INTERVIEW WITH MATTEO LO GRECO
Lea Rose Kara, April 2019
Matteo Lo Greco is a Sicilian born sculptor who investigates themes of love, friendship, tenderness, warmth, family and motherhood in his abstracted nude female forms. His bronze sculptures showcase an impressive balance between lightness and heaviness, with the figures seemingly caught in motion mid-dance or flight. Lo Greco is an Official Member of the National Society of Fine Arts of Portugal and is the Founder and President of the Association Artisti Spa+A in Italy. His work can be found in many different countries across the five continents, yet it is his fascination with oriental culture that often leads him back to Shanghai and Beijing where he creates important public and private commissions. Intrigued by Lo Greco’s successful artistic life, I travelled to Venice to interview him in his studio on the Lido over a cup of strong Italian coffee.
Matteo Lo Greco, Sitting on the Wire, 2010
55x30x20 cm, Bronze
© Image courtesy of Matteo Lo Greco
Lea Rose Kara: What has been your greatest influence?
Matteo Lo Greco: The greatest influence on me has been my own heart and my life experiences, which I always put into my work.
LRK: What sparked your interest in art, specifically sculpture?
MLG: I’ve always had sculpture in my blood and have been interested in it ever since I was a child.
LRK: Why do you choose to mainly use plaster and bronze in your sculptures?
MLG: Each artist discovers the materials they prefer. In my case, I tend to work in stages; first creating a clay sculpture, then enlarging it into a plaster form before making it in bronze. Bronze is a good material to use for outdoor sculptures, as it will withstand weathering. However, I also cast my small clay sculptures and maquettes in bronze for indoors.
LRK: Why have you chosen to explore the female form in your work?
MLG: Women have always been a man’s muse. I have never asked myself why I was specifically interested in the female form, it just comes naturally to me.
“I’ve always had sculpture in my blood and have been interested in it ever since I was a child.”
Matteo Lo Greco Working in his studio, 2018
Photography: Lea Rose Kara
LRK: How do you decide on the price of your sculptures?
MLG: I work closely with my gallery here in Venice to decide on the prices.
LRK: Have you ever received any commissions and if so how do you deal with them?
MLG: Yes, I have received lots of commissions from all over the world. They often have set requirements such as specific measurements and subject matter. For example, Canada commissioned a sculpture of 2.5 meters, Mexico wanted a large horse and Japan requested an enormous sculpture.
LRK: How Important are the titles for your works? Do you title your work before you begin or do you wait until the sculpture is finished?
MLG: There are no decisions made about the title before the work is completed. The actual work inspires the name in a spontaneous way. The inspiration for the name could be decided on a whim after observing the finished piece.
LRK: Why do you choose to have three studios and does each one allow you to produce a different type of work?
MLG: Each studio inspires me in a different way. I have a studio in Venice because my gallery is here. One in Tuscany because it’s larger and offers me more space to create and showcase bigger sculptures. I also have one in Sicily because that’s where I am from and where my family resides.
Matteo Lo Greco’s Studio on the Lido, 2018
Photography: Lea Rose Kara
LRK: How did you manage to maintain your growing success and exhibit all over the world?
MLG: Hard work and dedication. I also try to be smart about investing back into my art. For example, I only bought the studio in Tuscany a few years ago. I knew that buying a large studio space and grounds would enable me to challenge the scale of my works and explore different methods of creation. Also, by buying and creating a small gallery for my work in Venice, I’ve made my work accessible to all the tourists and international art lovers. Luca, at the gallery, manages the marketing of my work and my schedule, which is always very hectic. I have become successful internationally, even in China and India, and have been requested to carry out commissions all over the world. People enjoy coming to Venice to visit my studio and gallery and to talk to me. I am lucky because when people meet me, they like me and they buy my work.
LRK: What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
MLG: The answer to being a successful artist is to be hard working, believe in your art and never give up. Be an artist but also be a business person; embrace the fact that art is a competitive business.
Matteo Lo Greco