Marco Pariani Works with Mixed Media on Canvas in an Abstract Style

Marco Pariani (b. 1986) is an Italian artist who lives and works in Brooklyn. After regularly visiting Brooklyn starting in 2016, Pariani decided to permanently relocate in 2019. Pariani works with mixed media on canvas in an abstract style, creating a unique and recognizable style.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from originally and when did art first enter your life?

I’m Italian, I grew up in Italy and I lived there until January 2019, in a small town at the north of Italy not so far from Milan. I remember colored pencils and markers in my hands as long as I can remember, but “art” maybe when I was 8/10 years old, I guess, I had some feelings while I was looking around the paintings that my parents had hung in the living room, sort of flea market abstract paintings, but I still remember that. Also, my father was a woodworker and I used to stay with him and work a lot on small pieces of wood, I always loved to use my hands. Art, in the way the world is, entered in my life with books during school.

Has your work always taken on the style it currently embodies?

I’m not sure, I used to work a lot on paper when I was in high school, and then, in 2005 I started working with canvas – large scale, like 100 x 65 inches, never small, but was more figurative related on eyes, faces, pictures of me with friends and family, but the technique was almost the same, oil and spray paint. I think it is impossible to keep the same style/ideas from the beginning because when you’re really young you have a different approach to the material and also just a few paintings of “experience” so, you need a lot of time to understand what is really wrong (nothing is wrong but just wrong for yourself) and what you want to save for the next painting. I started to figure out what was really my own way to approach the canvas in 2016, after my first visit to NYC. From there, I worked a lot to figure something out about the background and the surface of the painting.

What’s a day in the studio like for you?

It depends, if I have to do a new painting, I usually go to the studio late in the morning to prepare the pictures I need for the subject, clean a bit, look at the canvas and try to figure out where to start. Often, I am listening to music and then I go back home for lunch. In the afternoon, when I usually paint, I come back and I literally attack the canvas, it’s always something like a study, observing and attacking in one shot. The other days at the studio are always for preparing the surfaces, that is a really long and sort of chemical process, listening to music, watching movies, cleaning, observing, studying and talking to myself.

What’s next for you?

I’ll have a painting at Art Basel Miami with Cheim and Read Gallery, and for 2022 it’s too soon to share, but I have something going on.

From where do you draw inspiration?

It’s always been the society around me, years ago I was just looking around and I was inspired from some aspects of the human beings, in particular during occasions like Christmas, Easter or summer holidays, Halloween and birthdays, now it is more related to humans that humanize animals, I’m focused on humanized dogs mostly, I usually take some screenshots from Instagram. But I still have a fire inside me about Christmas and Christmas trees, I would like to have a show in the future with just Christmas tree paintings, also Halloween and Easter, but Christmas is still the weirdest day of the year for me.

Have you always painted in the style your work currently inhabits?

In terms of “painted style”, I think so, I can see that the approach to the canvas is similar in particular the relation between brush strokes and spray paint, also the relation that the painterly side of my work has with the sketching side and the use of contrast and color too, it’s been similar from the beginning. A lot of people are saying that I have my own style, that is extremely recognizable, like that I concentrate the subject into the painting’s center, leaving a sort of frame around, someone else is saying I have a unique style too, the way I use the colors and the composition. I like to hear people say that because I like to hear what people feel and see when they are looking at my paintings. Having a unique style, it’s also just a matter of being here and now. My generation is doing something with the same passion and feelings, it’s just a circle.

What source material do you base your work off of?

Right now, I’m taking screenshots, mostly from Instagram, of humanized dogs that are usually dressed in the most insane way possible, even the colors of the clothes are inspiration for me. I also have a collection of pictures, taken from the streets of Brooklyn, of trucks completely covered in graffiti, I like the surfaces and the colors, also the composition, so nice and inspiring.

Does your work reference any Art Historical movements?

I don’t know, maybe someone else can say that about my work, I’m just doing what I like and follow my feelings.

What is your process like? How do you begin a work?

It’s a long process, I like to prepare the canvas, from the raw cotton to the last layer (it’s almost a week of work). I like to have a surface that is something of “mine”, I also like to spend days waiting to having the canvas ready, it’s like having something to do in mind and you’re looking forward to doing it, but you have to wait, and then when you can do it, it’s such a great sensation. When I’m done with all the layers, I will draw my subjects with the spray paint, put the last layer of medium, and paint with oil and spray paint, usually it takes like 30 minutes, one hour, two hours, depending on the painting, the composition and the feelings, sometimes also if it’s a lucky day or not.

At the end of every interview, we like to ask the artist to recommend a friend whose work
You love for us to interview next. Who would you suggest?

I have some friends here in NYC, but I would say Cristina De Miguel, because she has a really nice solo show going on right now at The Journal Gallery in NY.