What is the soul of the essence? For the artist Stefano Siggillino essence is a colourful world, where primary colours are the masters and black and white become lovers.
For Stefano Siggillino, the passion for Mediterranean culture nourishes his art, leaving him like a castaway on the shores of Greece. We met Stefano, artist and co-founder of sealfactory, a place where young and talented artists can express themselves.
What does “rebirth” mean to you? What do you associate this concept with?
In my opinion, human beings do not carry out any physical but spiritual rebirth process, this in most cases goes through a very tiring and powerful act. Just like in Greek mythology, when Persephone is kidnapped by Hades to return to her land by her mother Demeter eats six pomegranate grains, a symbol of rebirth with a vermilion red colour like blood, which unites life and death. Just like in this myth, Persephone’s return to the underworld is cyclical, just like the continuous processes of revolution and rebirth that the human being is forced to go through to complete his own act of completion. My processes of rebirth take place through my art, they are born and die with its fulfilment and every time it is not repeated in the same, thus evolving into new creative stimuli that generate a revolution.
What are the inspirations for your works / Which artists do you inspire?
My art is made up of essential forms, the essential, the soul of the essence is the protagonist. Mine is a colourful world, where primary colours are the masters and black and white become lovers. I have always been struck by Greek art. In fact, artists like Alekos Fassianos and Dimitris Mytaras inspire me. As for the colours, I would say without any doubt that Mirò played a fundamental role in my works.
My inspiration is Serafino, my best friend, but also my worst enemy … and he is imaginary! Serafino is the voice that speaks to you when you are down and gives you the push yourself. Each of us has a Serafino in our mind – this is quite obvious – but many do not know his existence or probably he’s been forgotten. Serafino is easy to forget as he is an emotion one feels when carrying out an action that makes you a child again, something that adults don’t do anymore.
It is precisely there, in that precise moment, that Serafino is born; but like all children, he needs energy to grow. His food is his creativity. Without it, Serafino makes no sense to exist.
So Serafino is not only my best friend but also your best friend. He lives in an imaginary world where it is not possible for him to really touch feelings and emotions except through someone who transmits them to him. He can, therefore, absorb happiness like hatred, but he doesn’t know he is happy or angry, just like a child who is still discovering who he is. In simple words: dreams, love and life are the protagonists of my inspirations.
Tell us about your artistic background and your studies
Since I was a child, I have suffered from a small disorder – or, as I call it, superpower – dyslexia. Therefore, I could not express myself clearly and no one taught me how to do it. I found in art an immediate and sincere communication channel, which fueled my passion, born out of need and transformed into dedication.
I grew up in a family where art and the freedom to be and express oneself were never lacking. I grew up with the Disney classics and songs that praised the revolution and socio-political/cultural change by growing curious and revolutionary.
In middle school, my art teacher told me that I would never have a future in the art field because I thought outside of the box too much. I could see beyond the actual reality, as I was more sensitive than the average.
This hasn’t stopped me. I enrolled in the art school in Matera, my hometown, where I specialized in the academic sector.
I will never forget one of my biggest fans, my drawing teacher Marta Salonna. I remember that one day we had to deliver the reproduction of a work as a final year exam before graduating. I chose Burri. I sat in the schoolyard inside a 2x2m wooden frame to burn plastic bags with a lighter and some hair spray. Perhaps due to toxic fumes or some other reason, the need arose in me to create and stay in contact with everything material.
At 18 years old, I moved to Milan. I had never been to Milan! I graduated from IED in Art direction and Advertising Marketing. I thought it might become my path, but I was just putting aside my real being to chase a dream that I didn’t really want to come true either.
In this period, I am developing a project that is very close to my heart, it is called Seal Factory, a cultural association founded by myself, Roberto Guagnano, Alice Bignardi and Olga Bartzoka. A group of young people united by a single common passion for art and culture.
We decided to found a non-profit association through which we want to plan projects to raise awareness about the world of art and literature, speaking to all emerging artists (in any discipline). It would be a space where everyone can express their creativity, attending workshops, exhibitions, artistic residencies to create a real cultural living room just like Andy Warhol did, who in the 70s made his factory available to other artists.
Show us your favourite work. Could you tell us your story and anecdotes about its making?
I don’t think I have a favourite piece, but if I have to choose one in particular to tell, I would choose Mediterranea, a work of 108×117 cm approx. Acrylic on canvas. I can’t help but choose it since it fully represents my deep passion for the culture of the Mediterranean, a culture that made me land like a castaway on the shores of Greece, nourishing my art.
When I created this work, I was on the island of Mykonos during the lockdown period. The island was deserted and I decided to take an excursion to another very small island on the opposite, Delos. For the uninitiated, it is an island dedicated to the God Apollo. Legend has it that the first to be born on the island was Artemis, who helped her mother to give birth to her brother Apollo. At the birth of Apollo, God of the Sun, the island was shrouded in light and has since been called Delos (island of light). This island was the birthplace of two of the most powerful gods of love who represent one the opposite of the other while maintaining a union, day and night. Mediterranea represents the birth of Apollo, the meeting between the light and the terrestrial that always reaches out to him.
Discover more about Stefano Siggillino’s work here!