ArtCan are pleased to introduce you to our artist, Rosso Emerald Crimson. Rosso is primarily self-taught. She trained briefly at the Prince Drawing School and the London Atelier of Representational Art (LARA) in London before starting painting full time in 2016. Since then she won two prizes (the “Emerald Winter Pride Art Awards 2016”, the “Holly Bush Emerging Woman Painter Prize 2017”); she was shortlisted for several competitions and in 2018 she was selected to participate in the popular TV series “Sky Portrait Artist of the year 2019”. She exhibited at venues such as Mall Galleries, The Strand, Bloomsbury and with Zebra One and The Underdog Gallery in London.
What is your art practice and what themes are you exploring and why?
I am a painter. My body of work is composed of classical portraiture and more accomplished figurative paintings with narratives developed around the female identity, reflecting my own life and experiences as a woman. I use portraiture and self-portraiture in particular to explore feelings and taboos connected to gender identity, sexuality, beauty, relationships, childhood, motherhood and femininity in general. I was born in Sicily and lived there until my early 20s. Growing up in an island, and within the context of a country with strong moral precepts, definitely left an imprint on both my personal and creative life. One theme that tends to recur in my art (and my subconscious) is connected to the abuse and misappropriation of a culture that is dominated by distorted and monolithic ideas of female beauty and gender identity: two aspects which I witnessed in first person and affected me as a teenager and as a growing woman. Most evident examples of this motif are my self-portraits “Madame Moustache” and “Reflections (on the self)”, both very provocative and defiant assertions of a regained femininity, and “Frippery”, a cry against the prevailing culture which treat women into ‘object’ of beauty and pleasure, just like dolls.
Which artists and movements historically have influenced you?
I have been inspired by a rich variety of art movements – impressionists, realists, pop and more contemporary form of urban and street art. In general, I am attracted by both the aesthetics and the political/social message. I love far too many past and contemporary artists to name any!
How important do you think it is that ArtCan is able to offer opportunities for exhibiting outside of the formal gallery structure?
I find the environment around the formal gallery structure too competitive and intimidating for emerging artists – eventually undermining our self-esteem. It is therefore so important that organisations like Artcan, created by artists and for artists, exist to offer an alternative exhibiting and also networking space, where artists can collaborate and share experience in a less judgemental way.
What is your experience like working with ArtCan? And how will it help you in the future?
Since working with ArtCan I have had an amazing opportunity to exhibit with fellow member artists in different locations across London, showcase the variety within my practice and be part of a growing creative community. As the community grows it opens up new opportunities in the UK and across the globe, which every artist who is part of ArtCan can benefit from.
Do you have to balance your art practice with a day job or other work? If so, do you feel this is just the way an artist has to survive these days?
I am lucky I managed to build all my activities around my art practice – commissions, teaching and also framing occasionally. I suppose being flexible and open to different options is the key to survive. Or winning the lottery.
What would be your advice for artists starting out in their careers?
Learn and practice a lot based on what other artists have already achieved, experiment, make mistakes, plenty of them, and advance from them. Keep your art flowing, and growing.
What are your aims for 2019/2020 as an artist?
The same as suggested earlier – keep exploring and expanding my approach. Give myself some more challenges. I’d love to start collaborating with other artists, hopefully joining Artcan will facilitate that!
Find out more about Rosso Emerald Crimson here: