If we could bottle artist Mattia Lullini’s humility and contentedness, we would in a heartbeat. Mattia exudes a sense of pure instinct in creation that is both alluring and thought inducing. His abstract works have no preconceived message and his freestyle tryst with color and odd shapes allows him to live freely through his art without the thought or need for boundaries. It is always exciting to learn about the man or woman behind the art, because this opens up corridors of understanding that allows the viewer to appreciate the art even more. This is the case with Mattia – after learning about his Dad, the girl he loves, his small town, his humble apartment, etc., you begin to feel even more of a connection and bond with his maze-like colorful creations that serve as beacons of hope underscoring that our instincts tend not to lead us astray.
“I live by the idea that every day that I wake up and dedicate my full self to creating art or creating …”
Please tell us a bit about yourself – your childhood, siblings, where you grew up, what you liked as child , strange thoughts as a child /now, unique attributes, where you live now, etc.?
Hi! My name is Mattia and I am a 30 years old Italian who lives in the North of Europe, more precisely in Gothenburg, Sweden. I grew up as an only child in a small village in the countryside a few miles outside Bologna and my most striking memories as a child were related to books and weird creations, imaginary and real. Growing up without any siblings and all the alone time connected with being an only child have surely had an effect on this, even though it was probably just myself. I have these clear images of me spending full days buried into the weirdest books and – more than playing – creating whole imaginary endeavors where my games were taking place and I could fully lose myself into. This idea and feeling has remained in my life ever since. I think this could probably be the best way to describe the mindset and feelings I am immersed in when painting or working in a new project.
What is your earliest art memory?
My earliest art memory is quite surely my father painting in my parent’s living room. In fact, although he was working the State Railways, my father painted almost all the way through his life. I remember clearly the smell of oil paint and trementine and all his art books and paintings all over the apartment. A second moment that hits me still now was when as a twelve or something year old I bought my first skateboard with a graphic – I still remember it was an Antihero board but even more so I remember the painting underneath – a street scene with bums, street workers and burnouts talking in oddly shaped cartoons. It was harsh, rough but warm and mysterious at the same time. Man, how I loved that artwork! It was just a few years ago that I recalled that board and went to look for it over the internet just to figure out how much I was in love with Chris Johanson’s paintings when I was just twelve!
Your art hits very hard – how do you describe your form of art and how did you develop your personal art style?
I would describe my art as a form of composition, an instinctive juxtaposition of almost automatically traced elements that I let unfold freely and balanced in the least thoughtful ways possible. I think in fact that there is something deeply meaningful in creation when freed of thoughts. It is like putting energies and inner vibes into a physical form without any filter and that is precisely what I try to do with my art. The result of this process is abstract and to me deeply meaningful. I can read my thoughts and energies in the artworks I do as much as I feel there is a deeper kind of communication which is channeled to any other viewer when composing in this way. It is a sort of silent and instinctive communication which takes the visual shape of feelings.
This process is also the result of a long path – the actual and still unfolding stage of a research and an ever-growing idea. It has been about 10 years now since this quest started and it took many different shapes and corrections and blunt turns to arrive where I am now.
I started in mid 2000 drawing poster and LP graphics connected to the Italian noise and weird music scene and I was more of a musician at that time. This idea of transmission through the unconscious and unfiltered was already there and very connected with the improvisative and psychedelic music I was playing. The art was of course very different from now but in a way, not that different.
My first exhibitions came and I also started to paint walls which has become a permanent and incredibly important feature in my production. From there my drawings and painting evolved, sometimes in the direction I am going now and sometimes drifting and getting lost as my research deepens. I can see now how these 10 years were some sort of a path, a quest indeed which led me at the same time far from my origin and in a sort of way back again to my roots. The common thread is that I am now mastering the concept I was driven by from the very beginning. My art has changed to become stronger. It has changed even more to reacquire levity and I hope it will develop further, like a relationship or like every being or idea.
What messages are you trying to convey with your art?
If I am being completely free then I am not in control of neither the feelings nor messages I am conveying in my art. It may be a drawing, a collage, a wall or a sculpture but it is what appears in front of me and from my hands that tells me what the message I was trying to convey really is. I can of course concentrate and drive my ideas in more controlled ways of creating but eventually I think the essence of my artworks is uncontrollable, free and scarily honest.
It is a mental communication and a passage with no words, the titles of my artworks may try to give hunches of what I felt while creating them but the very truth is that their nature is the one of a meaningful gaze, of a pregnant silence which is very easy to understand but very hard to express in words and clear images.
What philosophy do you live by and what is your ultimate aspiration?
I live by the idea that every day that I wake up and dedicate my full self to creating art or creating new opportunities for other artists, is a day of happiness. I live humbly in a small apartment which I share with the girl I love, in a small city filled with amazing artists and surrounded by incredible nature, with a small studio and unconventional gallery called Nevven (www.nevven.altervista.org) where I work and organize small art shows. I don’t think I need much more than the little attention and money I get now to consider myself fulfilled. In fact I think my ultimate aspiration is simply keeping on working and traveling for new projects, being excited by what I do and having the time to enjoy what I create and the little I have built for myself with the people I love. In such an ambitious world, I think reaching this would be such a deeper success than anything I have ever seen or read about.
How do you think art can change the world we live in for the better?
I think that art, as much as everything connected to creation, is an essential and basic need for mankind. Creation is what is most incredible about nature, and art is one of the ways in which humans participate in this process. Creation is so natural that I think there could be no way for mankind to prevent art from happening. Since art cannot be stopped, the universe we live in will be a better place because of it.
Which artist/s do you look up to the most?
I look up to many varied artists. I think there is a special spot in my heart for some of the great innovators and vanguard artists of the last Century like Jean Arp, Sophie De Saint Phalle and especially Alexandre Calder. Those artists and that moment of the last Century is in fact where a lot of the visual ideas that impressed and still impress me the most where born. Together with these “old” artists I would surely point to the ‘Mission School’ or the so-called ‘Beautiful Losers’ as having an incredibly important influence on me, in particular, people like Ed Templeton, Chris Johanson or Margaret Kilgallen.
Other than art, what other profession would you like to attempt if you had the time and resources?
I would probably like to teach. There is for me something extremely special about passing the little and awkward knowledge and experience I have accumulated. There is something very unique indeed about supporting and fueling other peoples ambitions and dreams and this is something I feel I would never get tired of doing.
Who dead or alive, celebrity or not, artist or not, would you like to go on a two week road trip with and why?
A week traveling through time and Old Europe after the WWII with the artist Jean Arp would probably be incredible! Of course it would also be artistically amazing, but I’m sure it would be also big time fun!
Since Style.No.Chaser is a men’s lifestyle magazine, what attributes/items/clothing /etc. do you think define a man?
To me, never having any fear nor need to show attributes that prove your manliness is one of the most valuable attributes a man can have. A nice hat is a good thing to have. I’m very into old baseball hats for example, but that’s probably not for everyone!
How can people learn more about your current and upcoming projects?
If one’s looking for a selection of large images and information about who I am and where I am going, one can definitely start from my website www.mattialullini.altervista.org, but for daily updates and a pile of works in progress and other memorabilia, I would surely suggest my Instagram or my Facebook. If somebody then is very into weird or plain nice small exhibitions and art publications, I would definitely think of www.nevven.altervista.org , the website of the unconventional gallery and small publishing project I run together with Alina Vergnano in Gothenburg, Sweden.
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