“I have a lot of influences. I study a lot of artists everyday and they are my masters, masters whom I love with all of myself. It would be impossible and pointless to name them all,” says Alessandro Sicioldr, painter and illustrator – born in 1990 in Tarquinia – now living and working in Tuscania. He derives inspiration from, he says, art history, psychology, mythology, philosophy, literature and science – and simply calls himself an Italian artist of “dreams, visions and shadows”.
Alessandro, who studied Computer Science at the University of Perugia, has been drawing since an early age but began painting in oil recently in 2012. He studied and worked under his father’s guidance in his classical painting atelier.
Alessandro’s subjects are surreal images that emerge from the unconscious mind. They represent a blend of contemporary and traditional techniques. His visionary attitude – his tendency to depict strange and uncanny worlds – began to sprout in early childhood. “These early manifestations brought a scared kindergarten teacher to call his parents,” he says, “asking for an exorcism.”
Alessandro has quite a story to tell. It is worth a read:
Sicioldr is an unusual word, it has an hissing, raw and allusive sound. It revealed itself mysteriously to my consciousness a few years ago and now, fortunately, it has become a part of my life. I do not remember the exact moment when it revealed itself, nor its sensory origin (auditory, visual?). Actually, I must admit I do not even know its correct pronunciation. The only thing I am sure of is that it belongs to the same world that I depict in my works.
I know only two words of this otherworldly dimension, one is Sicioldr, the other one is secret and I have only mentioned it a few times in my life. The first time I heard the secret word it was in a childhood nightmare. I hid inside my house from a mysterious, dark presence. I was completely frightened and, at the peak of fear, I heard it, spoken by an incomprehensible and ancient female voice (perhaps the Mesopotamian Lilith?).
At that time I had recurring dreams related to this female presence and I was so oppressed that I could not sleep for fear of meeting her. A chthonic deity as the Great Mother, ambassadress of the mind’s depths. Her memory alone can cause me intense feelings of unsettlement. This unpronounceable word accompanied me throughout childhood, I only used it to define this particular type of nightmare and in general the hermetic realm of the psyche,which now I call the charming contact with “Soul”. While these words evoke the anxiety of the dark side of mankind, Sicioldr becomes for me a figure of light, the mythical hero who, with a lantern and a shield, performs κατάβασις [“katabasis” – a descent of some sort] and extracts the content from the abyss to lead it to the light. He is the speleological [speleology is the study and exploration of caves] agent that makes the unconscious conscious. The story of Sicioldr in the world of creativity is a journey of exploration and introspection, a Dantesco journey where mythical figures mingle with bodies infused with enigmas, sibylline gazes of hermaphrodite figures, endless deserts, plant and animal kingdoms interwoven in unspeakable forests, labyrinths, mists, mysterious idols, eclipses, metamorphosis are what I see when when I open ‘The Eye’: ‘Oculatus Abis’.
Alessandro’s works are mysterious and mesmerising. Often a little unsettling but hardly ever frightening. Colour combinations are supremely important. He mixes and matches shades carefully, now and then giving way to sharp contrasts. Sometimes in the middle of bleak landscapes lit by the silvery borrowed light of the moon, we find startling blood-red walls and fabrics. Also, Alessandro has a blithe disregard for proportion. In a single frame, we see both figures petite and gigantic – frequently with black, gleaming eyes. Who are these people? What culture or era do they belong to? It is difficult to tell.
On the meaning of his art, the artist says, “I don’t think that art is about a single message. I think that art is made of untold intuitions, ambiguity, poetic atmosphere and I believe that if the inner life of an artist is quite rich and intense his works will be rich and intense as well.”