Meet the artist behind the Affordable Art Fair New York campaign, Giulio Zanet, who talks inspiration, the creative process and gallery representation in our latest blog.
Barely a second passed between us first discovering Giulio Zanet and selecting his work for our New York Spring 2023 fair campaign. His paintings are an explosion of colour with dynamic, absorbing movement that perfectly suits the energy of the city. We couldn’t be more excited to celebrate Giulio’s work and welcome him as our next campaign artist.
Giulio is a young artist with a career that is already well-established, with many exhibitions, residencies abroad and awards under his belt. His work is also part of many important collections globally. When it comes to our top artists to invest in, Giulio is certainly on the list.
We were first introduced to Giulio with thanks to Arianna Beretta of Circoloquadro, an independent non-profit space which aims to support emerging artists, bringing their contemporary works to a wider audience. Already knowing Giulio well, we asked Arianna to chat with him about his process, inspiration and gallery representation. Explore the full interview to be in-the-know before the fair.
I probably always breathed a bit of artistic air at home. When I was young my mum played the piano and my dad painted. Then they both stopped over the years, perhaps too busy with us kids or with the necessities of life. When I was a teenager, the first form of expression I approached was music; I tried to learn to play the guitar, I played with friends, but after some time I realised that it wasn’t for me. Then I tried writing stories with the ambition of becoming a writer, but not long after I realised that this wasn’t for me either.
And I haven’t stopped since. I enjoyed it and I was good enough, so I chose it as my language to express everything that I had inside that needed to be expressed.
Yes, absolutely. Any talk about the death of painting makes no sense. So much so that painting is making a huge comeback; there are so many young emerging painters. Painting will make sense as long as human beings exist. It’s mankind’s oldest expressive form, and it connects us to our origins. It makes sense because it’s timeless. It will always find new life in new living artists. Painting is a way of being in the world and I think there will always be people who will choose it as their way.
Everything I do, live, see, read. My inspiration is life. I live, so I paint. I keep asking myself if what I do makes sense, and maybe the fact that deep, deep down it doesn’t is why I keep doing it. That is enough for me in terms of inspiration.
I love so many artists. As a boy I loved Egon Schiele, then I loved Bacon, then Schifano. I still love them all, in addition to Hockney, Sol LeWitt, Burri, Tintoretto, Tiepolo, Matisse, Richter, Malevich, Morris Louis, Ellsworth Kelly. And of course, there’s many others whose names I’ve forgotten. I devour art, I see a lot of it and store it in my memory. And it’s not just painting that influences my work, it’s everything I read and watch – literature and cinema have a great role in my imagination.
I wake up around nine in the morning. After a quick breakfast I walk to the studio, taking the chance to walk my dog too. In the studio I listen to music, I read, I sit and look at what I created the day before or look at the still-blank canvases. I try to imagine what will happen on those surfaces. I work until one o’clock, then I either go home or I stay in the studio and my girlfriend visits so that we can eat lunch together. Around 3pm I start working again and I continue until 7 or 8pm. Then I go to a bar to have an aperitif before returning home, always with my dog. I meet up with my girlfriend again for dinner and we spend the evening together. This is a typical day, but then of course there are days where I don’t do anything, and days where instead of staying in the studio I go to see exhibitions or meet up with friends.
I’m not sure. There have been exhibitions and awards that I consider important moments in my journey. I was chosen for a residence in Berlin, won the Cairo and Lissone awards, had a personal exhibition at Circoloquadro and another at Fonderia Battaglia, but I haven’t really felt like I’ve reached a pinnacle. I guess, if something memorable occurs, we’ll know it after I’m gone!
I usually start by choosing the base material – I use paper, canvas, PVC, various fabrics – after which I throw some colour on it, very instinctively, almost randomly.
Then, more rationally, I try to create some order within the initial chaos I made. So, it’s often about removing things. This is an aspect that I consider important in my work. There’s a lot of error and failure, and an awareness of defeat. It’s like life, we all know we have to die, but we don’t kill each other because of it.
I try to promote my work as much as possible. I use the relationships that I’ve gradually created with those working in the arts, and with the public. And then I try to use social media which these days is of significant importance, even though I think I’m not very good at it. Being represented by a gallery is definitely important but not essential. It acts like a guarantor, as if it guarantees the quality of your work. It’s a question of reputation.
Definitely the interactions. The people that I have gotten to know over the years, thanks to what I do, is the part of my career that makes me confident I followed the right path.
I continue to feel lucky and privileged doing what I do, despite the many difficulties in having made this choice.
Keep your eyes peeled for Giulio’s work in the run up to Affordable Art Fair New York (22 – 26 March 2023) and fuel your latest obsession by following his socials (@giulio_zanet).
Make sure to stay in the loop with ticket offers, new exhibitors and all the updates on what is set to be another amazing Spring fair. We can’t wait to see you there!
All images are of artist Giulio Zanet, with his bright colourful works.