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RomeArtProgram’s Quinn McNichol – Alumni of the Month to contribute to the “Throwback Thursday”

–>Quinn McNichol : “I traveled to Rome for a month-long study with the Rome Art Program and I had recently graduated with my BFA from Pennsylvania College of Art and Design. At the time, I was making large paintings and drawings, working from direct observation of my studio and my reflection in the mirror.
The challenge this program set for me took me by surprise; the elegant, romantic pictures I had seen in books of the landmarks and street scenes of Rome lacked the tremendous weight of experiencing the city in person.
I felt small and vulnerable in my attempts to capture what I saw, finding that my ego was no match for the formidable walls of the Pantheon, or the elegance of Bernini’s fountains.
I was entirely overwhelmed by the streets and monuments; they demanded I look closer and honor their presence. Through my studies, I began to discover the difference between looking and truly seeing.
Simply looking at the surface of a subject yields superficial results. To create from life is to dig much deeper than the surface- to turn over the rocks, examine all sides and to truly connect with your motif. This understanding did not come right away. Rather, it has slowly emerged as little flickers of memories from Rome cross my mind while I am painting.
Since my trip, I have been an Emerging Artist in Residence at Millersville University, and continued my painting studies at Chautauqua Institute, Mount Gretna School of Art, and was most recently a resident at the Vermont Studio Center. I have also worked privately with an art healer who has helped me further examine my life experience in the context of the work I make.
I currently live in Philadelphia, and work out of my home studio, painting introspective narratives about how I see the world around me, and what I wonder and dream about.

Rome Art Program – Art As Power

Frankie O

From the RomeArtProgram’s 2012, Frankie O’Toole’s nice exciting memories to contribute to the “Throwback Thursday”:
–>Frankie O’Toole : “Before I embarked upon the Rome Art Program, I spent no time in my studio and struggled to see how I was ever going to, with the demands of a full-time teaching career. I felt my journey as a creative had ended before it had a chance to begin.
At the age of 34, I packed my bags and spent two overwhelming weeks painting on the streets of Rome. My goal was to try and reignite whatever passion might be left in me and reinvigorate my studio practice. The Rome Art Program instilled in me that you must work at it, every day, if you want to improve, allowed me to experiment, explore and above all challenge myself. I came from an oil painting background, so working with watercolours was completely outside of my comfort zone. I struggled… a lot. But every now and then I surprised myself.
The lessons of the day before digested and with the new day a new desire to learn, improve and excel. It was glorious and heartening to spend so much time immersed in art, shoulder to shoulder, with other creatives and leaders in the field.
I returned to Australia and began the task of finding the artist I created on the streets of Rome in my studio. I began to draw again, venturing outdoors to paint plein air, demonstrating and sharing my skills with my students, researching new techniques and immersing myself with new artists.
My lust for learning and exploring was exciting! I journey back to Italy in 2014 and began capturing my surroundings in travel journals and in June 2015 I challenged myself to create one drawing a day.
I would post my daily drawings to my One Drawing a Day By Frankie O Facebook page. The process became a fantastic creative Exchange; soon I had a following of 500 people and offers to buy my work. From there the journey toward my first solo exhibition began. To add pressure to my new found artistic venture I became pregnant with my first baby, and as luck would have I was going to give birth during this project and have a new born while trying to organise my first ever exhibition which included all 365 drawings!
The opening night was hugely successful with well over 200 people attending, including the local media: almost 85% of the 365 works were sold by the time the exhibition finished with a string of commissions lined up ready to go as soon as I caught my breath. It was incredible!
And I am looking forward to doing it all again, just as soon as I get back from my next trip to Italy!

