Richard Ozanne

  1959 -
  City of Birth:
St Louis
 
 

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Richard 's Story > Chapters > Italy 2003-06

"ITALY" 

 

Date Range: 03/23/2003 To 06/10/2030   Comments: 0   Views: 281
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ITALY

The Italian Studio of Art- Richard Ozanne 2003-06

  After arriving in Torino (Turin) it was not long before an offer for a wonderful and practical studio came forth  and a rental prospective available in Venaria Reale Italy.
I had visited Torino numbers of times in the past, the first time in 1974 with my parents (Ozan and Patricia Benkman) during a residence in Cannes France (Listed in a chapter here)
One place came after several choices in the city of Torino. There was a large and sprawling Cashina and several regular apartments to be seen, one a sprawling mansion which might have been let out or house sat for the period.
Italy was a place to explore. It was a romantic setting for my fiancee of the day to contemplate future life. She was American and knew Italian fluently. My Italian suffered to musical terms and a year of Latin, Spanish that was pushed my way in High School.
Simplicity was elegance in a framework all of its own. I had viewed an old large stable with a farmhouse as a possible studio right in the center of Turin, but the thought escaped me as many other settings in the urban sphere. I needed something unique, and obviously unique was an apartment thrown my way that overlooked a castle on the Mandria. It was a natural choice of an apartment that was given up for prospects in a different city by an Alitalia-Italian airline pilot who was moving to Berlin.
The apartment was premium, the rent was simple, one month security of one month rent, the transfer of papers done on a living room couch not in a real estate office, (Italian real estate rentals can charge one month fee for the rental property)
After a week of looking about and considering even a large cottage home in the mountains overlooking a great canyon vista, the property became available immediately. So many possibilities did open almost automatically when they were asked for, having simplicity behind them.
The choice marble floor one bedroom overlooked the castle in Venaria Reale and was across the block and down the way from the magnificent Parco d' Mandria. (video)
My studio was just a few green lined blocks away from downtown Venaria, and had easy access to most of what was needed without a car.
I did procure an ancient model 1970 version of theFiat 500 for use if I needed it, a simple fee for insurance was the only measure aside from joining the Torino Auto Club of antique cars.
Life seemed almost planned out. It was not even two weeks before I was having offers to teach English as a second language and propose classes in my new home.
I began work as soon as the lease was signed for the studio and I moved in.
Life was rather easy but terribly busy,a swift adjustment. I began to gather needed materials traveling down t Porta Palazzo  and visiting the markets for furniture and everything else needed, buying at a discount, getting suitable furniture for the art studio..
During the first month of residence in Venaria it was not long before I started exhibiting in Torino as well as surrounding cities, towns and villiages. I met artists and artistic directors of Italian academies which offered me shows, often highly advertised for their members.
One of my first contacts was Armando Farina, an artist from Turin who directed the Accademia Internazionale Santarita.
There were other private groups that offered me membership in various academies and other exhibition experiences.
One month after arrival I was exhibiting in Asti Italy at a benefit exhibition for Tsunami victims under sponsorship for UNICEF, taking place at the great castle.
I seemed to meet many of the famous artists of the Italian (current generation) vanguard artists. Although somewhat feeling guarded intitialy, there was a wonderful acceptance into the artist culture of Italy, that was heartfelt and enduring.
In no time things began to be arranged in Italy for my residence. During this period I petitioned for the Permesso d’ Sojourno (The so called Green Card for extended stay in the Italian Republic). I had held a green card in Czech Republic for a number of years that facilitated a long stay, legal work and peace of mind. Since this was Europe (rather the EU) I was looking at a simple transfer of my Czech papers to Italy. I was given the address and made arrangements to have an appointment with a state representitive of the EU, that would facilitate a Carte’ Blue for Europe. There was no end to waiting through this particular period however. Letters went to Czech and Rome. Eventually I received a wonderful response for not only a permission of stay, in the Permesso eventually,  but a long letter from the Province of Torino, Piedmonte Italy,  the Mayor of the city and governing bodies offering Italian citizenship to me as a foreigner. I was interested in the Permesso d Sorjorno however.
Days were consumed with art work-
I had an old but do able piano to practice on as well as studio material delivered on an overall vertical assent to some of the most amazing experiences.

Of course there were the problems that came mostly from a person I trusted who was my fiencee and an American. But that is aside from the point as such problems really did not need to exist, but did, and were somehow a detrimental circumstance.
(See Marni and Deardress as a comical and dastardly episode...some fact, gut wrenching, endearing  and sad as part of this venture) I think its comic relief as to that episode of engagement disaster...which would turn anyones hair white)
The artist s life continues on despite this. and enjoys what beauty there is in the country of beauty and arts. The Studio in Venaria Reale/Torino
Studio 288 Via Cavallo, the Cashina Venaria Reale (TO) 2005-06
(Photo of Award for Richard Ozanne- 2005 in the Int,l (International Piccalo Formatto Exhibition-Small works exhibiton, 1st primo (First Prize-Medaglia del oro)..Signed by 5 critics in Italy.
Exhibitions
In late 2003 after my arrival in Torino (Turin) Italy, I became interested in meeting artists and promoting my artwork via exhibitions and showings of my personal work in Italy. I found the environment very accepting and progressive when it came to the arts. The backdrop of my long zig-zag crossings at home seemed far away in many respects, yet at the same time there was always a feeling or sensation of homesickness in some ways for America. I suppose it happens in the first few weeks of arrival that one misses the creature comforts of what one remembers, the ease of access to some things, mostly in regards to language and culture. One misses speaking English of course and has to facilitate themselves to great involvement in cultural immersion, especially the language.
I was at ease in the first couple of weeks however and this bridge was not as difficult as Prague was during my initial long-term residency there. Czech was and is in my heart, a beautiful land and beautiful culture.
Some say that Italy means "art" and in many respects this is true...that it remains as one of the great nations for art in Europe is true. Each city has arts centers, some of which are centurys old. Florence for example has associations that have spanned centuries and still endure. Torino not as well known but once a cultural leader with the older version of Accademia Belle Arte that used to have a wonderful art school that was one of the finest in Europe before the second world war. I taught in the old building near the train station in Torino. Of course times have changed in recent years. The original academy does not exist as it once did in the early 1970's. Perhaps the modern era had taken its toll with the disbanding of many of these older institutions as newer institutes cover in their shadow.
I had an opportunity to buy what was left of some the original archives of student drawings of the Torino Academy some thousand in number. They were offered to me with interest of conservation..and there were many famous names of Italian Artists that had studied there whos works were in the portfolios...watermarked with the Accademie logo. Of course I asked and referenced them to included in a museum collection.
Somehow times have changed though. One can say...What happened to the Accademia? (The original drawing and painting school) But then again...there were several organizations that took their place, scattered and privatized. Yes, the modern era is taking its toll with artists there as well! Computerization, Photoshop and the encroachment of technology has driven back allot of the once great interest..but there are still artists, not as many as there once were, but fine artists who appear once in a while with private associations where they are involved. It was like this in Czech Republic as well, although in Czech the associations, gallery groups, that once were had dwindled to a sparse number now after the fall of the wall..and just those independants and the galleries that sold their work remain. There is a deep respect for art among the older members of these groups wherever in Europe on can find them. Europe has a longer history of change, and just by perspective, the artists themselves would pool themselves together if necessary so that art exists to benefit the public and education. This is somewhat true in music as well, although on any day of any week there is a classical concert given to a deeply respectful audience thats knowlegable about what they hear as well as what they see. Art may be an intangible to many, but some other cultures see the harmonics and visions of our product (the artist being producer) as something not unlike the Shaman of ages past, the person who delivers us dreams, ambitions and goals to a society that would not otherwise have any.
One of my first contacts was vital. An older artist with a wisdom about his demeanor, Armando Farina seemed to be the accidental meeting in Italy made perfect. He had spent his entire life in art and this for me made him a specific exception. His name was known, rather his name is known throught the region in Italy and Europe, perhaps the world (Books carry his name-In this perspective, and I can readily say that there is an element of permanence to this as well as honour for a life well kept as a genuine artistic creator)
Farina was a  mild mannered gentleman as well as good artist who has a very respected  name in Italy. He was also an organizer of exhibitions through galleries and exhibition centers throughout Norther Piemonte..stretching down to other cities such as Rome and Naples. I could set up my studio quickly and be promoted via seasonal exhibitions with his group "Giallo, Rosso, Blue" a group of older artists whose work seemed to be a stable in Torino.
Intrigued with the group I exhibited with them in the fall,spring and summer seasons in Torino as well as other towns and cities,  a reserve for other exhibits through other academys, exhibition resources when they occured.
I began to place the sign on my studio  "Students Welcome!", in other words  I began to teach..not only art from my studio but piano and music too. As an "Accademic Ordinario" of Armando Farinas association: Accademia Internazionalle Santa Rita, I began my artist journey in Italy as a foreigner.
There were exhibits and artist appearances in:
Torino
Milano
Verona
Genova
Asti
Mappano
Cassele
Borgereau
Gruliasco
Venaria Reale
Bologna
Florence
Rome
Pisa
Siena
Cinqua Terra
Chiaveri
Rappalo
Porto Fino
Cannes
Nice
St. Raphael
Antibes
Juan Le Pins
Others...
I prepared for the exhibitions in advance, sometimes overproducing, with enough art in paintings to cover two or three exhibits at once. Quite soon, and quite soon indeed I was traveling to Czech Republic to gather my paintings in storage there to make up for possibilities in the future. Its not the 'exhibition' venue per se that I was driven to. Exhibitions as well as concerts may come and go. The fact was preparation, a metaphorical -just in case- object that I was looking at as the possibilities unfolded not only because of the awards won, or the exhibitions I was encountering, but the basic study element for which I was preparing. I am an artist. I am a painter and constructor of thoughts and ideas. In our world we may or may not see 'output'. But it is courtious to the profession that one is at least prepared and if the venue comes for action-to do-rather than just say one is doing. Italy was a perfect platform for my work.
I was a ceaseless perfector of ideas in the day and night, each day making studies, drawings, paintings in perspective to a new volume of work that would be set aside, reused or become the theme point of a group exhibition which I wanted some people to consider. Art is a medium which one cannot really address without going full focus into it, and one cannot do this without study. I began to travel as well and keep numerous notebooks of writings besides me as well as journals which capped over 2000 pages during this 2 year residence.
I realized that not many artists would have this chance or this possibility and that I must make the best of this, and quite frankly I loved the work in my studio far better than any paper or  honor of receipt that was given to it-These were merely mile posts. It seemed a million miles to this point had structured itself in my behalf. I could think of the past as only building from here. It was about two weeks until I got settled in Italy after arrival.
My first studio was very small but efficient enough for good work plus it had a magnificent view of the castle at Venaria Reale and was a stones throw from the Parco d' Mandria, the large park where the royals use to hold foxhunts in the 18th and 19th century. Beauty and perspective seemed to have an overview here. There was history that I looked over as well as nature. Each evening I would walk into town to the local 'Cafe' to have coffee and greet artists, or to the art supply shop to gather materials. Sometimes it would be a walk in the Parco d' Mandria which would offer added inspiration or adding to my sketchbook numerous drawings that could remain as possibilities for new pieces-to stern themselves in my mind. This was the artists millieur, a gainful perspective not in the dollars made but the hours spent on creation. A month or so into my residency I was fully facilitated, getting my name around so to speak. During this time I would reserve two days out of the week to travel into Torino and visit other artists or visit the galleries that were presented for my interest. I met many and did my business when needed. Of course I was not fluent in the Italian language as I really wanted to be and of course the aspect of being a foreigner left many things left to be done. Being an American artist in Italy was something kind of special. In my residence in Italy I came across other artists names who were working here or who lived here, giving exhibitions or made their homes here. In hindsite, however, there were actually few that I met, in fact very view foreign artists in Italy. There were a few students from different cultures but artists or art students of foreign origin I cannot say these appeared in great number. Italy as far as my perception, namingly Northern Italy seemed rather a very conservative realm. Not too many foreigners and not too many artists of foreign origin.
During my time in Italy I was enthusiastic, and there was reason to be for the most part (outside other variables in my midst) My work was blossoming and growing. For once there was a feeling of inspiration from the rather droll experiences I had back in America  in cities of Detroit, Phoenix and others of similar textures. Of course I was living in a traditional culture where they accepted art (by and large) as well as artists. Italy had a 1000 year tradition of arts and culture. The Torinese artists were well aware of keeping the arts alive in their culture  as a matter of tradition. There  deep sense of respect from some of the peoples well as appreciation for what the artist was doing. (Somewhat unfortunaty American Culture dosent have the same depth..as Europe...but allot of Europe was beginning to American system, some places even in Italy you could swear you were back in the USA...thats also true in Central/Eastern Europe now.)  
Each exhibition was well attended and had a frequent following of -50-100 people. Each exhibition opening was a classic, personally tailored affair, unlike those in the US. Before each exhibition there were spokesmen from the cities that housed the exhibitions. Sometimes these would be the mayor, the district governor or a notable official that would officially open the exhibitions. On several cases in point they were representatives of other aligned cultures namely relating to an exhibition at the Peruvian Cultural Center in Torino.
2006 Santa Maria della Art, Gruliasco Italy Exhibition.
Awarded Michelangelo ordine delle arte, 1st prize also in Ist catagory of original art...Below the gallery at the Cassele Cultural Center (via Moskva in Casselle Italy)

Richard Ozanne c.2010 Travels for Art 2003-2006. The artists mission is not necessarily an easy one, though many people pop it off as being, less worthy than other professions. I believe, and it is in full vestment of this gift that I have worked with since a youth...that being an artist is one of the highest professions. An artist has to deal with the creative realm. In this realm there are many many obstacles to be encountered. Paintings have to be painted...in Italy I did hundreds of Plein Aire...and sketches that never made it from the studio..to be painted over again and again, to find a perfection true in every last quantity of every vision proposed to me and then would have to suffer the hours of writing, and proposing the possibilities of exhibitions. No it is not a pastime...this artists life is a full time committement for anyone that choosed to embark upon it. That my travels would seem substantial at this point is somewhat extraneous information...I had traveled the road before here in Italy in 1990. It took many years to return to the places I had began. In Rappalo 1990 I had turned some 90 canvases, exhibiting them, facing being a foreigner, criticized for the manner in which I worked as a student...and learned. I learned from the masters. Upon every mile that I made there was a lesson to be met, a challenge to be incurred and a development to be had, if not in terms of art...other developments. Many of the people I met in 1990 were still active artists when I returned in 2004..and some irony that I should hook up with these artists again throughout the years! In Torino the very connections I had with my academy had taken place in full many years previous. Each artists mile is earned...as development is earned. The artist is on a mission of faith and hope. This career is not for everyone, although some will gather that it is nothing more than a mere hobby, I suggest that one reads the biographies of the "Great Masters" and make an appointment with a local academy, to try and test ones materials, test ones vision over 1000's and 10's of Thousands of critical and clock hours-Hours of training and then put it to the test of a foreign exhibition...or foreign residence. Although some people may have an idea or concept of a artists life as being a vacation of sorts, I ask these readers to promptly reconsider, and study the terms of art and what art is about...in visual art, literature and sculpture, as well as the written arts.
Thousands of miles travelled in Europe, part of the journey of an artist in Italy. A wonderful list of places Ive travelled to and seen as a part of my journey.
Places travelled 2004-06:
Torino (Turin) Exhibited Frequently
Venaria Reale (Lived and Worked 2003-2006)
Mappano
Leini
Gruliasco
Rappalo
Cinque Terra
Chiaveri
Sestri Levante
Genoa
Bologna
Firenze (Florence)
Siena
Roma
Naples
others....
The Mountain Regions of Piemonte and the Alps.
Cannes
Nice
Juan Le Pin
Monaco
Foreign Travels during residence:
Prague (2004-06 a return to Czech Republic)
Munich/Barvaria/Austria/Vienna
This is just a small list of experiences, and places that I have been to make appearances or work outdoors as an artist for this segment of my career....well over a million miles otherwise...at what point will the artist ever see home, when he/she is on a venerable mission of creativity.
As I look back, the mission...sometimes by train, bus or car was difficult.. and time consuming. Many memories here. There were some hang-ups with being a foreigner (aka American exhibitor) on some legs of these trips People, generally Italian people, with very traditional ideas of what art is about related my work as being either Central European (Influence) or French. Sometimes the word "American!" would come smacking forward with some distain in reference to some modern artists...Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollack and others. Sometimes my own work was up to some rather "critical" debate. It was not if I could draw or not that was the singular source of criticism..because surely I can. It was the mode of art that was often presented. Bold Colors or very muted colors were often seen as of "other cultures" mostly Austrian influences...Munich School. Some of the varieties of the work that I had to show were clearly Munich influence, especially in the handling of still-life subject matter. (German School) Over drawn and under lit subject matter in still-life tended to bring up questions even through (purely my own work) subject to questions of French influence of Chardin and Fantin Latour. Now Fantin Latour was one of my favorite painters as Puvis d'Chavannes and Bougereau. To the words "Bougereau" they simply replied "you have good taste..!" How many times had I heard that!
Religious subject matter was alway questionable. Was I catholic or did I have catholic tastes in mind? Was I influenced by Italian painters and where. My knowledge of art history had to be keen. Yes Michelangelo-and Da Vince were some of my influences (indirectly)...but moreover, Titian. I liked Crivelli and of course
the Venitians. But I was an American, and clearly after seeing some of my work, even the more traditional, my work was ecclectic and full of nuances that gave influence another name.
I remember taking my work across Italy by Cinqua Cento-Fiat 500,the small miniture 4 seat automobile. My work would be stacked on the roof! I remember a mechanical breakdown right before a show where a farmer would come with his brother to rewire and push-start the Cinqua Cento down the road...barely making the set up time. On another occasion I remember coming across from Czech Republic with two large portfolios and many works into Torino. It was a sad day....I had to change in Milano and take another train across and into Torino. A big wind came and my work spread all over the rail-way yard! I kid you not, a terrible incident...then people came to help...the gypsies and then the rail workers to gather it up. Somewhere in Italy that particular day allot of my work was lost. It was in Torino when I had to call a friend to pick me up with the payload...and she was not there.



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