“I am most passionate about bringing my knowledge [of tasting] to consumers, “said an enthusiastic Orietta Gianjorio, a native Italian from Rome,...
If someone had to describe Italians in one word, that would be it. Italians are passionate. Whether it's about food or wine or art or life itself, Italians pour passion into the things they love and that passion shines through for the rest of the world to see. Perhaps that's why so many of the world's greatest artists are Italian; their passion for creating beauty - be it with pen and paper, paint and canvas or stone and chisel - makes their creations impossible for the rest of the world to ignore.
Sicilian-born artist Sebastiano Grasso is the embodiment of that kind of passion with his artwork.
His first San Diego exhibition - "Mediterranean Reflections" - will open at Little Italy's Convivio Center on April 10 and will run through September. His artwork is primarily landscapes inspired by his hometown of Erice in the Sicilian province of Trapani as well as his time spent in Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles and the High Desert. Grasso's style is described as a "simplistic style us[ing] a variety of mediums including oil on canvas and mixed media assemblage to demonstrate his faith in the power of whimsical and life affirming imagination."
Art has always been a great love for Grasso, however painting was not the first art medium he pursued. Grasso has lived in the United States a total of 14 years, hopscotching back and forth between Italy and the U.S. His first trip to the States took him to New York, where he tried his hand at acting and modeling.
Grasso spent time in Rome, training in the Stanislavski method and performing at the Teatro dei Cocchi, Teatro Agora and Teatro degli Artisti as a stage actor. It was during his time with these theater companies that he began studying art in workshops and practicing under the tutelage of local artisans.
When Grasso felt he had experienced everything he could with acting, he finally turned to paint and brush for a new way to express himself artistically. Inspired mainly by local artists he met throughout his travels, Grasso explains that his paintings are "more three-dimensional and very colorful...I like this style of [art]."
While his art may be coming to San Diego for the first time this month, he has had art shows in Los Angeles, Rome, Florence and Sicily.
When asked what he loves so much about painting, Grasso said, "You close your mind and you're in your own world, your own fantasy, and you can just be yourself. You can just connect with yourself and it's almost a spiritual moment. When I look at my work, I want to feel the relationship between wonder and distress that I thought I understood when I began the piece.”
"Mediterranean Reflections" opens at Convivio on Monday, April 10 at 7 p.m. with a launch party. Grasso will be in attendance to meet with the public and answer any questions about his work. While there is no charge for admission, Convivio does request that those interested in attending RSVP through their website. Appetizers and a no-host bar will be available.
More information about Grasso and his exhibition is available on the Events page of Convivio's website at www.conviviosociety.org.