The Heroine’s journey: Eliana Petrizzi – An interview by Peter de Kuster

What is the best thing that I love about my work?
– The chance to experience every day the depths of the abysses I love diving into, hoping, through this flight (not fall) of mine, to be able to say something about other people’s worlds as well.

What is my idea of perfect happiness?
– The opportunity to express my fundamental nature, to do things that resemble me. To love, to connect with nature every day, learning its fundamental lessons and gaining from them in my day-to-day life.

What is my greatest fear?
– Unwanted solitude. To be left on my own without desiring it, to have no one left to love, no one to tell and offer my visions to. To grow old inside. Illness, impairment.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?
– Perpetual restlessness and discontent. Irascibility: I experience destructive, passionate anger. I also have a lively imagination that mainly concentrates on the worst side of things. I suffer terribly over things that have not happened, or will never happen.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?
– I can’t give you any particular names. I would say anyone who succeeds in engaging the attention of the masses and the conscience of individuals through original interpretations of the world around us, new forms of sensibility, awareness and responsibility. More than anyone else, I admire those who are honest and courageous, whatever their calling.

What is my greatest extravagance?
– I live with two female pigeons who are left free to fly around the house. They’re my companions, and I love them more than anything or any living being. One of them has been with me since she was born and is my shadow. I rescued the other from human savagery one rainy night, and I’m trying to rehabilitate her.

On what occasion would I lie?
– I lie every time I need to protect myself or somebody else. I will carry on doing so for this reason.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?
– My tendency to repeat myself, to ruminate on things I have already expressed, to obsess over aspects of my personal experience that should be worked through and then removed. The vanity of technique, that is, the point at which an artist limits themselves to being a mere painter.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?
– On many occasions. Usually those times when I have managed to achieve a goal I had set for myself or, more frequently, when I realize, through a painting, that I can talk about aspects beyond my personal history. When my voice turns into a choir.

If I could, what would I change about myself?
– Anything

What is my greatest achievement in work?
– To have been able to remain in the small town where I was born, to have always lived through painting, without having to do anything else for a living.

Where would I most like to live?
– Exactly where I live. I like travelling, but also coming home.

What is my most treasured possession?
– My two pigeons.

What is my most marked characteristic?
– Loyalty, frankness, determination.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?
– The most solitary areas of the countryside.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?
– My home.

What books influenced my life and how?
– The books about painting my father leafed through for me when I was 3 or 4: the Flemish painters, Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo, De Chirico. My whole universe took shape thanks to those pages.¬

Who are my favorite writers?
– I started reading when I was very little. I have loved a great many authors. To list just a few: Cioran, Handke, Ceronetti, Camus, Sartre, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Dostoevsky. I love reflective and introspective writing, essays, observational accounts, like Celati’s.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?
– ‘Please , please , please let me get what i want’ by The Smiths.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?
– Nobody. I don’t like fictional heroes or heroines. I prefer minor characters from real life.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?
– All of those who have become positive role models for other people through their life story, giving courage, helping change perspectives.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime?
– This is too personal a question. I could never recommend something to watch or a book to read if it is closely related to my personal emotions, to my innermost story.

What role does art play in my life and work?
– Utter and total. For me art is a way of existing, of seeing things, of thinking, of loving, of embracing the world. For art’s sake I’ve given up on building a normal life for myself and having children. I want to devote myself to my work and nothing else. I love it and I sacrifice my whole being to it.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?
– Those who believe in my work and have supported it over the years. At this time of my life I would say Franco Senese, founder and owner of the Galleria Liquid Art System.

Whom would I like to work with in 2020?
– At present, with my main gallery. I would also like to investigate the possibility of finding a place for my work on a wider international stage, helping it to grow through new exchanges of views.

Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2020?
– The best encounters in life are those that are unintended and unplanned.

What project, in 2020, am I looking forward to work on?
A new phase in my painting. New subjects, new atmospheres, new colors, but without losing the distinctive style I have developed.

Where can you see me or my work in 2020?
– As a permanent exhibitor, still at the Galleria Liquid Art System, with branches in Positano, Capri and Istanbul. I also have a few projects I am developing, but I would prefer not to talk about them at this stage, I don’t want to bring them bad luck.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?
– I think they’re the most fitting definition for the life I have been leading up until now, and for the life to come. It means that true passion knows no boredom, age, season of life, but feeds on its own blood to become new every day. This is true of art, friendship, love.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? (you can mention a maximum of 10 people)
– There are many female artists I think highly of: Elisa Anfuso, Deborah Napolitano Dienne, Anna Di Prospero, Novella Oliana, Claudia Corrent, Silvia Camporesi, Kyle Thompson.


The Heroine’s Journey of Eliana Petrizzi


Photo: Alberto Casciano