A Day With: Silvia Rastelli

Silvia Rastelli is an Italian artist born in Piacenza in 1983. Her artistic practice crossed over many fields, from painting to dance Her figurative paintings incorporate elements of pop art to create extreme close ups of faces, fruit, and the human body that are both intimate and elusive. We recently caught up with Silvia to take a closer look at her artistic process and learn more about the guiding principals of her work.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

I gather ideas for the day while preparing myself a steaming cup of green tea. The warmth of the cup relaxes my hand muscles and the scent of tea clears my mind. I seek sharpness in my mind before beginning my work.

What inspires you to create every day?

I draw inspiration from everywhere: an exhibition, a beautiful film, a theater show, an exchange of words with my husband or a friend…any experience. Human beings are my principle muse; faces, reactions, our creations…I observe them all.

Silvia Rastelli, ‘MANI,’ 2016. Acrylic, Pastel, Pencil, Graphite on Wood, 25x25cm.

What does your work space look like?

My studio is just a step away from Milan, in an ancient farmhouse in the open countryside where I live with my husband.
The light and vibrancy of nature are the masters of my practice. In the quiet and the isolation, I can paint undisturbed. But my pleasant social life keeps me always connected with the world; collectors and friends are often guests in the studio given me regular face-time with my muse.

Describe the core of your technique or style.

Drawing with graphite, on poplar wood panels, fragments of faces, bodies and symbolic images.
In a portrait, the complexion of a face is configured by the surface of pure wood characterized by its detailed texture. In contrast to the purity of wood and graphite, the monochrome and flat acrylic of the bright background colors emphasizes the character of the portrait’s subject.
Drawing inspiration from photographs, I create portraits on commission.
I try to grasp the essence and uniqueness of a being, bringing out their most unique features as if they were the geographical map of this person’s identity.

Silvia Rastelli, ‘AL SOLE,’ 2017. Acrylic, Pastel, Pencil, Graphite on Wood, 61x42cm.

What are your top 3 studio essentials?

Top 3 Studio Essentials: tea, film, and a very good pencil sharpener. As a dancer and performer, I get a lot of inspiration from music, but not when I paint. It would be too distracting and probably cause me to break out into dance if I played music in my studio. So, while I work, I listen to the dialogues of various films, giving myself an immersion in the narration and sometimes a pleasant visual distraction.

How do you know or decide when an artwork is finished?

When any extra pencil stroke or color stain would be superfluous.

Silvia Rastelli, ‘DI COPPIA,’ 2017. Acrylic, Pencil, Graphite on Wood, 62x62cm.

What do you like to do after a day’s work?

I love the peace of the countryside but I’m also a social animal. I’m a big talker. So between dinners, inaugurations, parties, I try to engage with as many people as possible.

My big outlet, even if it is always work, is dance.
Studying dance is the opposite of the creative process of my work, it is not sedentary and characterized by long execution times but it is physical and is expressed in the here and now.

What’s your overall favorite aspect of the creative process?

The incessant flow of ideas and thoughts that crystallizes in the form is extremely liberating.

Thank you Silvia! See more of her stunning portraiture and other works on Singulart.

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