- Salvatore Polistena's Nostalgic Imagery
- Gabriela Lezcano and Alejandro Veneziani: Working as a Team
- Wonderland Puzzle
- Special Recognition for José Pelegrina in Puerto Rico
- Abby Levine and the Big Bend Area of Texas
- George Anderson's Art Education Project
- Abdulwahab Mihoub Exhibits in Algeria
- David Wickenden Completes Portrait of the Prime Minister
- Tayseer Barakat's Ziryab Café
- Sue Walters On The Go!
- Dino Muradian's "Adoration of the Shepherds"
Italian pyrographic artist, Salvatore Polistena currently resides in Pisa in the northern
part of Italy. However, he is originally from the region of Calabria,
from the small city of Mileto located in the toe of the boot that is
Italy. It was in Mileto that his artistic career began as well as an
art movement that he co-founded with other artists there back in the
Salvatore works in various media and over the years has exhibited with great success in numerous group and individual shows. His works are exhibited in both public and private collections in Italy, Northern Europe, Canada, Australia, and The United States of America.
Besides his pyrography and other art work, Salvatore spends some of his time organizing and participating in a special vacation package he calls an "artists' get-together without borders" on the beach in beautiful Calabria.
"I have noticed," Salvatore says, "that [pyrography]
lends itself a great deal to works in decoration and is, in particular,
a way of doing stupendous copies of old photos or reproductions of old
prints and engravings."
Although Salvatore is well known for his excellent portraits, his portraits are not rendered in the usual technique of photorealism. Moreover, his copies and reproductions are not intended as exact replicas but are stylized interpretations. He incorporates contemporary details and techniques. He uses unexpected contrasts. At times he uses chiaro-oscuro to effect an antique look, yet it is not at all the look of works by Rembrandt and the other Old Masters of that technique. Likewise Salvatore makes use of a pointillism that is heavier and sporadic--not at all the pointillism made famous by Seurat and others of his era. In brief, he incorporates a wide variety of techniques in his own way and effectively creates his own personal style: It evokes nostalgia, it suggests memories, it touches the emotions. As one critic said, "[Salvatore creates] figures from time past projected into the present."
Here are some translated excerpts from the writings of one (very poetic)
critic of Salvatore's
The encounter of the visitor with the author is a wholly internal
journey through his works, the gift of a generous spirit, rich in human
values. One feels that he/she is traveling the path together [with the
artist]; it is never a solitary or solipsistic path.
The protagonist of these works is the spirit, the emotional 'status' of the artist, which is at times embodied in the man child, at times in the feminine figure in all its sweetness, and at times in that of an elderly man.
The author appears to us as a new Dante journeying in the catharsis of life, guided by the masters towards the Master of the masters, the Absolute.
From the burnt wood an infinite sweetness shows through in a crowd of images evoked from memory.
Portrait of Fidio Bartalini
Salvatore recounts that it was 1960 when he felt the need with other
artists to unite in order to give vent to their art and to free
thinking, outside of the rigid dogmas then prevailing in the field of
ethics as well as classist politics and a culture tied to the prevailing
The name they gave to their school of thought then was "Accademia degli Scapigliati" (Academy of The Disheveled), which came to be known in English as the Messy Hair Movement. The name came about because of the distinctive way they showed off their thick hair flying in the wind. No doubt it was also partially in deference to the original 19th Century art and literary movement that had come out of Milan in the north of Italy, which was likewise called Gli Scapigliati.
Their movement--complete with "hair flying in the wind"--was also their way to "go against the grain" to express (artistic) freedom outside of certain scripted (i.e., set) clichés.
It all started by chance one day when Salvatore had in his hand a simple
80-Watt soldering iron to heat some tin and wire he was going to use to
decorate a table top. He noticed that the heated pieces of metal that
had fallen on his worktable left sepia-colored marks very similar to the
color of old time photographs. And also that those burn marks took on
different tones according to the intensity and duration of the burn. It
was this observation that led Salvatore to experiment with this new
approach to drawing and to use the chiaro-oscuro that is part of what
characterizes his distinctive style.
Now, in fact, Salvatore has bought a series of diverse soldering irons with a temperature control that he built himself; in addition, he is beginning to make points that he shapes with a file and other tools.
View more of Salvatore Polistena's works, including some in other media,
at the Salvatore
and in the E-Museum of Pyrographic Art as well.
Only recently he set off one day for nearby Carrara to get some of that
famous marble to try his hand at sculpture.
He is already into planning and organizing the 2003 vacation get-together for artists and intellectuals that goes from May to September (except August) and takes place in a beach resort in the Calabria region (the southern tip of Italy's 'boot'). From all over, suggestions poured in from last summer's get-together, and Salvatore is more enthused than ever about the upcoming vacation season. He welcomes inquiries, so click on Artists' Get-Together in Calabria if you'd like more information.
Another goal of Salvatore's is to find an opportunity to receive commissions from the United States for his works in portraiture.
In regard to his pyrography, Salvatore currently wants to experiment doing some works combining this medium with figurative art. He is thinking he would apply color to create a veiled effect and yet at the same time leave it transparent enough to allow glimpses of the wood grain. He plans to start off by drawing a nude in a classical design such as in the style of Leonardo, then have the pyrography and painting gradually fade away creating an asymmetrical frame for the figure.
Perhaps one day soon the results of these intriguing ideas will turn up in a follow-up segment...
2002, Kathleen M. Garvey Menéndez, all rights reserved.