Mario Loprete’s art is masculine, striking, and tactile, making him peculiar‘s latest Featured Artist. The Italian creator describes painting as his “first love” and sculpture as his “voluptuous and sensual lover.” Juxtaposing sophisticated oil painting with the raw, urban texture of concrete or the softness of fabric, Loprete’s art is boldly visceral and we’re honored to have it within the pages of Issue Eight.
When did you start creating art?
Artistically, I formed myself, self-taught, studying the history of art and the great Master of Art aseptically, without external contaminations. Until 2002, I strayed into Calabria in order to paint from the real, with the main objective of speeding up my hand and acquiring the technique, fighting against time that changes lights and colors. Then I got aware that I missed something inside, I felt a void-like sensation. So at the age of 34 I decided to attend The Academy of Fine Arts of Catanzaro, aware that if I wanted to give more thickness to my work, I needed to confront myself with other artists, to share experiences and to search new goals.
Why are you an artist?
Good question, which is very difficult to answer. I think and believe that anyone who has a burning flame inside fueled by a passion for art, for music, for poetry, for creative writing … you notice the flame almost immediately, but it is our ability, our ambition, our will to make it so great that it can be visible to all.
What artists do you most admire?
I admire all artists. Attention, I am not politically correct, I am only aware that those who make art do it by expressing their best, putting their artistic concepts into play in front of public opinion and the market. I love more than all, the artists who have always given a damn about judgment and the market, the artists who for a lifetime feed the flame that surrounds and protects them. Van Gogh above all.
What’s your artistic process?
For my concrete sculptures, I use my personal clothing. Through my artistic process in which I use plaster, resin and cement, I transform these articles of clothing into artworks to hang. The intended effect is that my DNA and my memory remain inside the concrete, so that the person who looks at these sculptures is transformed into a type of postmodern archeologist, studying my work as urban artifacts.
What inspires you to create?
I like to think that those who look at my sculptures created in 2020 will be able to perceive the anguish, the vulnerability, the fear that each of us has felt in front of a planetary problem that was Covid-19… under a layer of cement there are my clothes with which I lived this nefarious period.
Clothes that survived Covid-19, very similar to what survived after the 2,000-year-old catastrophic eruption of Pompeii, capable of recounting man’s inability to face the tragedy of broken lives and destroyed economies.
What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever created?
Without a doubt FABRI FIBRA. It is my first work on concrete. It was the work that confirmed that my painting needed the support that best represented the fusion between the urban style, hip hop and the possibility of bringing “the city” to art galleries and in the homes. This work will never be sold and will be part of my life until the end.
What effect do you hope your art will have on people?
I hope my works reach people as the evocation of a memory, of places visited, of people known, of stories told.
The work of art does not have to be immediate. He must know how to tell and if he manages to tell something even after decades then the work becomes a masterpiece.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working very hard on four solo exhibitions in the autumn of 2021: at Prescott College in Arizona (USA), at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (USA), in Loosdrecht (Netherlands) curated by Connie Fluhme, and at Zylinderhaus Museum in Bernkastel (Germany).
Where do you see yourself in the future?
My desire is to travel. Chasing my art around the world. Having the opportunity to live in different countries and grasp the peculiarities that represent them.
What’s it like being queer where you live?
Nemo propheta in Patria.
What makes you “peculiar”?
I am a very sociable person but at the same time I hate it when the spotlight is on me. It is my works that must talk about me and my art.
Where can fans find you online?