For Italian artist Nello Petrucci based in Pompeii, newspaper clippings, photographs and film posters are the starting point of a multi-layered world. His works bring collage and painting together in unique fashion. Building off of the strong compositions and graphics of what he calls “captured images,” Petrucci breaks those images down into their component parts and reassembles them. I interviewed him as he prepared for exhibiting at the 40th annual ArtExpo in New York City.
Your collages are beautiful but appear almost happenstance — how much is planned and how much is decided in the moment?
“Break a vase, and the love of those who start to reassemble the pieces is stronger than the love that took for granted the symmetry of that object when it was whole.”
This quote reflects my feelings toward my creative process. For me to combine many fragments together in harmony forming a world apart made of interactions, connections, all united, it may seem very jagged, but has a harmonic rigidity that goes beyond aestheticism.
You have a background in cinema, has that affected your artwork?
My artwork is like many needles balanced in equilibrium ready to fall, but which remain united to each other — a bit like the world. They seem like many fragments placed in continuous motion.
To me, films are the best works of art that exist, once they are viewed, they remain only in your mind, and can stay there for a long time. This has influenced my life, and often the way of seeing the world. I owe so much to cinema.
Who is the one artist you'd love to meet (living or dead)?
It would be amazing to meet and know the master Leonardo Da Vinci, the “genius,” fully enclosed as the meaning of the word “artist.” Da Vinci was a unique and rare personality. It would be interesting to know his thoughts, his vision of the world and what prompted him to do what he did.
I would also enjoy meeting the artist that created the “Villa dei Misteri,” which unfortunately no one knows who that is. I would have many questions to ask him as well.
What advice would you give a guy who is interested in modern art and wants to learn how to appreciate it more?
Art in general passes through the vibration that you have inside, if you think this could be a trade, then you cannot reduce it to a simple job.
To me, contemporary art is like a woman with an outward appearance that is not beautiful, but with intelligence, a thought and a fascinating soul, so you appreciate it for what it really is, and not for its beauty. Art is something that you have to love first of all. To me it's a vocation, a fight between your being and the world you are living in. If you cannot free yourself from your idea, it will remain for a long time, even for a lifetime, sooner or later you will have to get rid of it, create your visions or otherwise it may cause you trouble if you are not able to express yourself.
Favorite Grooming Products
I am pretty casual in my style and prefer jeans and a knit cap to more formal clothes. I do love to use Italian products, especially Rossano Ferretti Parma shampoo.
Originally from Naples, residing in Pompeii, Nello Petrucci is a world renown artist. Nello Petrucci has also worked in the film industry an actor, cameraman and set designer.
Petrucci has internalized the cinema’s ability to create drama and meaning through color and movement, and he recasts that ability to powerful effect in his collages. Visit: www.nellopetrucci.com for additional information.