"LIFE CHANGES YOU WHEN YOU MANAGE TO UNDERSTAND EVEN A LITTLE, WHO YOU ARE, AND WHAT WAS THE DREAM THAT GOD HAS FOR YOU."
Dario Mastrosimone was born in Buenos Aires on October 2, 1964, the only child of a family with typically Italian traditions. He studied at the Mariano Acosta National School of Teachers, there he discovered his passion for art, but then and despite that, he studied at the University of Buenos Aires Faculty of Economic Sciences where he graduated as a National Public Accountant. Despite having a successful professional career, he was unable to leave his old passion for painting. For this reason, and despite having completed the first half of his life as a professional in Economic Sciences, he decided to resume his painting studies with the renowned watercolorist Daniel Salaverría who gave him his first tools. Later, he studied with Natalio Galluzzi, but to whom he owes the spirit of his works is Georg Miciu-Nicolaevici. He is the one who motivated him in the use of the spatula and the handling of light, influenced him in the motives and spirituality of the work. Since January 2008, he left Buenos Aires and is based in San Martín de Los Andes Province of Neuquen, from where he began a new life with his family, dedicating himself fully to painting, surrounded by the landscape that God gives as inspiration for his works.
The fruits of the paintings that can be seen today in Mastrosimone's work is the struggle for the coherence of the search itself, not purely aesthetic sensibility, but the reflection of a life in the Spirit. It is incredible the change in his fabrics from his move to the South, abstracted by a totally different landscape where his life passes surrounded by his family affections, with more time to share and contemplate. This radical overturn that he has given in his life throws him after the search for new shapes and colors made of direct observation and at the same time of an intimate sensibility that literally changes his attitude towards life. As stated by Mastrosimone, “When I paint, I feel complete, sincere in doing what I think God wants me to be doing. The stillness of life in the mountains (San Martín de los Andes - Neuquén - Argentina), in contrast to the dynamic life of Buenos Aires, has given me new wings to perfect myself in what is my real vocation: Painting.”
Being before Mastrosimone’s works of art, you feel that you are in a dream. A very real and palpable dream. You simply transport yourself to another world where you feel you own who you are. Where you see each illusion fulfilled and you know that wishes come true if you so desire. His art gives you that air that everything is complete, and you feel some satisfaction because you know that is how it should be.
Q. As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
A. Imagine a shy chubby boy who, when they spoke to him, turned red and with zero aptitudes for any type of sports (and minimum ease of drawing). In this situation, drawing and painting was the forced exhaust valve to express everything I didn't say. So, while I didn't have a clear dream that I was going to convert when I grew up, there was no doubt that I was on the artistic side.
Q. Do you remember the first art you made? What was it and how old were you?
A. I remember that when I was little, I used to draw people in yellow but without arms, my aunt the psychologist, said that yellow reflected my happiness, but people without arms talked about my problem for communicating with others. I am not so sure about the yellow color, but about communicating with others, I attest that it is so.
Q. How and when did you first become seriously interested in art?
A. My first flash was in high school, highly encouraged by my plastic teacher Renato Benedeti, a person whom I admire beyond as a teacher. No doubt I owe him my profession today.
Q. Tell us about your particular style and how you came to it?
A. If I have to talk about my painting, I would say that it is basically updated impressionism. I keep a lot of the impressionism technique but applied to the place where I live, my surroundings, my family, places that I know. I am convinced that the painting is good, it must be sincere and for that, you must open up and capture what you know, what you appreciate, what you love, what you live. And I certainly admire the place where I live and this new life that God gives us.
Q. What does your art aim to express?
A. To put it in a nutshell, I try to recreate the beauty of life that God gives us. For me, it is a way to thank God for recreating his creation. The works have a lot of contrast of lights and shadows as a metaphor for light and darkness, I try as the impressionists paint the light on things and thus hint at things.
Q. What would you say to those people who have always wanted to be artists and, under different circumstances, lead a life very different from the dream?
A. “Uh! The worst thing is to have a life divided between what I do every day and what I feel I am. If you have faith (deep faith) and are convinced that what you are, is what God wants you to be; it only remains to take a leap of faith ... "
Q. What have you had to sacrifice for this career?
A. With few friends and drawing a lot, I finished my high school wanting to pursue Fine Arts. So I told my old man "Dad, I want to follow Fine Arts" and my idealism was killed by the realism of my Father when he said "You're going to starve, study something else" (with all the love of a father worried about his son, but transferring all their fears). Sometimes one "trades" with life, deceiving themselves by a fictitious security or by promises of a good standard of living, and throwing the idealism of secondary school into the demon, I ended up studying Economics!
Thank God I did the Faculty of Economics studies in parallel to painting workshops, very rare to study Economics with brushes and oil in the backpack. I was honestly very weird! I didn't fit, I couldn't make friends, I suffered a lot from my stage of faculty.
