Behind The Canvas: Saatchi Online Interview With Alessandro Pagani

Untitled (Milano odia) by Alessandro Pagani


Please tell us your name and where you practice.
My name is Alessandro Pagani. I work and live in Milano, Italy.

Why do you make art?
Because I try to express something. It’s the only way not to go crazy.

How do you work?
What I paint is taken from reality (or from its fiction, like cinema) but my purpose isn’t to reproduce it. I used to work with images taken from different places and to present them in diptych or triptych, but most recently I’ve been working on a single image. In this case, my painting becomes an “imperfect simulation”, just like John Carpenter’s “The Thing” imitating humans and being interrupted before the ending of the operation.

Boxer (Ken Norton) by Alessandro Pagani


What’s your background?
I degree in Academy of Brera, Milan, master in scenography . My visual education is above all based on ancient and classical art, comics and cinema, obviously Werner Herzog but also B and C movies, and so on..

What role does an artist have in society?
The role of the artist isn’t easy, he should show “Dorian Gray hidden portrait in the attic” without being too pleasing, trying not to walk the way of provocation ending in itself.

What was a seminal experience for you?
When I organized my first exhibition, by myself……in a gym (boxing fighters were the main theme). I was probably “naive” but I never had such enthusiasm!

Has your practice changed over time?
Sure, from some ways. In the beginning my paintings could look almost symbolists, then they went close to hyperrealism, now they aren’t classifiable. I actually enjoyed changing my painting style, but the themes have remained the same, I paint my world, I look inside my personal archives, I just couldn’t do it other way.

What art do you most identify with?
I certainly love Glenn Brown, and Wilhelm Sasnal among the youngsters, but there are many more that I appreciate and that influence me.

What’s the strongest memory of your childhood?
The intoxicating sound of cicadas in the pinewood, at the seaside.

Untitled (Van Dyck) by Alessandro Pagani


What themes do you persue?
Cinema, boxing, woods, natural history museums. To link it with the previous question, they’re all passions I had when I was younger so they come back into my art over and over again.

Describe a real-life experience that inspired you.
Each experience, even a dream, could look insignificant but it’s not like that. Also watching a movie is always a good chance to learn, even the baddest film ever could leave us something. I couldn’t talk about just one “real-life” particular experience, however I like to walk or climbing by myself in the mountains, also for 8 hours no-stop.

What’s your most embarrassing moment?
I’m often embarrassed, for the others.

What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
Some insignificant job in the past, and now I’m teaching art in a couple of public schools.

What responses have you had to your work ?
The answers are positive and I am modestly happy, but I want more from my painting. Sometimes I feel  “misunderstood” from collectors, but this happen to all artists. My recent work has enjoyed a lot, even in Saatchi online, and it’s going better and better, with good recently solo show in Milan, to, and with the selection as finalist in the Combat Prize, in Livorno, a young Prize specialized in contemporary and young painting. I see a clear progress in the audience.

What do you dislike about the artworld ?
It would seem a banal answer but I think that: if the world is not all the time so right is evidently the same problem in every field, like politics, sport, arts…

What research do you do ?
I try to bring the viewers on trails seemingly known, then it’s the moment to create anxiety. I digging in my memory but (above all when I use movies frames) it’s a shared memory, so the painting allows me to manipulate memories, distorting them.

What is your dream project?
To make a genre film, with great success, in my country.

What´s the best piece of advice you have been given ?
Work, work, work. Despite the inevitable disappointments.


Untitled (Badlands) by Alessandro Pagani

What couldn´t you do without?
A brush.

What makes you angry?

What is your worst quality?
I hate losing. I get angry too….

Making art is a lot like being on lsd. Know what I mean ?
Some of my paintings may actually make you think of similar experiences but I’m pretty shiny when I work.

What´s your favourite cuss word ?
I change it continuously

See more of Alessandro’s work here…


  1. Patrick Durston says:

    Brilliant interview, good to see your perspective Alessandro. The paintings are so provoking and stark. Good on you for producing such styles and aesthetics in your work.

  2. Ploppi says:

    is it paintings of the elepahnt man ?

  3. mike wetz says:

    alessandro, your a mad man for sure. bravo!

  4. really interesting paintings, makes you focus on the brush stroke parts of the paintings. cool art!

  5. michel lentz says:

    Alessandro, mi piaciono molto le tue opere. Sei davvero un gran artista !

  6. Danny Olda says:

    Very nice work! Its funny how well the interview matches the paintings – exactly how I imagined.

  7. I kind of saw the defense, how they were playing, and we were at what, the inch line?” Gore explained. “And the (linebackers) were playing like 5 yards back. I knew it was a quick hit, and I know I quick-hitted it. I barreled through. Peyton Manning ersey sale


Leave a Comment