio. I think that if I have the presence of the model in my room I won’t be able to drift so freely as i am with the photographic image. I feel free when I’m alone with their memory, it allows me to distort the thing far beyond the appearances.
What art do you most identify with?
What do you think the role of the artist is in society? How can artists raise awareness for mental health?
It is always hard to explain the meaning of painting in words, especially if it is yours. What I can explain is the reason I paint and it could be that we may wish to capture the experience of seeing something to which we respond, in some way, on canvas. Our visual experience continues further, becomes richer, deeper and fuller as we paint it. A dialogue, a conversation, begins. Our marks on the canvas are our response to the voice, the tastes, and the touches we see.
The real mistake we make as visual artists is to assume that what we see when we paint is something separate from us, that we simply observe or measure or record with our eyes. However, when we touchback or respond with our brush we begin something sensual, a dance of sorts, and a conversation. So this is an important truth: to make a mark on canvas is to open the door of possibility to be moved profoundly and to move others. That is what painting is all about. That is the heart and soul of painting.
How do you cope with days that are overwhelming, frustrating, and otherwise tough? What helps you bounce back?
It’s not something you can turn off. It bubbles up when you least expect it. If you would allow it, it would consume every waking minute of every day. You work hard to fit in to the normal world…family obligations, work, the challenges of everyday life. But, admit it, all you can think about is that unfinished painting, sculpture, poem, or whatever, fill in the blank. You know you are different.
What advice would you give to young aspiring artists – especially if they are living with mental health conditions?
Artists need to redefine themselves for themselves so they can educate the people around them to accept the fact that art making is an integral part of who they are as individuals, it is NOT a job, NOT a career, NOT a profession and NOT something you chose. It chooses YOU.