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Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Colors of Gino Berardi

His work has been described as an "Abruzzese rainbow that gives sensations of sweetness, melancholy, nostalgia, serenity, joy and happiness." He is a visual artist with paintings done in the styles of impressionism and abstraction and also an accomplished journalist who has written for several Italian publications.

Meet Gino Berardi. Born in Pietranico, Abruzzo in 1945, he is among Italy's most respected and talented contemporary artists. His work was recently on exhibit at our IACC. I attended the exhibit and was mesmerized by the vivid colors and classic but au courant feel to his paintings. I lost myself in the mazes of colors as I gazed at his canvases. However, being the film aficionado that I am, I naturally gravitated towards the videos of his work that were playing in the background of the gallery. They were peaceful vignettes set to music that showed the masterpieces of a modern day maestro whose work encompasses the very essence of nature and the passion of Italy. 

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Gino Berardi and discussing his work and inspiration.

Tell me about your career as an artist and journalist. 
My passion for painting started when I was young, while in elementary school.  My teacher recognized this passion and made me draw pictures on the blackboard with colored chalk.  For years, I just painted landscapes, seascapes and still-life. Then I discovered a passion for journalism and writing. Since that discovery, I've hosted cultural programs on television and wrote culinary articles on food and wine, as I taught hospitality and tourism for more than thirty years to high school students.  I've also written articles and reviews related to art, especially those in which I could feature the work of fellow artists and poets.

Where do you like to paint?  Do you stay in a studio or do you like to go outside to be in the elements of nature?
I prefer to paint in my studio. I paint outside only rarely. I take inspiration from nature and I often paint from memory.


Interviewing Gino Berardi at his exhibit in Rochester, New York
How much of yourself is in your paintings?
Everything I paint comes from things that have inspire me and from memories of my childhood spent in the countryside. I don't take inspiration from other artists because I always want to be very original.
 
Is there a favorite piece that you have created? If so, what makes it so special?
It's hard for me to prefer one piece to another. Each piece is like a child, and children for a father are all equal, at least it should be that way. However, I have one in particular that I'll never part with. It's called, "Risvegliio". It's a very special piece that I created after spending some time in the hospital.

Which artists and styles do you admire? 
I've always been fascinated by the impressionists. I love them. For many years, I was really inspired by French impressionists and the Florentine Macchiaioli, except that in recent years I have moved much closer to abstract art, and I have a special connection to the work of American painter, Jackson Pollock.

Your paintings were very well received when you recently presented them here in Rochester. Tell me about the time you spent here.
My experience in America and more specifically in Rochester with my exposure to the Italian American Community Center was very interesting. I was welcomed with great cordiality and sympathy, and my works were highly appreciated by the critics, the public and the press.  In short, it was a beautiful experience that will be included with the others that I have collected during my artistic life. I feel obliged to thank all those that gave me a hand and that made me feel at home, especially Mario Daniele, the Italian Honorary Vice Consul who was responsible for bringing me to Rochester.

Beauty, of course, is in the eyes of the beholder and Berardi's art is no different. What captivates me the most about his work is his use of color -- the blues, the reds, the yellows -- as well as his pieces that represent Italy with the country's national colors of red, white and green. For more information about Gino Berardi or if you'd just like to browse through his beautiful works, visit him online at: www.ginoberardi.it.

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