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Piscopo Art

A Warm Welcome

"Your life is a work of art, and in the end, the underlying theme of great art is bravery and hope and love." - Garrison Keillor

Well, my life is a work of art by my Creator. I am perhaps merely the paint that drips and flows one way or the other. The happenings, surprises and situations that developed in my life coupled with the divine design is shaping the way the picture will look at the end. It feels great being a part of a grand design.

Some of the works you will see on this site will give you a glimpse of these very happenings, surprises and situations that will remain deeply embedded in my being, soul and body. Other works depict a visual message, not necessarily meaningful or nourishing to the soul. My works reflect both my inner feelings as well as the messages of love and hope I want to share with you. I thank you for caring to stop and look at my works. You make me feel proud. Enjoy.

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." - Pablo Picasso

An introductory review about my previous works

It always comes as a pleasant surprise to discover new genuine artistic talent existent in Malta and to have it followed up by obliging one's conscience to propagate it through the word of mouth or the pen. Recently I had the pleasure to be invited to view the work by Ray Piscopo, a hitherto practically unknown figure - at least he was for me until then - who has seriously taken up painting in his spare time.

Not that his involvement in art has been a recent development for, as he explains, his "journey in the world of art" can be traced back to the early seventies when, as a student at secondary school level, he had as his tutor Antoine Camilleri (b.1922) who as a veteran artist is still considered as one of the leading Maltese artists and an evergreen favourite with art lovers. Piscopo still cherishes the memory of those initial impulses which the tutorship by Camilleri must have offered him, even as an immature student then, in those far-off schooldays.

Though many years have passed since then, having seen some of Piscopo's latest works, and making a quick mental flashback to divine any possible connections with his first experience of art practice, it was to the idiom exercised by Camilleri that I was vaguely reminded. In their majority the paintings by Piscopo constitute almost an autobiographical parenthesis which could be compared to his vicissitudes in life, thereby confirming that for him art is not simply a way of passing time as a mere dilettante but rather as an inner urge that propels him to delve resolutely into the meaning of life itself, with its alternation of light and dark passages.

More recently Ray Piscopo has for three years attended life classes under the supervision of Anton Calleja (b. 1955), a foremost artist in his own right who regards the human figure as an essential tool in artistic training. This in itself is a positive sign that shows his will to feel exposed to new experiences and training.

But from what I had the opportunity to assess in Piscopo's paintings, and without detracting in any way from the beneficial results and the new possibilities which this kind of tuition must have imparted to him, Piscopo strikes me as being less inclined towards an academic approach to put into practice his artistic passion than to let his works serve purely as a vehicle towards an expressionist idiom. He is after all adamant that his art is a vehicle "to express the deep thoughts and the situations that left their mark on me."

In the course of his artistic career during which he has invariably kept a low profile, Ray Piscopo has essayed a variety of media, starting with oils, then passing on to watercolours which he considers as a fascinating medium and of which I viewed a number of commendable results, while now he is focusing on acrylics which he finds quite suitable to conform to his desire to work up his paintings as rapidly as possible.

It is with committed seriousness that Piscopo has taken up his painting. He confesses that "my art is more important than myself." What more revealing statement could be pronounced to confirm the role which art has attained for him? It is the art of somebody anxious not to miss the momentary stimulus in order to express himself, an art employed by one who is out to pose the eternal question about that human situation which so often brings angst with it as much as it is occasionally a vessel of celebration at the beauty of life itself.

There are traumas which bring suffering and pain, but there are equally moments where the use of vivid colours testifies to his clinging to the shreds of optimism. Art is after all not exclusively a gallery of pretty pictures but, irrespective of whether the visual elements conform to our preconception of what it is there for, it aims to make the viewer aware of common situations in human existence.

Ray Piscopo is an engineer by profession. This would normally immediately militate against the great interest which he shows in art in general as well as a practicing artist. Reflecting somehow the tools of his profession, many of the motifs employed in his large paintings have the character of the world of electronics about them. But in his work we are given enough proof that art and science, as much as science and religion, can inhabit within the same cocoon of involvement.

I am here reminded of the words by the famed French academician André Frossard who stated that the more one progresses in the exploration of the physical world (scientific investigation) the more the mystery (hence philosophical interpretation which ultimately leads to religious awareness) increases. Few are predisposed to serve both fields of activity.

I feel that this artist has the capacity of further developing his art - notwithstanding the fact that he still considers himself to be a self-taught artist - and specifically towards those directions where true feeling conditions the end results. For me that is one of the greater criteria that need to be identified in contemporary artistic sensibility in an impersonal world that is so often bereft of human solidarity.

Emmanuel Fiorentino
May 2002