As a child, they used to ask me what will I be in the future, and I used to answer: "as at present". I didn't want to be an astronaut. I remember being fourteen and my first study of a church aisle in exchange for a painting. I painted a large picture with outsiders and prostitutes around a fire, untitled "It may be the last supper". Of course, they never hung it. Perhaps they expected a traditional "Last Supper".
Then, the years of the study above a restaurant open until late at night, in exchange for one painting a month. A pay-by-the-hour room or rented to theater people on tour, where I met crime reporters, actors, gangland lawyers but also great artists such as Dario Fò, Franca Rame, Ruggeri, Albertazzi, etc… Young, naive and enthusiastic, I absorbed any nuance and detail like a sponge, I listened, I talked and discussed until dawn. It was my world, the life I wanted. The fault was my grandmother's, the first bad seed (so to speak, daughter of a Carabiniere on horseback who suddenly dropped everything to try his luck as a "pirate" on a ship that sailed the South Seas... my grandmother's name was Jolanda, just like the Black Corsair's daughter. Probably not a coincidence). She was a great intellectual and a talented painter, to whom I used to steal the sheets to paint on them. I think about my younger self, about my pilgrimages through Italy and Europe just to get to know Vedova, Munari, Scanavino, Tinguely, Bacon (naturally to the pub). I think about my artisan friends who transmitted me their knowledge. Without them I would not be able to weld, work stone materials, carve wood, engrave... when I take a chisel in my hand or another tool, they are with me.
And I think about my teachers, about the way they made me angry when they forced me to unlearn to draw, then taught again by using the brain and not only by trusting in my gift. "Wax on, wax off" (teacher Miyagi/cit. from Karate Kid). I learned to control myself, to dominate my impetuous and volcanic impulses. Probably not enough. The fistfight with my sculpture teacher whose name I don't even remember, has become epic, just like my expulsion from the Academy. But I had my good reasons, and I would do it again. On the other hand even "Ezra and Ernest" from A Movable Feast by Hemingway used to do the same, didn't they?
As expected, I skipped meals to buy tubes of paint, but then I have been able to afford whole lots and eat in the best restaurants in the world. I hitchhiked, traveled on vehicles that are difficult to describe and even imagine, ladies carrying big cages of chickens invading my sit, when I was trying to see the Great Wall of China from my window. But I also owned Ferraris, traveled in first-class and with private jets, up to renting a cargo plane (all for me), so that my works could arrive the next day to an emir.
I dealt with people of all nationalities and colors, shared food and ideas with everyone, whether they were truck drivers or sheiks. I managed to work in the most unthinkable places: airplanes, large cities, hotels, war sites, old military bases, desert, everything and always in the name of my dreams and Art, working for everyone and with everyone, without any distinction nor prejudice: weapon dealers, musicians, politicians, actors, footballers, intellectuals, poets, architects, sheiks, poor and billionaires. All of them transmitted me something in their own way. Sometimes I was welcomed in difficult countries with pointed machine guns and suspicion, but I knew it, the "Farnesina" warned me. Others with great ceremonies and honors. In a few hours I went from tropical climates, with shirts stuck on the skin, to arctic climates, I have seen unforgettable metropolises and marvelous sunsets, met special people of all races and classes, made friends. There have been supportive and enduring women, even when they did not understand that sometimes when I looked out the window "I was already working". Others made my life more interesting but complicated ( the ones I fancied, the ones good for the ego, the important ones and that taxi of women that I really loved). A son that I raised alone who gave me rules and schedules. I dealt with art all-round, painting, sculpture, applied arts, design, realized the humblest things as well as great works (even gadgets for the post-Gulf war), always with the same enthusiasm. In Asia I supported governmental projects involving children who prostituted themselves, teaching them a job, finally making them play and study, so that they wouldn't go back to where they had been collected. In my opinion, this is Art. I painted, sculpted, welded, engraved, drawn, designed, written, suffered and rejoiced. I never tried to do just a pleasant job, I wanted it to be meaningful above all, always trying to be outside the box. I have had small and uncomfortable offices as well as very large ones. Shoveled mud, works, machinery, documentation and my own history, when a river invaded my studio, but I was there. Made almost industrial productions with teams of collaborators. At that moment I wanted to do my art that way, learning the most distant things from an artist who loves poetry: organization, planning, business, quotes, strategies, accounts. This existence of mine is found on my "work", all of this is part of the big plan of life, since we are all a bit of everything and at the same time its opposite: crazy, selfish, generous, ingenious, naive, boring, funny, vagabonds, unfaithful, revolutionaries, reliable, poets. I never succeeded and I never wanted to distinguish between Art and Life, for me it is all one... "etcetera, because the soup gets cold"*. (Leonardo Da Vinci / cit. From the Arundel Code)*