For Italian artist Lina Russo, art has always been her destiny, but for many years it remained her pastime and retreat from the difficulties of life. Today Lina is a successful full-time artist living and working in New York City. Fine Art Shippers spoke with her about the twists and turns of her journey, spirituality, and bridges between the past and the future.
Artist Talk: Lina Russo on Transformation and the Bridges of Life
How did you get started as an artist?
Lina Russo: Sometimes I ask myself: Why do I do it? The answer is: It is in my blood. As a child, I loved to see my father sculpting wood and creating beautiful furniture – I think that’s when I started to get interested in art. I also liked math and science, and while growing up, I preferred scientific studies. I became a nurse due to the economic circumstances, neglecting art and design, which, however, continued to be part of my life. Self-taught, I studied the techniques of painting, sculpture, and decoration. My artistic journey began with informal lessons at home, in my spare time, which taught me composition, color, perspective, and how to express emotions through art.
Can you describe the moment when you received the offer to work in an art gallery in New York?
It was in a very delicate moment in my life. I received the offer to exhibit my artwork in a New York gallery while visiting my son in Los Angeles. I was stunned and sat in silence for a few moments before accepting the offer. It was the culmination of many years of hard work and dedication, and I knew it was a chance to change my life by moving to New York City.
What was the inspiration behind “The Bridge,” the first painting you created upon your arrival in New York City? How does it represent your transition to a new period of your life?
The inspiration for “The Bridge” comes from my living experience in New York City. It was a time when I experienced many transitions in my life and found myself between arrival and departure, considering all the possible choices in front of me. The bridge unites two traffic lanes and connects two distant points in space and time. It represents the transition from the past to the future, and the vibrant red hues are meant to evoke the energy and excitement I felt while forging a new path for myself in this city. It is also a metaphor for the optimism I felt as I moved to NYC. The bridge’s structure reflects life’s cycles and the ability to continually evolve and adapt to changing circumstances. The painting seeks to capture the beauty, energy, and hope of embracing the unknown.
How has your artist career been developing in the United States?
My artistic career in the United States has grown steadily over the past few years. I had some successful exhibitions and collaborated with other artists, which helped increase my visibility as an artist. Also, I was able to interact with international galleries; it was a great opportunity to share my work with a wider audience. Finally, I have steadily built my online presence with a website and blog, as well as an active social media presence on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
What has been a particularly successful piece or project you have created?
I would mention “The Door,” a painting in which I explore spirituality and transformation. It portrays a ghostly figure standing to the right of the door, facing the viewer, with a large hand pointing towards the entrance. Two other figures are visible in the painting, illuminated by the light shining through the doorway, suggesting the presence of a mystical vortex with symbols on the other side. The painting symbolizes the courage and strength we need to cross a symbolic threshold and open the door to our future. It represents the inner journey of transformation from dark to light. Rays of light stream down to the spiritual figures, guiding the viewer on their journey. The ghost is an intermediary, the space between the physical and the spiritual; it is a symbol of transformation. I sold this work that was not dry yet, and I believe there is a soul in that painting, which I consider one of my masterpieces.
What are the recurrent themes or subjects that you often explore in your artwork?
In my work, I often explore themes such as identity, spirituality, and relationships. I have created a variety of pieces that depict personal spiritual journeys, as well as works that delve into the realm of art as a form of political and socio-cultural activism.
How do you infuse your personal experiences and emotions into your artwork?
I enjoy creating art that captures a specific memory or experience, whether it’s through sculpture or painting. I often use color, texture, and shape to explore themes of identity, emotion, and memory. My artwork tends to be very colorful, and it’s usually inspired by my own thoughts and feelings. Through my art, I aim to express the inner struggles that I’ve faced throughout my life.
By sharing these stories, I hope to create a connection with my audience and evoke similar emotions within them. I would like my artwork to be an opportunity for reflection and introspection and to foster feelings of positivity and joy. Also, I hope to challenge traditional perceptions of beauty and stimulate dialogue about how art can be used as a tool for social or political change.
How do you work with materials when creating a new piece?
When working with oil, I typically start by gathering reference materials and planning a composition. I do a quick draft to smooth out my ideas. So once I have the colors, I start building the piece’s foundation. I usually blend each color directly onto the canvas creating a complex texture. Then I continue to apply layers to create dimension until I get the desired effect.
What do you consider when choosing an art shipper?
Shipping depends on my specific needs. I usually carry them with a helper. But when choosing an art shipper, I consider the size and weight of my artwork, the method of transportation, and the delivery time. I look at reviews about the potential art shippers, as well as the cost of the shipping service.
Photo courtesy of Lina Russo