We met Francesca Romana in her country house right outside of Rome. When in Rome, she lives in a 1920 villa with a big garden, and it is here that she has her studio on the very top floor of this three story house where it is possible to see the countryside from the numerous windows.
She let me in showing me her two cats, as well as her artwork that is displayed around the house. Francesca was born in Australia, but she has spent most of her life in Rome. In her paintings she shares both the beauty of classical culture and the wildness of Australian colours.
How did you discover your passion for painting?
I always had a passion for painting. I remember that when I was just a kid the only way to keep me quiet was to give me a sheet of paper and some pencils. Once I scribbled on all the stairs of our house in Perth, I just wanted to give a surprise to my mother, well, as I can remember she was really surprised but not really happy about it. Years have passed and now I can scribble much better.
How has your art evolved during the years?
Once I finished my studies in high school I decided to go to the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, that was very useful for understanding ancient and modern techniques. I think that studying art history, technique, anatomy, and drawing is very important, even for the most abstract of artists. In art, instinct is very important, inspiration is fundamental, but the culture and the technique of the creator is the necessary gap between the mind and the canvas. If you comprehend this you can do whatever you want.
My favourite technique is oil on canvas, but I use almost every medium. Now I?m working with newspapers of different countries glued on board and I paint on it with oil paints that I make myself. I used to often paint figurative subjects even if sometimes I use non-figurative techniques.
Is Rome a city in which an artist can easily work and become well-known?
Rome is full of artists and is quite hard to become well-known, but it can be quite easy to show your work around. Young artists can start with unconventional places, such as restaurants or night clubs to show their art, and with a lot of hard work and some good luck it can be possible to exhibit in some good galleries.
Another good thing about Rome is that there are often competitions and prizes for young and well-known artists. I won a prize in May with a sculpture of mine, and this will be very important for my career.
What are the difficulties you’ve encountered?
The first and most common difficulty I encountered was being a girl, it can sound ridiculous but there are still a lot of prejudices about women and art. People don’t trust you as a real artist in the beginning, probably they still think that women are just hobby-artists, like some nice ladies that love to paint on the weekends instead of reading a book or watching TV. I had to work very hard to show that I’m not that kind of person and a lot of women artists had the same problem in the beginning of their careers. It is only after showing quality art and the technique behind the work will people begin to trust you.
Where is it possible to find your creations?
I haD a personal exhibition in June about Australian landscapes, along with some figures, at the Tondinelli Gallery in Via Quattro Fontane 128/a in Rome. The exhibition is named “Billabong, reportage from Australia”…
What are your plans for the future?
I’m thinking about trying new techniques in my art, and I want to improve my sculpture production. Then I’m going to take part in some other competitions, spending my time between Sydney and Rome.
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