JULY 28, 2021 BY: JC RODRIGUEZ
Artist Statement: Jason Balducci is a contemporary figurative painter who lives and works in Toronto, Canada. Originally from Italy, his colorful paintings and distinctive personal style emanates energy and spontaneity and expresses the vibrant spirit and atmosphere of the expressionist movement.
Portraits by Balducci immediately attract attention with their charisma, dynamism and wit. Active colours, uneven layers, fragmental bodies, sketchy lines and unconventional mixture of techniques and materials are the painter’s typical expressive means. The rebellious styles of Basquiat, Willem de Kooning, Warhol are named among his sources of inspiration.
Jason sees art as a way to experiment and explore the unknown: both the inner personality of his models and of his own state of mind. For him, art serves not only to depict the reality but also to subjectively rethink it, open a dialogue, express personal associations, and find new meanings.
© Jason Balducci
What is your earliest memory of art?
My earliest memory of art was when I was in kindergarten, during the last year’s art show. All the drawing were exhibited on the wall in a line, and my mom was looking for expecting mine to be the best artwork, but as she kept looking and looking she couldn’t find it. Surprised, she asked the teacher where my piece was, and the teacher, with a very serious expression, pointed at the last piece of paper which had a few holes on it due to the strong rubbing of the marker on the same spot. I think my mom knew at that moment that I wasn’t going to become a doctor or lawyer.
Who was the first artist that you recall just falling in love with?
Lucien Freud. His works changed the way I see people.
Can you describe your work to us? Medium, subject matters, colors?
Active colors, uneven layers, fragmented bodies, sketchy lines and an unconventional mixture of techniques and materials are my typical expressive means.
I love combining colors in unusual ways, and the act of simply playing with them, whether it’s on a canvas with paint or on my computer screen, inspires a lot of ideas for me. Giving way to more elaborate and de-constructed works, the body in my paintings is indeed de-structured, often fragmented and de-colored, with the main intention being to go back to the essence of drawing and forms, almost looking for a minimal structure.
© Jason Balducci
What are your thoughts on the rise of the NFT market?
It is a great concept and a possibility for digital artists to finally monetize their works. For those like me, who chose the analog as the main medium, it could be an opportunity to rethink our work, adapt it to technology and try to create a bridge between physical and digital.
Right now there is a great hype around NFT, and does not necessarily mean that great art has been sold/created but rather questionable items labeled as “art”. I like the concept of decentralized and crypto money. I’m having fun creating new digital versions of my paintings and I hope that it will become more regularized since it has just started.
What effect has the pandemic had in the art market? Do you think people will come out with a new appreciation for art?
Within every crisis, there is opportunity, and auction houses, dealers and artists are now accelerating their capabilities with online sales platforms, social media and a greater focus on data and analytics. I think that the pandemic just accelerated the innovation that someday was coming. If you choose art as a career, it is like navigating the ocean. You can’t fight the weather but only learn how to swim. So when this pandemic hit, nobody was prepared and we had to learn how to adapt to the new ways of showing and selling art. A lot of attention is now on social media and online galleries, and I must say that people realized that art is fundamental in their life because when the battery of your phone dies or you turn off your devices, art will still be there and will never die.
© Jason Balducci
Do you believe that inspiration comes to you or you have to work to find it?
I never know what my paintings will look like before I begin, and this mystery is exactly what creates the excitement and curiosity I need to stay inspired.
I rely on my intuition to keep momentum as my paintings emerge naturally in their own time. The real mistake we make as visual artists is to assume that what we see when we paint is something separate from us, that we simply observe or measure or record with our eyes. However, when we touchback or respond with our brush, we begin something sensual, a dance of sorts, and a conversation.
What was the last thing you saw that inspired you to create?
There isn’t just one thing that inspires me but rather a mix of many things that, in my thoughts, blend together. Music, movies, people, sleep, symmetry or asymmetry of objects, a bird singing, colors outside the lines, see things instead of just looking around. I look underneath the surface of what is seen, to find the places that are not seen but felt. The spaces and places that have no words. I have also learned that my best work comes when I don’t really care about the outcome, when I am just messing around with art supplies. True creativity requires a willingness to play with raw materials, whether those materials are paint, words, etc.
To those that are just beginning in the art world, what piece of advice do you have for them?
Be authentic and compete only with yourself, be better everyday by challenging your own limits without trying to please everyone by seeking validation externally. Be patient, work diligently and with a bit of luck you’ll accomplish your mission.
We are giving you an open platform. What do you want to tell the people out there?
Take this time to focus on your work and reinvent yourself. You can take it as a kind of reset and try new things, elements, mediums. Look around yourself and you’ll be surprised by how many new things you can come up with.
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