Where life takes you- I graduated as an accountant, I married Paula, the boys arrived (Renzo, Gianluca, and Chiara) and it seems that painting disappeared, but no ... Before forty-something, something begins to change in me. Despite having a good career as a professional, I was in anguish from Sunday afternoons because on Monday I had to return to the accounting studio and this was tremendous. The moral and spiritual burden of doing things not too well as an accountant, I didn't want to take it anymore. Being what you don't want to inside can become a heavy burden.
In those crisis contexts, my dog died (well, I loved her very much), afterwards, my father-in-law and then my old man (all in about a year). I know they are not comparable, but the idea that life is finite, makes it palpable. One is not in this life forever and if one does things wrong the only one responsible for changing them or not, remains one. And at some point, they will ask you for accounts ... And about forty you are halfway to change it or not. In that crisis is where I meet again with painting, thank God and my psychiatrist, probably in that order.
I return to the painting workshops, with Daniel Salaverria and my life gradually began to be divided from Monday to Friday in the afternoon the more or less formal accountant and from Friday to Sunday, the painting appears as my refuge, as the place to which I never should have left. And that division in me became important.
Everything happens for a reason, and in that moment of “crisis” (I looked for another word to name it but I can't find it), I met Georg Miciu, the best colorist painter in our country. While with Daniel Salaverria I re-learned a lot about color theory, different techniques, harmonies, composition, etc. etc. Georg contributed to the mystical part, the spiritual part of the works. But of course, I lived in Buenos Aires and Miciu in San Martin de Los Andes at 1600kms. In spite of that, we established a very close friendship. In the different aspects of life, from Faith to painting and traveling to San Martin de Los Andes, in an afternoon of talk, came one of those phrases that faces you to make decisions: "Macho, you have to burn the ships…you have to," Georg told me to close a whole day of painting in the Patagonian forests. At that moment it was as if Rembrandt had congratulated me on a painting!
Too bad that the next day I had to return to Buenos Aires to the accounting studio. Obviously, I could not and did not want to continue living divided between the accountant and the painter, but it was not so easy or so romantic to leave everything, cut with the system and go to live off paintings in the mountains!
It was (more or less) economic security against living what you like, it was honorary every month against hopefully the paintings will be sold, it was to stop being what they asked me to go against being oneself, it was to continue in those "liars" lives or see what God wants from me. It was not easy.
Paula supported me a lot, not any wife agrees to follow her husband in a change like this. I admire the faith she had for me. But when you take a step of Faith, God blesses you, and I understand that it is so, or at least it happened. After many talks, we decided to leave everything in Buenos Aires and go to San Martín de Los Andes to live on painting. It was burning the ships. For many friends, I was crazy, for another an idol who did what many people do not dare.
Since January 2008, I live in San Martín de Los Andes, painting. It is today that sometimes I find it hard to believe, I thank God every day for that. It is not an idyll, it is not Heidi, nor the Ingalls Family, but they do not give themselves an idea of the satisfaction so great that it feels to be able to live on what one loves to do.
In short and summarizing to be a painter, I sacrificed the accountant.
Q. Who are your biggest influences? Are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular?
A. Obviously, my main influence has been all impressionist painters, and here in Argentina, the great impressionist was Fernando Fader. But aside from that admiration for the style of painting, what has come to me the most was that passion for change, to look for an authentic, sincere style, regardless of the great criticisms they have had at the time. Remember that the Impressionists broke with the prevailing style in France, that classicism that marked the duty to be of things to turn to a much more personal painting, more authentic from themes to forms, thus making a break in the history of art. In a way, I see in it a parallel of my story leaving behind my accountant studies and embracing the true passion that painting is.
Q. Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
A. Yes, it is very lonely, but I think that it should be, the best creations arise from these internal dialogues, I think I do not do much to counteract it, I have very few friends and I am very attached to my intimate family.
Q. Apart from art, what do you love doing?
A. I have a type of faith. I work a lot in the (Catholic) Church of my town. I also like to read about spiritual topics since they are usually triggered for change.
Q. What is your philosophy in matters of art?
A. True art only serves to elevate the soul. Healthy art, art liberates, is an occupation by which you transmit emotions with which it must be an office as unique and refined as the emotions, ideals and hopes one has. Art must be in constant tension from four vertices, professionalism, originality, creativity and authenticity. Professionalism is working with mastery and seeking excellence, it is generally opposed to the original that seeks the different in itself. And being creative often collides with being authentic, in the search for the creative you stop being yourself. Those four elements in tension make a work of art.
Q. What does 'success' mean to you?
A. Success is to make a living from what one loves to do. The rest is a big lie.
Q. What are the biggest things you've learned in life thus far?
A. Surely, the most important one will be the one I am going to learn tomorrow, but until today one of the things I learned and I have a harder time doing is being able to let go. Letting go of not wanting to control everything and knowing that things do not usually go as you want or think and generally that is the same for good. From the point of view of faith, it is to be able to get in touch with God.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and by who?
A. To be oneself, to be authentic not to be carried away by fashion or by what "sells" but by what one feels and makes you whole.
Q. What advice would you give to the next generation?
A. We must focus more on the inner gaze, that of the soul. Art must serve to elevate it.