studio

Portrait Commissions by Michele Del Campo

ENGLISH: I am honoured that the Press Team of the Mall Galleries came to interview me in my studio about my approach to portrait commissions. Not many people know that some of my paintings are portrait commissions, for which I usually have the freedom to create a narrative typical of my exhibition pieces, like this one of two siblings from a family in Madrid: www.mallgalleries.org.uk . Also you can contact the Mall Galleries if you would like to commission me a portrait. ESPAÑOL: He tenido el privilegio de ser entrevistado por el equipo de prensa de la Mall Galleries en mi estudio, sobre mi acercamiento al retrato por encargo. No mucha gente sabe que algunas de mis pinturas son en realidad encargos, para los cuales en general tengo bastante libertad de tejer un hilo narrativo típico de mi trabajo expositivo. Un ejemplo es este cuadro de dos hermanos, encargo de una familia de Madrid: www.mallgalleries.org.uk

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Variations in life drawing by Michele Del Campo

My weekly life drawings in my studio are becoming quite varied, and variation is an element that inspires change and development, important things that nurture creativity.

Professional ballet or salsa dancers, performing twins, comparisons between the clothed and the nude bodies, costumed recitals of great literature pieces and belly dancing performances are among the treats that I am introducing in every new session.

At the end of every session sometimes we have normally one or two longer poses of 20 minutes each and I take the chance to sketch with oils on scrap canvases or watercolour sketchbooks. Here you can see some of them:

Work in progress... by Michele Del Campo

I'm enjoying painting this diptych, this is the stage when everything comes together and, with the image mostly defined, it's so pleasurable to build it all up with brushes on the canvas. Some of the figures are not recognizable anymore if compared with the reference pictures, I am adapting them to a more "rough" type of young people (I will show the original pictures after I finish it...)

The painting is flowing now very easily on the canvas and every day I see it growing fast. It's a real pleasure when painting comes so easy and spontaneous on a big surface.

Journey of no Return: work in progress by Michele Del Campo

It is a delicate moment of my project: after so many sketched ideas, some photo shootings and further studies with more complex compositions, I start to paint what will be the final images. Now is when six months of gestation for my new project will see the final shape and now is when the result has to match my expectations and convey the message that I want to give.

I am now involved with one of my biggest paintings ever: a diptych of 160x400cm. Even so, because of the small scale of the characters, this new painting doesn't look that big to me, certainly it will be enjoyable to work more physically from one side to another of the canvases with big brushes.

Drawing the nude by Michele Del Campo

Life drawing is an indispensable practice for the artist, it enhances our ability to see, understand and create. Since the first official Accademia was created in the XVI Century by the Carracci brothers in Bologna (Italy) drawing the nude, activity commonly named "life drawing", has always been a central discipline for any aspiring artist.

Since I started studying arts I have never stopped practicing life drawing because I know that the quality of my work depends on the quality of my drawing. Even when using photographs as a reference, knowledge of the human form is essential to "fill the gaps" and go beyond the poor bi-dimensional reference. Lifeless portraits are the result of mere dependence on photography and poor knowledge of the features in real life.

Nevertheless it is as easy to build up drawing skills as to lose them in periods of inactivity. I can spend months without painting after a solo exhibition, when I am in search for new inspiration, and soon my ability to put visual ideas on paper suffers from lack of practice. I always compare it with sport: if you stop doing it, you will have difficulties starting again and will be out of shape. This is why I always try to do life drawing especially when I am not painting.

Life drawing in my new studio by Michele Del Campo

Since I came to London, in the beginning of 2008, I have been trying to go to places where I could draw the nude. Sometimes they were far from my house, sometimes the models were always the same and I would get bored, sometimes the classes were too full of people, sometimes too empty and they disappeared after a few weeks. But as soon as I decided to look for a bigger studio I started to cultivate the idea of using my space to host weekly life drawing sessions that I would organise myself.

That way I could not only be comfortable in my studio and have models coming over every week, but I also could create a social environment inviting friends artists and make the practice of drawing an enjoyable experience to share with them.

The idea worked out very well, also thanks to the help of my friends who continue bringing new artists. We gather every Wednesday night in my studio to draw all together, normally we are from 6 to 10 people. When we finish we go out to have a drink and talk, after all we are in Soho, there can be no better place to create a social meeting point.