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“When I stopped, I discovered I was a painter”: ABAL’s bright colors and feminine faces

Alessandro Abruscato, aka ABAL, suddenly discovered an unconscious gift, that of expressing himself through figurative art. Decisive was the experience of lockdown due to the pandemic: confinement at home prompted Alessandro to pick up his pencil and draw a portrait of his recently deceased father. “I showed it to my partner,” the artist says, “and she told me it communicated special emotions.” The impression of the one who later also became a working partner (for the fashion and design brand ABAL FashionArt, founded by both of them) was soon shared by a growing number of people and some prominent art critics.

Alessandro Abruscato, after a lull, during the summer of 2021 picked up canvases and paints, acrylic and oil, and began to paint. At first he made a stylized cat and then tigers and lions. “I wanted to pay homage to Ligabue, whom I had seen played in the film with Elio Germano. I had liked his sensitivity and his being a painter without being aware of it, a bit like what happened to me.” For some years now, Abruscato has been interested in the life and affairs of another very different artist, Gabriele D’Annunzio. So he decided to produce two works dedicated to the Vate; in one he represented the Vittoriale, in the second D’Annunzio himself, and donated the canvases to the Il Vittoriale degli Italiani Foundation. ABAL recounts, “I sent an email to the president of the Foundation, who appreciated my works, so I decided to donate them; and now they are on display in the president’s office.” Until recently, Alessandro Abruscato was a chemical laborer, a job he held for more than twenty years; but now he has decided to devote himself 100 percent to painting, aided by the encouragement of his partner Debora. Together with her, Alessandro started a project that combines art and fashion, ABAL FashionArt. The couple moved from Italy to Spain, to Malaga, a few months ago, where they pursue their artistic and entrepreneurial activities. “Malaga is the home of Picasso,” ABAL explains, “and of contemporary art in general, a city where the artistic ferment can be perceived in the numerous presence of museums and galleries, and also in the sensitivity of people and institutions toward art. Here in the province of Málaga there is a great interest in art: not only in the city but also in smaller towns you can visit museums, some of which house works by Picasso and Dalí and other prominent artists.” And in Malaga, last January, Abruscato has already exhibited in the foyer of La Cochera Cabaret theater; now his canvases mostly feature colorful women’s faces. But what is the focus of the artist’s message? “I try to communicate a reflection of a spiritual nature,” ABAL says. “In one of my paintings, an oil painting entitled “Elsewhere,” a woman from classical antiquity is depicted sitting in a natural setting; a composition I made inspired by an English painter.

In the case of my painting, that woman embodies the human being reflecting on the great themes of life. Behind her is an island in the shape of a turtle, representing the search for stability and balance; another island I painted is in the shape of a mask, depicting the masks we wear every day, under which is, however, present our true substance.” For ABAL, the energy that each work conveys is unique and comes from something higher than the simple act of painting: “When I start painting, the idea that I start with and on which I work evolves continuously, as if there is an exchange of energy between me and the work I am creating.” Having left the job he held for 20 years, that of a laborer in the chemical branch, ABAL has now changed his life and, abetted by the moment of reflection caused by the lockdown lull, has found a point of balance. “Without balance, one cannot even engage in spirituality,” he explains. “And that balance gave me the strength to break away from the hectic life I was living. I stopped and discovered a dimension I love most: painting. Creating generates emotions and inner joy for me, and these I convey in my works.” Today Alessandro is completely dedicated to art and his path as an artist.