Meet the Artist: A Discussion with Carl Melegari

Meet the Artist: A Discussion with Carl Melegari

We’re thrilled to welcome Carl Melegari to The Hook Spitalfields this September to celebrate a special exhibition of his artwork. In anticipation, we spoke with Carl to learn more about his approach to painting, inspiration and how his work has evolved.

Don’t miss this opportunity to meet Carl Melegari and to view the special exhibition of his artwork on Saturday, September 10th from 1- 4 PM at The Hook Spitalfields. Contact us for any enquiries.

How did you first start painting, and what was your initial inspiration?

I have always been involved in the arts and have been working in this genre for the last 15 years.

Initially, after leaving art college in Bristol I was an Illustrator and later a part time art college lecturer in Swansea, specialising in fine art life drawing, theory and practice.

At the beginning I used graphite pencils as a medium whilst experimenting with tonal values. Then explored coloured pencils and eventually experimented with wet mediums such as watercolours and oil paints. I suppose my interest in painting superseded drawing as this gave me the freedom of greater mark making with the use of various paintbrushes, palette knives and other tools.

During this period, I began plein air painting (location painting). I used this time to explore colour and to understand colour mixing with a limited palette.

From there, I progressed to working in a studio environment and developing the studies into larger paintings. Then started to explore the human figure as a subject and really connected with these paintings. I just felt I could create emotion with both the subject and the medium.

I became intrigued by changes in form and appearance, of both body and mind, canvas and paint.

What is the feeling or impression on the viewer that you hope to evoke?

 I like the viewer to interpret what they see through their own eyes. I try to evoke an element of emotion which hopefully transfers.

You are known for your impasto style approach to using oil paints. What is the connection between human form and this process that you find so compelling?

My early paintings were very smooth and flat and could have been painted on one plane. I then became interested in mark making and creating texture and depth with the paint.

When I started to use the human form as my subject, I would re-valuate the painting and start to rework it on several occasions. It is a continual reworking of the painting once it dries; giving a natural form of layering. Through blending and layering, a new form emerges. I am intrigued by ambiguity, by suggestive marks that point to space that lies outside the frame of representation. For me the impasto is both a veil and a reflection of form.

Some of your work, such as the stunning Graziosa, convey movement. What made you explore movement in your work, and how do you choose your subjects?

I enjoyed the challenge of painting ‘Graziosa’ as I don’t usually incorporate movement or the whole body in my paintings. On this occasion I chose ballet as a subject because the dance movement gave me the opportunity to experiment with the mark making and to see if I could still create an element of emotion in the painting.

Why do you think art is important today?

It’s a privilege to be able to paint and not to be restricted. It allows self-expression; it’s a release of my inner emotions and hopefully others can connect to the way I express those feelings.

Discover more of Carl Melegari's artwork, or visit us in store.