A finalist in our Rising Talent Artist Search 2022, Salvatore Dibartolo proved to be one of our most popular and promising artists to join the Fenton & Fenton stable.
Salvatore’s ability to capture his memories of travel and youth in Sicily are brought to life through his skill with oil paints and a love of light and shadows.
Combining forces with artist Adrianne Dimitrakakis for their show, Odissea, their shared European heritage and affinity for colour and line engages with identity, place, pop culture and diaspora.
We speak to Salvatore about finding his niche as a self-taught artist and the impact Sicily has had on his work.
Taormina. This artwork represents one of my favourite places in Sicily, a town I visit time and time again and always marvel at how spectacular (and popular) this tiny clifftop town is. It represents the colours, the smells, the vibrancy and playfulness of its people.
76cm x 76cm
Acrylic on Canvas
What do you hope people will feel or take away when experiencing your work, particularly this exhibition?
I hope people will get a sense of the importance of how colours are used to represent different themes. Particularly in Sicily where much of the older generations were illiterate, intricate patterns and colours were used to adorn everyday items and used to communicate folkloristic stories, religious traditions and of life on the land and at sea.
What can you share about your creative process and how you go about starting a new body of work?
In this series of artworks, I was inspired by the intricate patterns and colours of Sicily. The famous Sicilian carretti were adorned with fine paintings, portraits and patterns which demonstrated families produce, history and success. I focus on colour palette, patterns and form to help construct the artwork and once I’m satisfied with the ’base’ I build upon the details and experiment with bright colours.
You’ve mentioned that the process of defining your niche has been challenging and satisfying. Can you speak more to how you developed your style and how it has evolved over time?
As a self-taught artist, defining my niche has been a long process. Experimenting with different techniques and mediums challenged my artistic ability and I’ve particularly loved learning how to paint with oils. The first time I used oils, I swore never to use them ever again but having had the confidence to persevere with them, I feel my artistic ability continues to evolve and so does my confidence.
Odissea draws from your memories and identity as a person from the Italian diaspora. How do those themes impact your work, particularly the ones in this exhibition?
My artworks are a representation of moments and memories spent throughout my youth to adulthood in Italy. Italy for me is a total feast of the senses, particularly Sicily which was invaded by many leaving so many different artistic influences.
What's next for you?
Moving into creating art full time has been a terrific opportunity so I’d like to build upon my art practice and would be great to focus on more exhibitions and art fairs. This exhibition has been a chance to explore a subject matter close to my heart, so I’d love to keep creating more of them.
Odissea is an exhibition combining the art practices of Salvatore Dibartolo and Adrianne Dimitrakakis, artists who share European heritage and an affinity for colour and line.
Odissea will be exhibited at the Fenton & Fenton Gallery from Thursday 23 February to Saturday 4 March.
View the exhibition here
View the collection here