• Prerna SM Jain

Reinterpreting the Past: with Aaron Cristofaro

Aaron Cristofaro is an American born painter who draws references from the rural landscapes of his home with the help of Old Master’s inspirations.


He studied fine art from London, England, Cristofaro. His work is his own re-interpretation of his surroundings, which is a fusion between expressionism and Old Master’s compositions. His practice involves adding elements from a fantasy world to a deconstructed reality. He then executes the imagery in palettes that are reminiscent of the old European painters. His depictions of waterfalls, seascapes, and lakes are created in a combination of vivid imagination and inspiration found in the natural world. Cristofaro is represented by Agora Gallery in New York.


In a Conversation with Cristofaro, here is what he had to say.


How did your tryst with art begin?

I was born in Baton Rouge, LA In 1975, I started drawing on and off since I was around 10 years old. I became more serious about art in the last few years. My work is inspired from the style of the Old Masters and my passion is interpreting nature and those that surround me. I recently won various drawing and painting competitions, so I could receive art lessons to improve my drawing and painting skills, which has helped my journey.


Can you tell us more about the aesthetics of your work and its distinctive identity?

When I started to draw and paint again a few years ago, I first started to teach myself how to draw. Then, when I was ready, I started painting with watercolors. Gradually, I moved on to creating oils and acrylic paintings. I think if I were to define the distinctive identity of my artwork, it would be that it is an original style that is very difficult to achieve today. My landscapes and portraits are both imaginary as well as existent; my compositions are created from my memories, the fleeting and simple moments of my life. They are inspired by Old-World compositions.


What is the creative process that you apply during the execution of your work?

The process of some of my oil painting techniques begins with a first paint layer, usually just a background. Then, I’ll paint a rough sketch on the canvas and let the canvas dry for a few days before adding another layer, just as the old masters did. Sometimes I paint a whole painting in one session or day. Although I feel the result is better if I paint in multiple sessions. When I draw, I usually draw in the style of the old masters with a sketch then move on to the tonal rendering later. A typical drawing can last anywhere from 1 to 20 hours, depending on the result that I want to achieve. I sometimes paint by using the wet on wet oil technique for landscapes which means that I’ll paint a landscape or seascape in one session.


How do you title your work and what is the experience of studying Old master’s work like?

I usually title my artwork during or when I’m finished with a painting, I find that studying the old masters is a challenge, though also rewarding as an artist. This is because it is a trade that has been passed over many generations and is still taught today.


Which are some of the artists that have influenced your work the most and why?

Some of the artists that have made an impact on my art include Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Monet, Vermeer, and amongst others. The reason they have inspired me is because I developed a passion for drawing and painting in their style.


What objects of inspiration can one find in your studio?

Some of the objects of inspiration painted in my studio include portraits, landscapes of mountains and lakes, and floral paintings. I eventually want to paint cityscapes.


How have you utilized your time during this lockdown?

I have used my time during lockdown by drawing and painting more. I think this has helped me through this difficult time. As an artist, I’ve spent more time pursuing online art opportunities.


Any upcoming shows?

I am currently participating in an international art fair in Venice, Italy. It is called the Venice International Art Fair and one of my portraits is featured over there, titled ‘Susan’.


We look forward to seeing Cristofaro’s featured work at the Venice art fair. We hope to share the same experience that he intends his viewers to identify with, which is “to explore and feel the realities created in the painting.”

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