Rome Art Program – Art As Power


From the 2011 and 2014 RomeArtProgram Chloe Vallance’s memories emerge with a striking richness of emotion and vividness
–> Chloe: “I attended the 2011 and 2014 RomeArtProgram, and inspiration was one of the the most important experience for the development of my artistic research.
The RomeArtProgram inspired my heart, and greatly enhanced my artistic development through the experience of living and working in Rome. Since returning to Australia I have held a solo exhibitions in Melbourne and Sydney, my work has been selected for national prizes, and I am teaching life drawing at RMIT University.
Recalling being Rome is like remembering a dream: my imagination is dancing deep inside a garden. I am drawing. Dissolving into Rome. Once amor. The light was golden, but mostly blue; blue is my favourite colour: indigo.
In Rome I fell in love with golden green the gardens the water the river the sky on twilight sang with the colour of life lemon yellow leaves dance sun kissed luminous dazzling light falls clouds build lavender mountains above memories laid in stone marble like butter melting in the heat dripping rain drops heavens open.
Levin lights up the city. Sweet scent fresh air. Cobbles glisten. I listen to the bells. The swallows look like fish flying in the ocean. I see an elephant. We feed him a carrot. You touch my hand. A monkey watches me draw closer we grow in time a point between circles. I will return to where I started. It’s not a race. It’s grace. It’s running water. Come on! Andiamo!
Almost home is where we are together. People make a place feel like home. Love. Amor. Once amor.
Once more the music carries me through a painting I drew sitting beside You on a bus that didn’t run. It was Sunday. Roses released inside the Pantheon petals fly dust settles layer upon layer a city of stories including ours. Water colour paint flows freely swims deeply sings softly my love once amor.
Back to Australia, my work has been selected for national drawing and painting prizes;
I am teaching life drawing at RMIT University, further on a path of progress. I have begun a PhD in practice-led research at the Victorian College of the Arts focused on drawing.
My RAP-time in Rome has helped make all of this possible through the supportive community of artists and dedicated teachers so, I am really grateful to the RomeArtProgram for offering such an inspiring experience for artists to expand their practice and to cultivate an international community of friends, which supported me for the development of my artistic research”.

RomeArtProgram — Art As Power

Serafino Amato

Serafino Amato – RAP Faculty

What do you do and where are you based?
I’m an artist that works mostly with photography and writing, which in my opinion are two modes that are interchangeable. I live in Rome, I was born here, even though I don’t feel a strong connection. I mean I don’t feel very Roman but neither do I feel I belong elsewhere. I don’t feeel I belong in cities, I merely live here, like many others, but if I can I move outside its boundaries.

What is your background?
My background lies in the area of experimental theater, that’s where I started in the 80’s,
but I’ve always been part of the visual arts, photography in particular.

Tell us a secret about Rome…
It’s difficult to know secrets about a place like Rome, if I knew it’s secrets then maybe I’d be successful and then I’d feel like a real citizen. In this case also I would have to say that I’ve always been attracted by the boundaries of this city, what once was it’s limits. So maybe a secret of this city is I believe in the nature which tries to penetrate into the city, often near the river, the Tiber, which carries with it the strong memory of open spaces and faraway scents and odors.

Is there a difference in working in Rome for an artist?
I can’t precisely say, I’ve never worked elsewhere. I can say that it’s a difficult place, a city that often forgets about who lives in it. Yes, Rome is really not an easy city, not only for artists. A city that maybe because of its long history has a very short memory.

A good source makes all the difference…which is the most important inspirational source you have found in Rome?
For me inspiration doesn’t come from the urban, but in the contrast between the urban and the natural. Almost all my work is born from this meeting and for this reason I’m glad to live in this city which has such ‘weak borders ‘. It’s a capital that leaves room for many in contaminated territories in its vicinity, and places not often visited by romans. So I would say that this is a true quality of Rome, it gives you the liberty to abandon the city, and even for a few hours it’s possible to forget about it.
Rome Art Program – Art As Power

Rome Art Program
Steven Meek – RAP Faculty

What do you do and where are you based?
Since 1995 I’ve been living in Rome. I am a painter.

What’s your background?
I was born in Dallas, Texas received my BFA from Texas Wesleyan University and my MFA from Yale School of Art.

Tell Us a Secret About Rome…
Rome is a never ending surprise, a cultural theme park.

Is there a difference in working in Rome for an artist ?
It has taken time to get threw the influences of Rome.
I have been absorbing Rome for a long time, now it comes out in my work without having to contemplate it.

A good source makes all the difference… Which is the most important inspirational source you had found in Rome?
Rome Art Program – Art As Power