Interview with Alessandro Matta

The Florentine painter Alessandro Matta is not only the author of the painting illustrated upon bag Lizzie Rust, but he has also lent his face to interpret the protagonist of the story about it.

During the photo-shoot elaboration, we had a little talk with him to find out something about his work and the birth of this artwork.

Hello Alessandro. Let’s start with a customary question – When did you start painting and why?

To be honest, I started painting when I was “adult” already – my first artwork dates back to 2004. However, I’ve always breathed creativeness at home, since I was child, – in fact, every member of my family has a passion for some kind of art, in its different forms, such as singing, music, or dance. Every one of them has always done it just for pleasure, even though in life, professionally speaking, they deal with other things.

Probably, my daily presence in these conditions has incited my artistic flair. As for me, I began to draw thanks to my father who gave me an album and a charcoal pencil, when I was 5. I enjoyed trying to copy the comic strip characters. Over time, I kept on doing it just to relax, with no pretension or anything. But once, I felt something that I cannot even explain, maybe desire to experiment, or need of changes, I only remember that I went to a store and bought some canvases, brushes and paints. That is how it all started, and never stopped.

As the time went by, I got always closer to the world of art, and I started exhibiting. At first, it was among friends who, like me, had some sort of hobby – from time to time, we organized collective presentations of various artworks, from painting, to photography, and to sculpture. Being a self-taught person, I was surprised to immediately achieve – during these events – a significant critical appreciation from the experts. In the end, in 2006, I took part my first “serious” collective exhibition at the GaMEC (Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art of Bergamo). This venue houses the permanent collections of artworks by Radice, Fontana, and Kandinsky, to name a few.

Over the years, I’ve had a series of personal and collective exhibitions in Italy and abroad, in very prestigious places, like the Quirinal Palace, the House of Dante, the Salvador Dali Museum in Berlin, the Miami River Art Fair, and many others.

Is it the first time that you “lend” your art to a brand? And how is it to work with a brand?

Well yes, I had got to work as an artist with other brands, but for ideas that in the end did not materialize; therefore, this of Lizzie Rust is the first true real project. Actually, I’m a graphic designer, I’ve been working as a freelancer for over ten years; thus, many aspects of the work process were familiar to me.

But perhaps, for the first time, I was able to combine my professional life with that artistic, by creating an artwork that subsequently was placed in a framework that is very unusual for a painting. I had chance to work closely with a team of competent professionals, and it was really amazing to see a painting, entrusted to a close-knit group of people, give birth to all this.

It was also very enjoyable, because, just as you said before, I had lent my face. So, beyond the unusual scenario for the painting, I was directly involved as an artist – and it was a great pleasure to accompany my artwork all along the path.

Let me seize the opportunity to thank Gaetano Bucci and the team of Genetica Marketing – Flavio, Alessia, Erico, Daniel, Daniela, Marion, ed Alessio – for having involved me in this beautiful experience. Apart from some initial problem with the Vespa clutch, I would say it’s gone well!

What was the genesis of this artwork? What inspired you to create it?

This work was born out of the customer’s need. When you make a painting for commission, in most cases, you are suggested an initial trace to be followed. So I had the bases from which to start, but like any self-respecting artist, I’ve added something of mine.

Given the setting, context, and colors to be used, I drew inspiration from Twiggy Lawson, the famous London model of the 60s – a curious character I didn’t know. It was interesting to study the history of this celebrity. For several days, I had been immersed in the Swinging London and Beat Generation atmosphere, inebriated by all the facets characterizing that period.

Which painting technique have you used to create this work?

That of the technique is a subject to which I’m very attached – since I started painting, my purpose has always been to find a style that would identify me both by the way of painting, and by the use of materials.

I work with oil paint and recycled wood. I like the idea that the art can give new life to things, so sometimes I ask my friends and acquaintances if in their attics, there are objects that they want to get rid of, and that can be handy to me. I’ve done the same for Lizzie Rust – I popped round to the carpenter’s shop next to my studio and, he had a lot of scraps of old cutting surfaces accumulated on one side. Inside, there was a piece of wood that was just right for me and that then became Lizzie Rust. An attentive eye will immediately notice that my works don’t have a standard size, the last varies much precisely for this reason. Up to my mind, it’s an additional value making my artworks even more unique.

Which are your favorite subjects to paint and why do you like them so much?

I mostly paint female figures. I had never wondered why, but given that many people asked me about the reason of this choice, I starting thinking of it and came to the conclusion that it could derive from my origins. I was born on the Island of Elba like my mother, while my father was born in Sardinia. I always had this dual insularity, but I have to admit that between the two island, Sardinia is the one that has influenced more my artistic choice.

There, the family is matriarchal, the role of women is crucial, as a keystone around which everything revolves. Besides, in my family, the female presence is extreme – the figure of woman has always been there, so it is almost natural to me to paint them – it’s my way of paying homage to femininity and all that it has represented throughout my life.

Last question. Tell us three words that you would use to describe your art to a stranger.

Essential, immediate, sincere.

You liked the Lizzie Rust story and now you want to buy the bag online?