“If I did manage to recover and had another chance, I would spend the rest of my life creating these paintings as a way to explain the miracles present in the world.”
By Giovanni Pulze
Usually, the right key to unlock and interpret a painting involves analyzing the structure of the work itself — from the graphic construction to the color component — bearing in mind the origins, the academic studies, and the exhibition path that, over the years, has helped define the style.
In my case, in order to explain my work, I have to tell you a little more about my family and my personal life.
I think I had a happy childhood; the love-hate relationship with my father was, thankfully, overshadowed by the sweetness of my mother. However, because I often disregarded their directives and failed to live up to their expectations in study and behavior, I often found myself punished and relegated to my bedroom, where I began fantasizing about drawing. The colored pencils and chalk were like friends to me, and with them, I never felt alone.
In the following years, painting became a form of companionship, a way to fight shyness and to brush aside a dysfunctional family life. I soon discovered and embraced art in books and in museums.
When my father realized that my desire in life was to be an artist and not the course he had charted for me, he then proceeded to kick me out of the house.
CAREER AND SUCCESS
In the 1980s, reality hit hard. Living by painting landscapes or making copies of the Renaissance masters turned out to be a risky endeavor, an impossible road to travel; consequently, I was forced to find work anywhere I could, even as a glass washer in a nightclub at one point.
One evening, an eyewear entrepreneur told me about the considerable profits made by the sector’s designers and, instinctively, I threw myself into this new venture, regardless of the initial challenges due to the technical and ergonomic design of the eyewear.
After a couple of months, I started to sell the first prototypes, and just a few years later, major international brands were presenting my models on the market. At the end of the 90s, I felt fulfilled. I had a solid career as a designer and a graphic design studio.
THE CRISIS AND THE DARKNESS
But life always has surprises in store. A series of unfortunate and painful circumstances ensued, and in a few months, all of the work and all of my lifetime savings evaporated, plunging me into a nightmare. It was at that point, in that forced exile from reality, that I started to paint again.
I was looking for an escape, a hope, even if I painted sad things like post-industrial urban suburbs and prostitutes. But then, I painted the first angel with white wings. He was my angel, the one I hoped would exist somewhere and come to my rescue. I painted him lost, in atmospheres that were often monochrome, in scenes where he wandered only at night, in dark cities, on deserted roads, and in abandoned factories.
The harsh truth, however, was that no gallery owner wanted these melancholy, mournful paintings. Throughout many nights of loneliness and despair, I promised myself one thing: If I did manage to recover and had another chance, I would spend the rest of my life creating these paintings as a way to explain the miracles present in the world.
THE ANGELS AND THE MESSAGE
It was precisely in that darkness, in that depth of despair, that the first star illuminated, and then another star, and then another. And the magic happened. “The angel” showed up. Somehow a brochure with my works ended up in the hands of a gallery owner I didn’t even know, and this owner offered me the opportunity to set up an exhibition on angels.
I sold my first paintings, and it was the beginning of my rebirth. So I filled the canvases with lots of cheerful colors and moving figures and replaced the suburbs and empty streets with metropolises from all over the world. Within what might seem like a simple yet decorative painting that depicts city life with its lights, cars, and people, there is an explicit invitation for the viewer to identify, amidst all this, with the silhouette of the angel.
The paintings also serve as a warning to pay the same attention in real life to those who pass by — to lower the umbrella, to get out of our personal bubble exacerbated by technology and social networks, to look at our desk companion or our neighbor or the passenger on the bus or train or the next person who crosses our path. It could be a life-changer.
Another important thing:
As you can see, the people — and even the angel — are represented without eyes, nose, and mouth. Since there are no faces, we can ideally replace them with our own, and we can even choose to wear those wings ourselves. True happiness is not felt in owning titles or in accumulating material wealth, but rather in feeling useful, in being an important figure in someone’s life, in being there when needed, in helping others in times of difficulty. We, ourselves, today and in the coming days, have a chance to be Angels.