Meet the Others: Ernesto Romano
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The Other Art Fair London exhibitor Ernesto Romano uses X-rays as his primary medium. Here he shares with us more about his practice, what draws him to his unique medium and his biggest pieces of advice for fellow artists.
Tell us about who you are and what you do. What is your background?
I was born in Italy and I have lived in London for the past 10 years. My background is a Degree in Architecture in Venice, Italy.
I started making art something like 12 years ago using my own X-rays and images of flowers I took with my camera at the botanic garden in Padova (Italy).
Since then I continued to explore the use of X-rays and other medical images for my art. Moving to London has given me access to a incredible multicultural background and a source of continuous inspiration. I developed a series of images dedicated to the Queen with an X-rayed profile, often enriched with glitter, gold leaf or swarovski crystals. This has become the trade mark of my work: skulls and crowns. Recently I have gone back to adding images of flowers to my work with a new series combining macro photography of eyes and flowers.
If you could describe your work in 3 words, what would they be?
Colourful, Glossy, Ironic
How did you first get interested in your mediums and what draws you to them specifically?
I remember before starting to make art I was visiting Arco , the contemporary art fair in Madrid where I saw some beautiful C-type prints mounted on aluminium with perspex face.
I was fascinated by the glossiness of the acrylic glass, and how the colours would stand out and be vivid under the perspex.
I decided that I would have loved to make something like that.
When I eventually started using my own X-rays and images of flowers to create my first artworks, I remembered of those images and the acrylic glass and decided that it was going to be one of my favourite mediums. My first series was eventually presented like that.
Moving to London I explored urban art and took interest in embellishing techniques for my prints, adding Swarovski crystals, glitter, gold leaf and spray paint.
I did so to add a level of uniqueness to my prints and often creating them as unique one off prints and not editions, with the added extra level of the hand embellishment.
I am generally attracted to these mediums and hand embellishing techniques because I love glossy surfaces.
Therefore perspex, Swarovski, glitter and gold leaf are the perfect elements for my art. Anything that shines and is glossy.
Can you walk us through your process? How do you know when an artwork finished?
I generally start by choosing interesting and unusual colours for my skulls.
I have done a lot or research on colours and one of my first multicoloured artworks called “The Importance of Being Ernest” is a series of 40 skulls of myself arranged in a rainbow like array with interesting colours. I have recently created a crowned version of The Importance of Being Earnest with 48 Skulls.
I like arrays of colours and other recent works like Royal Book which is an array of 16 First Class stamps with my classic X-rayed profile of the Queen, are a perfect example of how I like to combine unusual colours in a matrix.
The artwork is finished for me when is simple, colourful and the medium is glossy. I like simple compositions based on colours with simple shapes and very few elements usually one or two.
Has being in isolation affected your artwork practice in any way?
The negative impact was the closure of art exhibitions and fairs because most of my work is difficult to capture online. There is a limit when showing images of pieces with gold leaf and Swarovski crystals because these pieces need to bee seen in the flesh to appreciate the bouncing of the light on the gold or the crystals so this has definitely had a negative impact on how I could present my work.
The positive impact has been having more time to think and go back to revise even my older works and eventually being able with my series ‘In the Eyes of the Beholder” to go back to my beginnings when I was using images of flowers. I am really pleased with this new series where I combine macro photography of eyes and flowers I take with my camera and combining them in an image that is also allusive of shapes and colours of the universe (nebulas, supernovas, black holes), reminding us how the microcosm and macrocosm are connected.
What is the best advice given to you as an artist?
My best advice is to keep producing art, even if it doesn’t sell. I think that having a large body of work creates interest and also generates growth and development for the artist, so never stop making and exploring new medias, techniques, themes.
Also, I strongly advise to find your own theme and uniqueness, something that people may recognise you for and make your work stand out at a show and people say, “Oh I recognise this work, it’s by…”
Having your own individual style will make you unique and recognisable and therefore will make people talk about you and remember who you are and what you do.
Shop artwork by Ernesto and other trailblazing artists at The Other Art Fair’s Online Studios.
Introducing The Other Art Fair Online Studios, a new online platform offering art lovers around the world access to over 800 Fair artists. The Online Studios will keep our community feeling inspired, engaged, and continue to spread joy through art.