I’ve always had a strong need to create. Illustrations taught me about being professional, and also how to maintain inspiration.
The paintings of Vincent Giarrano, an American painter and comic book illustrator, carry a realistic perception on typical scenes of urban lifestyle, offering small but carefully selected details. His artworks create lasting and honest impressions on people, places, surroundings that characterise a vibrant yet somewhat alienating cityscape. He likes to make use of a specific light that would capture the essence of his characters, enhancing a specific mood. In the following interview with Artrootz, Vincent reveals some of his triggers in his artworks, the steps in his process of creation and what motivates him further as an artist and creator.
Tell us about your career as an artist, how did all started?
I started drawing at a young age. It was pretty clear that art was my thing. I drew whatever was around, cartoons, comic books, Disney characters, sports figures. I did want to be a hockey player for a bit, but art won me over. I feel pursuing what makes you happy is worth fighting for. I loved visual storytelling; comic books, film, animation. I was in college for fine art but it seemed a long shot for making a living. Illustration was my solution for surviving and having creative work. I’ve always had a strong need to create. Illustrating taught me about being professional, and also how to maintain inspiration.
Many people describe you as a realist painter, focusing on creating impressions about real life experiences. What are you mostly attracted to, in your daily life and in your surroundings?
Well put. Yes, I really identify with art that’s about real life, the human experience. After college I moved to New York City, and it was living there that really inspired me. When I started painting, I remembered that experience, and I wanted to capture the feeling of what life is like in the city. I also wanted to paint the truth of things. My education was based strongly in Modern and Conceptual Art. I didn’t feel anything for that aesthetic. Like any artist, I pick and choose the elements that resonate with me. However I also paid attention to the qualities I didn’t like. A negative is as helpful as a positive. This helped me to focus my painting technique and concepts. Writing helped me to get started, and work my transition to being a professional artist, and develop my technique as well as my concepts. I use it in a very simple, functional way. Writing makes things happen.
We were impressed discovering your works. Your art contains a wide array of motifs that keep appearing and typical urban life sceneries, with restaurants, cafes, fashionable people and so on. It almost looks like scenes from a movie, often capturing a particular kind of light and carefully noticed details. How do you experience this idea of city life in your everyday life and how does it inspire you? From what we understand, you live now in New York.
Actually I live in Connecticut, which is a good thing because it helps me to see the city more objectively. Like I mentioned, film was a huge interest of mine, and the visual storytelling I’d developed drawing comic books has contributed to the narrative aspect in my work. From the beginning I followed a process of testing out subjects or ideas. If I saw something working, then I’d explore further and expand the concept. I started painting subjects in the city, and it slowly evolved as I added various elements and concepts.
What kind of human emotions and perceptions are you trying to capture through these oil paintings? How important do you think is for artworks to carry a particular meaning or instead to be open to interpretation?
For me it’s about what it feels like to be a human and experience the things around us. Often it’s the small, quiet moments in life that I think speak about that. I feel it’s important for my art to say something about the time we live in. There’s beauty and interesting things that I see in contemporary life.
Describe your artworks in three words.
Truth, skill, beauty.
How long does it take to complete each artwork? What are the key elements in your process of creation?
It takes all different amounts of time to paint or draw. It depends on the subject and my intent. The most important thing is that I rarely rush into doing a work. I believe in planning well before picking up my brush or pencil. The important mix I see is that you love doing it, you strive to learn and improve, and you focus forward not back.
Name a personal favourite among your artworks.
I have many favourites. It’s about when all the various components come together, and it feels like magic. I’ll share with you a few images.
Any artists that inspire you the most?
Ha! Tough to choose only a few, but Anders Zorn, Akira Kurosawa, Alfred Hitchcock.
What can we expect from Vincent Giarrano in terms of works in progress or future exhibitions? What will be the ultimate achievement for you?
I just finished a book of my paintings which also included several oil demonstrations. From that experience I’ve started making notes for a whole book about my oil painting techniques. The only achievement I need is to just enjoy painting and drawing. It’s the best!