by Poppy Field I digiQualia.com
As an Art History undergraduate, I spend a substantial amount of time with my eyes fixed upon an image or nose in a book…. in these moments my thoughts revolve around times gone by.
But, I also reflect upon my own life. I love to remember the wonderful year I spent sculpting, drawing, laughing, crying, eating, sleeping and breathing amongst actual real-life artists in Florence.
It is in these moments that I imagine the future and cannot help but chuckle. Trained in academic techniques, these artists are going to cause such problems for future generations of Art Historians. It is with the deepest respect that I judge none more so than the painter Marc Dalessio.
Yet, Marc does not deny the convenience of innovation. He recognizes that various manufactured colours are very similar to those he might make. And so, alongside his traditional hand-ground paints, Marc has been known to apply Williamsburg cadmiums and Old Holland blues.
With pigment analysis considered a vital technique in dating artwork, I am certain that Marc’s combination of media and methods will surprise future restorers.
Angel Ramiro Sanchez, the Director of Advanced Painting at the FAA, describes such commissions as “creating a biography of the sitter.”
A patron may have a vision of themselves or the loved one who is to be painted… perhaps a “romanticized notion” which can create unrealistic expectations as well as pressure. Needless to say, it is vital to maintain a good relationship. I have been lucky enough to interview Ramiro – it was then that he revealed the difference between painting patrons and friends:
Where can we place artists like Marc and Ramiro in the canon of Art History? Can an academic training the grounding in bargue drawings and hours spent before a live model be considered the defining characteristic. Neo-what I wonder? Or are they simply the continuation of a practice that cannot be pigeon holed.
Whilst at The Florence Academy of Art (FAA) I often found myself sitting for friends. To maintain a pose for a quick sketch is one thing. To spend a few hours each day in that same position is another. Of course, with distraction this becomes easier. Ione Hunter Gorden ensured that I was comfortable for the following portrait by playing a stream of chick flicks.
The experience of sitting for the sculptor Johanna Schwaiger so affected me that I wrote an entire article about it!
Yet, ensuring a patron’s comfort is not always a painter’s greatest challenge.
Marc has identified that his patrons tend to have one of two distinctive mindsets. The majority entertain the modern notion that “the artist is a solitary genius who demands complete creative freedom and control” while a fraction still maintain a more ‘historic’ approach. That is, they consider themselves “as the producer of the work and the artist as a means to that end”.
Surprisingly, Marc prefers the latter. He believes that to create something significant an artist must have boundaries to push against.
So, commissions are a tricky business. Especially if a patron has “strong opinions and doubtful taste.” Thankfully, Marc has allowed me to pass on a little of his advice; “be polite to the staff, don't get paint on anything and, at dinner, start from the outside with the silverware!”
For over a decade, Marc has exhibited his personal work at the Grenning Gallery in Long Island. This has exposed his work to a wealthy community and enabled him to grow his clientele. It has also allowed Marc to spend his summers there! He has observed that an artist “being inspired by an area acts as a great validation” for the locals.
It is evident that Marc combines his talent with a sound business sense. As Simon Fletcher revealed in digiQualia’s previous blog post, this is how to succeed in today's world.