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Color, inspiration, ductility and a pinch of madness, in the art of Patrizio Arabito

“With a pinch of madness you can be really creative,” this phrase by Patrizio Arabito encapsulates part of the artistic thinking of a changeable, evanescent painter: “I’m constantly trying to evolve, looking for new ways and new ways. Not having a fixed style is exactly what I want”, explains the artist. From acrylic to oil on canvas, from graphics to basic drawing (even a drawing can be a work in itself,” says Arabito), the painter from Catania uses different techniques and different approaches for a single goal: to create a unique work. There are many masters of the past from whom Patrizio Arabito draws inspiration and for whom he has a form of artistic devotion: from Leonardo da Vinci to Vincent Van Gogh, up to the Symbolists and contemporaries Ruggero Savinio (“Alberto’s son and Giorgio De Chirico’s nephew, he overcame them through the disintegration of the image,” the artist explains), Fausto Pirandello and Piero Guccione. “I don’t depend, however, on the artists of the past; even Picasso studied Manet,” Arabito says. I try to rework what interests me.”

Patrizio Arabito has practiced drawing and painting since childhood, but only at the age of twenty-eight he decided to face a path of university studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Catania. Arabito tells: “In the Academy I had two teachers, one directed me towards abstractionism, the other towards hyperrealism. At the end of the path, my style was a synthesis of the two currents”.  After graduating, the artist came to teaching art in schools, first in Crema (Cremona) where he lived for seven years, then in his hometown of Catania, where he still lives. “Teaching and painting for me are two complementary aspects. I myself live inside both aspects in a fluid way,” Arabito explains. To his students, Patrizio Arabito tries to approach essentially with the example and showing the pictorial gesture. The teacher-painter has maintained this approach even during school closures due to the pandemic, drawing and painting for his students connected online from home. Says the artist: “I try to convey the pleasure of making art through gesture, through example. This way the students are more involved, even those who are not very good. When we went back to class, it seemed as if we had always been here; the students had worked well even from a distance”. The artist experienced the lockdown period as an opportunity for deepening that he would not have had otherwise: “I had the chance to paint more often and with greater intensity and to immerse myself in a personal style, both in color and in the emotions I want to convey.”

Patrizio Arabito’s art also contains spiritual impulses that derive from his knowledge of Eastern philosophies and meditation. “Every creative act is a meditative act,” comments the artist. A vision that is rather distant from some artistic currents that are widespread in contemporary art and on which Arabito expresses some perplexity: “From Duchamp to Cattelan, to Jeff Koons, I ask myself: to what extent can one make art with this approach? Even artists like Banksy or Ai Weiwei give me the impression that they exploit dramatic events without any real artistic skill behind them. I teach my students to work to become someone and get what they want.”

Among the artist’s ambitions are a solo exhibition, writing a book, and organizing creative and educational workshops. These projects are based on a series of previous satisfactions and confirmations, such as having won several artistic competitions and having become part, with one of his works, of the Cavallini Sgarbi Collection, destined to be set up as a museum in Ferrara. Arabito says: “Those who, like me, continue their technical and visual research are now part of an ideal Salon de Refusés of today, as happened to the Impressionists at the end of the nineteenth century”.