An exclusive interview with Federico Cortese

Romilios spoke with Federico Cortese about his art and artistic goals. Federico Cortese was born in Turin, Italy and graduated in Architecture and  live and work as an artist.

What role does the artist have in society?
I often imagine the artists like sponges, or like the polyps creating the corals, small animals able to absorb and filter something imperceptible from the water, and then able to turn it into something completely different and unexpected. Certainly, there is always the doubt that this process is in the end only useful to the artist himself, and that perhaps no one else will be able to understand it, or gain some knowledge from it.


What are you working on at the moment?
I usually work on multiple subjects, often very different from each other. At the moment my most demanding work is a series of imaginary maps, and a collection of butterflies, that are invented too. The link among these different subjects is the experimentation of a variation on the same theme, and the search for the rule that governs that variation.

What else should we know about you and your work?
My main artistic technique is oil painting, on stretched canvas or white fine art paper prepared for oil painting. Usually my work proceeds with the sedimentation of several layers, one after the other. And often each drawing or painting, belongs to a wider series of works. In each series I try to explore and study a peculiar aspect of representation, decoration and languages.

What are your goals for the future, both work wise and life?
My only goal for the future is to continue painting because this is my illness and my obsession. But I have also the hope of continuing to travel a lot (even though this is also related to my work as an artist because I realized that travel is a great source of inspiration!).


What’s your favorite piece of work that you have created?
This is not the best work I have done, but I am very attached to this my old painting, which is inspired by the novel by Franz Kafka "The Process". This was the first job in which I began to understand how the process goes from inspiration to creation. View the painting here. 

Short CV
I was born in 1971 in Turin, Italy, where I live and work as an artist. I graduated in Architecture. Since I can remember I have always drawn. My preferred techniques are classic oil on canvas paintings, and pencil drawings.

Artist Statement

I’m like a mouse in its box. A little mouse safe in its shelter, that
passes his time gnawing the food stored for the winter. But my food are the drawings. I work within my home. My studio is a room of the house in which I live. In this relatively small space are accumulated all the materials and equipment I need to draw and paint, but in a certain sense also the suggestions that inspire my work. Here are the desks and drawing boards, with brushes and paint colors, but also, on the walls or placed in closets, paintings and drawings (I think each finished work is always an inspiration for the next, in somehow). A great source of ideas are books and music, and of course the PC. The graphics programs and virtual modeling programs have become over the years a valuable support, but obviously the richest mine is the internet: a reservoir of images and ideas from which to draw, and in which we often are lost (in addition to photos of my own travels, all stored on the computer).
It’s a small microcosm closed in on itself, rather impervious to the outside world (despite a large window with a beautiful view of Turin, almost always I work with the curtains closed). It is a bit as if the suggestions of the real world were allowed to enter here only after being filtered and digested, only after it has been already turned into experience. Exactly like a rat, eating quiet its supplies in its den, waiting for the end of winter.

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