Angelo Volpe lives and works in Naples, Italy, where he works on paintings that delve into the irony and sheer bombardment of mass media and advertising that we see everyday. In the early 2000s he worked as an assistant to artists like Sol Lewitt and Thomas Hirschhorn, where he received experience and encouragement that led him to the practice he’s pursuing today! Check out much more at the links below!
Can you tell me a little bit about you?
My name is Angelo Volpe, I am Italian, and I was born in Naples, here alive and working. In 1995 I obtained the Diploma “Applied Art in Graphic for the Advertising and Photography”. In 2000 I completed my education with a “Degree in Painting”, achieved at the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples. I love the work of: Mike Kelley, Jeff Koons, David Salle, Julian Schnabel, Francesco Clemente, Paul McCarthy, Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas, Maurizio Cattelan, Gino De Dominicis and Sol LeWitt.
I like listening to music, I listen to every genre, even if I have a preference for the “grunge,” “noise pop” and the whole “indie rock” scene. I also like to cook, and as a good Italian, I mainly like cooking pasta.
In this phase of my life I am reading many texts of oriental philosophy. I believe it is important to be in harmony with one’s own being and with the spirit of the universe. Peace and love!
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
I do not remember a specific moment in which I decided to be an artist; this awareness has settled in me day after day, with completely natural methods. I grew up in the eighties, television has influenced my generation by scanning the time and the space between cartoon, telefilm, music videos and advertising. I am a child of my time and I absorbed the aesthetics. I believe that all this, combined with the great love for visual art, has made me an artist. After graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts, I was fortunate enough to work as an assistant for Sol LeWitt, David Tremlett and Thomas Hirschhorn. In these years, thanks to these great Masters, I matured my awareness as an artist and started to make my first exhibitions, in 2001.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
Our society has, more and more, the tendency to create stereotypes and many of our behaviors are partly conditioned by models assimilated by the mass media. Brands, company logos, film actors, cartoon characters, and more, come into our lives every day, with modality that come back anytime and anywhere, becoming familiar to us, just as Carl Gustav Jung said, they become part of a “collective unconscious” that we all share.
My artistic research investigates these “symbols” and the way in which they become true “archetypes” over the years, becoming part of our lives consciously or unconsciously, conditioning our existence or part of it, in the realization of our projects of life or simply the way of being or behaving.
What is your process like?
I constantly look for creative ideas among the subtle nuances of everyday events. I observe the globalized reality from different points of view, I chew it, I swallow it and then the regurgitations in the form of ideas are the basis of my work.
To all this I add a sarcastic ingredient fundamental to me: irony, my lifeblood.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
I collaborated as assistant for a great artist like Sol LeWitt and, and for his many teachings, I consider him my Master. With him I had the good fortune and the pleasure of collaborating as an assistant in numerous projects from 2002 to 2007, I will always be grateful to him. There are two other people very important for me, they often give me good advice and for me they are excellent Mentors. They are Ernesto Esposito, famous designer and art collector and Francesco Annarumma, director of the Annarumma Gallery, which represents my work.
What is your studio like?
My study is the bubble in which I close myself to isolate myself from the world and let myself be carried away by the lightness of the pleasure of painting.
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
The artist is similar to a tightrope walker, always poised on the wire, but the precarious balance is the constant that always makes me feel alive. Art can not be chosen, art chooses you. Personally I could not live differently.
What are three words you would use to describe your work?
Gaudy, penetrating and ironic.
What are you working on right now?
Now I’m working on two paintings, a large size of cm150x200 and an average size of cm100x70.
Anything else you would like to add?
Life is fantastic, but art is so much more.