Improvisational painter, teaching-artist
Denise Fusco Iacovone
Improvisational painter: making the audible visible.
My husband Rocco is a musician. When he plays, I paint my impression of the music in performance, right there in the venue. I like the term "visual accompanist! Just as with any musician, the audience, atmosphere and the music all affect my outcome. I interpret the music and the atmosphere of the evening as they play. I paint like an improvising musician, using my paints as my instrument; and follow the waves of shapes and color, line and form that appear before me like a river. I have to stay “empty” to be able to stay in the river and follow the music. Just as the musicians are playing musical improvisations, I paint visual improvisations.
I don’t like to get involved with terminology like synesthesia, I know I see colors and forms, but it is my training and sensibilities that direct ones I pick and chose. For me, the paintings have to be completed when the music is over, and I never go back into them. They capture something ethereal, and I can’t see it without the live music. As a result, most of these are relatively small works, ranging from 8x10 to 16x20. I use various materials: fluid acrylics that dry quickly, watercolor, and ink.
I start each painting with a clear mind trying not to have any preconceived image. I usually meditate before I paint to get the cobwebs out and put the day aside. That is the hardest part. I try not to fall back on passages or “licks” that I know. Of course, the worry is that I will keep doing the exact same painting, but luckily that never happens! Each experience is a new day, a new performance. Often, whatever I do in my day and what I meditate on comes into play. Many of my paintings are spiritual in nature, some more obviously than others.
One series deals with a powerful combination of sacred Aramaic symbols as expressed by the music. They are 72 paintings based on the Kabbalistic 72 names of God. In this series, I DO start each painting with the Aramaic symbols for one of the “72 Names of God” from Kabbalah, Jewish mystisicm. Just as there are 100 words for snow in Eskimo languages, these are 72 aspects of the Creator described in Kabbalah. You can access each aspect by scanning the letters (right to left since they are Aramaic). It is a very empowering and accessible meditation process. After I meditate on the meaning of the symbols, which include aspects of daily life like health, transformation, prosperity, love, ego, I empty my mind to transcribe the music around those letters. The letters do not spell any words, they are graphic combinations that are said to act as a “key” to a particular spiritual aspect. They fit like a plug in a light socket to reveal truths of the Universe. This appealed to me since it struck me that the Creator was using graphic design! I am not an expert on the subject, AND I am not Jewish, but I have spent a lot of time in meditation with some amazing results.
I hope you enjoy the work, and I hope to see you at the next gig!
All the work is for sale, just contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook:denisefuscoiacovone
I usually paint alone, in performance. But sometimes I paint with a team. These are two amazing amazing visual improvisors, Ava Barbour, and Roberto Marcello Sanchez Camus. Team painting also allows us to work on larger pieces. I also offer residencies on experimental drawing and Improvisational painting, and will travel to Messina Italy this May to run a residency there.