I went to visit my brother in Tuscany, near Florence and while there I went to visit an artist I’ve loved for a long time: Roberto Cipollone or Ciro as he likes to be called after the name of a Persian king.
He creates works of art using abandoned materials he reassembles infusing them with new life. Nails, old sawing tools, coloured tins, wooden boards weathered by time. Everything in his hands is transformed into an original piece. He tries to gather and reveal what the object is in itself, going beyond its original function.
Lately he’s been creating ceramic Raku heads that he uses for the construction of whimsical medieval knight-like figures.
His workplace is full of amazing objects; you could spend hours there exploring.
Here is a video filmed in his studio.
While I was in Sicily, in Palermo the capital, I went back, as usual, to a place I used to work in many years ago: Magia. It’s a fantastic shop specialized in ethnic jewellery and artefacts. Originally created in the 80′s by Fortunato, a good friend who passed away some years ago.
Their gorgeous displays of amazing necklaces, rings, earrings are a must see. Beads from Nagaland ( the head cutting tribe), ambers from Turkmenistan, turquoise from Nepal when trading was more like a creative thing… Most pieces are reinvented by Daniela, an incredibly skilled artisan and artist whose precious craftsmanship is admired by many lovers of beautiful things. You can also buy some of my fabric brooches there.
The shop, unfortunately, doesn’t have a web-site but for those of you who plan to go to Palermo the shop is in ‘Via XX Settembre’ right in the centre of this interesting city.
I spent ten days in Sicily. A place I know quite well.
The weather was very pleasant, as usual, you can never get wrong there. Blue sky, sun and a certain saltiness in the air are constant features in this land of amazing contrasts.
While I was there I came across a lovely exhibition, thanks to a good friend of mine who knew about it, in one of the fantastic old palaces in the historical centre: Palazzo Sant’ Elia.
A retrospective of Monreale born painter Antonino Nacci who died some years ago when he was only 50 years old.
From oil paintings quite modern and sketchy, with bits of old sacks of coffee collaged onto the background, dating back from the very beginning of his artistic adventure to unusual sand and pigment panels reminiscent of oriental art.
I liked the exhibition very much and I was happy to see a show of this scale in a fantastic contest like this immaculately restored old building.
I’ve been away for more than twenty days. It’s been an interesting journey, a bit too long at times. It’s funny how sometimes the most obvious things are the ones you miss the most. My very large mug full of aromatic coffee, the books I have on my side table which are my constant source of inspiration and even the darkness inside my house… Longing for something is so unexpected…
The Bologna book fair was both interesting and challenging as usual. It’s one of those events that If you don’t go you wish you’d gone but when you’re there, well apart from your legs aching, you feel as small as a thistle in a breeze. I can’t find any other way of expressing this feeling of vulnerability that tries to prevail when you’re there among the crowds of very good and self-motivated illustrators trying to make it through this very difficult adventure… The same as you are.
Here is an image I made for the ‘Wizard of Oz’, a book I really love, where Dorothy clearly is ‘not in Kansas anymore’. The other two are from, in order, a beautiful Korean book in the making and some beautiful horses by the very inspiring author of the book fair catalogue cover: Eun-young Cho.