Yorkshire Art Journal: International colourist Giuliana Lazzerini

How did your painting practice begin?
G.L: My father was a painter and mosaic maker and he passed his love of painting onto me. Exposure to colour and geometry during my childhood encouraged me to study art and painting in Tuscany, sparking a passion for art which has never left me.

Tell us about the importance of colour in your work. Why is colour powerful?
G.L: I feel very attracted by colour and its power to communicate emotions. I can’t explain why, as I have a very instinctive approach in the way I use it. As a child I played with colourful mosaic tesserae and I used to spend hours putting colours together until they felt right and almost vibrated. I guess there may be that child still inside me.

How does your creative process work, and what do you do if you become stuck in a creative rut? 
G.L: I never start from a blank canvas as I cover the canvas with swatches of colour similar to a tapestry. I start the painting having a vague idea of what it is going to be about, but I like to keep all my options open as it evolves. I very rarely become stuck in a creative rut as I am very prolific but if I do, changing the medium in which I work can often stimulate new ideas and processes.

Where do you live/have you lived in the past, and how has it impacted your work?
 I was born and grew up in Tuscany, Italy. This has had a strong impact on my work. Pietrasanta is a place where art is part of everybody’s life; this medieval town, nicknamed ‘Little Athens’, is surrounded by Michelangelo’s marble mountains. When there, my father’s love for art and some inspiring art-passionate friends and teachers impacted me. I came to discover the world in such a wonderful land full of art, light and colour, and the memories are very vivid and precious.

What are you inspired by?
G.L: The world and nature around me offer constant inspiration. Experiences from my past that surface as memories can also act as a starting point for my paintings, as they remain strong.

Tell us about your recent projects and interests.
Having moved to York four years ago, the city and the countryside around has inspired me – especially in terms of my paintings and linocuts, where animals that inhabit the landscape have become the subject of some recent work.

Do you feel that your works possess certain qualities of tapestries?
G.L: People often describe my paintings as being like tapestries. I guess my brush and palette knives form brushstrokes like threads that can remind one of tapestries.          

Whose work do you follow and admire?
G.L: I like many artists but Paul Klee is my favourite, as his work touches my senses and my soul. He can fall in love with a simple leaf and can take me on the most amazing journeys into his paintings and the world‘s most magical mysteries and discoveries, just as a child discovers the world around them.