We discovered the work of this talented artist through a follower on Instagram. We were drawn to realistic honesty of his work and the depiction of ordinary people with different and varied body types. We thought he would be a perfect addition to our artist profile and we are excited he agreed. We want to introduce you to the portraits of people without clothes the art of Peter D’Alessandri.
CFL- Tell our readers about yourself. What kind of training do you have? How long have you been painting/drawing?
PD – I am a full time artist working from a studio in London. I went straight from school to art foundation, and then on to study for a BA at Norwich School of Art. I don’t know if it was because that particular art school was just a bad fit for me, or maybe because I was simply not ready, but I left art school quite disillusioned with art, and did not return to painting for nearly twenty years. I had become preoccupied with an ordinary life in the “real world”.
I was in my forties before I realised that my real world life was not as satisfying or fulfilling as I had hoped, and so began my reintroduction to art. I don’t pretend to understand why, but for some reason my simple love of painting – that urge to describe the world around me – had returned to me. So now I paint, and I can’t really imagine doing anything else.
CFL – You describe your work as non sexual depictions of the nude figure. Why do you choose that as your primary subject?
PD – I find painting the human figure an endlessly rewarding subject, and a constant source of inspiration. The problem I had at art school was that I could not find my “subject”. I became lost. I was always fascinated with life drawing and portraiture. But during this time, I struggled to paint the figure with my direct/alla prima technique, and so concentrated on landscapes, cityscapes and still lifes. I ultimately found these unfulfilling. That might be one reason why I stopped painting for so long.
On my return to painting, I had a much clearer idea of what I wanted to paint, and what I didn’t want to paint, and I developed my technique accordingly.
I described my work as the “non-sexual depiction of the nude figure” as that’s what it is; but that doesn’t preclude it from being interpreted differently by the viewer. I like the idea that what is essentially an objective description of a nude figure can be interpreted in so many ways, regardless of my intent.
CFL – You say your painting are portraits of people who just happen to have no clothes on? Why do you choose that language to describe them rather than saying they are naked or nude portraits?
PD -Because those words “naked” and “nude” are loaded; they have strong connotations or associations, whether we like it or not. I am constantly amazed at how people I would consider cultured and intelligent, are so often unable to see nudity as something distinct from sexuality; and “naked” is a similarly loaded word, described in the dictionary as:
1: not covered by clothing : nude
2: devoid of customary or natural covering
….almost as if being clothed is one’s natural state. How people interpret my paintings is entirely down to them, whether they see them as erotic or entirely asexual. Ideally I would prefer not to influence how they read my paintings with the clumsy use of words.
CFL – Your style is quite realistic is that a conscious choice and what message do you think it communicates?
PD – Yes, that is a conscious choice. I am trying to depict figures within a recognizable space, so it helps to maintain a certain level of realism, although I wouldn’t describe my work as “realistic”.
Style and technique are central to any artist’s means of expression. However, there is always a balancing act between style and substance. Whereas today I see style and technique essentially as a means to an end, as a student I became preoccupied with technique, to the detriment of my work, allowing my work to become overly stylised.
When I returned to painting, I began to get a better idea of the paintings I wanted to produce, but realised that I did not have the technical means to achieve those results. So began a process of study and experimentation, and exploring new techniques, which is still ongoing today.
CFL – Do you have any artists you would name as influences?
PD – There are many artists whose work I admire. With regards to their depiction of the human figure, I would say that early Bonnard, Gauguin and Diebenkorn all spring to mind. I’m not so sure which artists have influenced me the most.
CFL – You don’t consider yourself a naturist but the people you paint are simply nude Do you find any connection between art and naturism or what we call nu gymnosophy the philosophy and practice of clothes free living by ordinary people?
PD – Many of my paintings deal with the ideas of nudity and nakedness, and how they are perceived by the viewer. It’s a subject that fascinates me. In that respect, we are dealing with the same issues. As an artist, though, I feel that I am observing these things, and not necessarily making any judgement, or trying to express any ideas or views on the subject. I am deliberately leaving my work open to interpretation. It’s all part of my fascination with the relationship between artist, model and viewer. What you take home from looking at my paintings is what you choose to. How you interpret it will always be coloured by your own views.
CFL – If our readers what to see more of your work or purchase where could they do so?
CFL – Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
PD – I just want to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my work with visitors to your site.
Visit our artist mini gallery here