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Pietro Spadafina’s painting and the exhibition celebrating the life of Massimo Troisi

Italian artist Pietro Spadafina was part of the recently-concluded exhibition to remember legendary actor Massimo Troisi.

Il Postino dietro le quinte. I volti di Massimo Troisi (The Postman behind the scenes. The faces of Massimo Troisi) was a collective exhibition to remember and celebrate the life and works of actor Massimo Troisi. Widely considered one of the greatest Italian actors ever, Troisi was behind ‘The Postman’ (1994) – one of the few Italian films that gained international fame in the last 50 years and were also nominated for Oscars. The exhibition was organized by Stefano Veneruso (nephew of the actor) and was part of the Procida Italian Culture Capital program. The program was held in celebration of Procida being awarded the Capital of Culture of Italy title for 2022. The exhibition ran from October 20, 2022 to January 6, 2023 at the Cittadella dei Misteri in Procida. A total of 49 artists participated in the exhibition, including Loria Orsato, Yolonda Atal, Walton Zed, and Pietro Spadafina.

Ricomincio da tre (2020)

For Pietro Spadafina, remembering Massimo Troisi was a passion project. The result of his labors was Ricomincio da tre (or, It Starts With Three). The title was taken from the Troisi movie of the same name – one of the most beloved films in Italian cinema. The painting has every trademark of Spadafina’s usual style – the glossy touches, the vibrant-yet-intense colors, and a sense of mystique. It features 3 figures – seemingly an adult with two children – walking towards what appears to be a beach. The painting was created in 2020 and first featured in the ‘Troisi Poeta Massimo’ exhibition in Naples in 2021.

Pietro Spadafina was born in Cerignola in the province of Foggia in 1947. Growing up, while he occasionally dabbled in arts, he had no particular inclination towards it. In fact, what he wanted the most was to become a pilot. This is exactly what he did once he graduated and earned his pilot’s license. However, an unfortunate case of myopia led him to abandon his dreams of becoming a pilot. However, Spadafina was always destined to touch heights – if not as a pilot, then as an artist.

For a time, Spadafina worked as a successful architect after receiving his degree in architecture. However, it soon occurred to him that simply reproducing the designs on a blueprint did not satiate him. He wanted to accomplish something that was truly creative and his own. Thus, he ventured into the arts. In a span of a few years, Pietro Spadafina developed the technique by which he is known today – Disegno Attivo, or Active Drawing method. It is difficult to explain what Active Drawing really is; the simplest way to describe it would be “throw away the artist rulebook and just draw”. Spadafina famously creates his paintings with his eyes closed, as he draws every ounce of creativity from his subconscious without worrying about grid lines and faults. Pietro Spadafina is as much an academic as he is an artist. Much of what he paints is built upon his years of studies. He has studied the color theory by Max Luscher, the graphological theory of Max Pulver, as well as Carl Jung’s theory of synchronicity. He is also inspired by artists like Salvador Dali and Gustav Klimt. Over the years, his works have been displayed in the cities of Naples, Turin, Basel, Tokyo, and Buenos Aires.

Beyond the arts, Pietro Spadafina has many other walks of life. He has also been a teacher, where he teaches drug addicts the therapeutic aspect of his Active Drawing methods. He is also a writer and has authored two fiction novels: The Man of the Magpie (2006) and The Price of the Omen (2007). He has also written The Interpretation of the Scribble (2007) where he details the theory of his method. When he lived in Turin, he had opened an art café. Since the 90s, he has lived in a countryside home in Puglia.