Ho avuto tanto dalla vita, poichè non si può avere tutto, ho avuto l'handicap: questo è solo mio, un granello di sabbia scuro in una spiaggia dorata

Ho avuto tanto dalla vita, poichè non si può avere tutto, ho avuto l'handicap: questo è solo mio, un granello di sabbia scuro in una spiaggia dorata

Ho avuto tanto dalla vita, poichè non si può avere tutto, ho avuto l'handicap: questo è solo mio, un granello di sabbia scuro in una spiaggia dorata

Ho avuto tanto dalla vita, poichè non si può avere tutto, ho avuto l'handicap: questo è solo mio, un granello di sabbia scuro in una spiaggia dorata

Ho avuto tanto dalla vita, poichè non si può avere tutto, ho avuto l'handicap: questo è solo mio, un granello di sabbia scuro in una spiaggia dorata

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Art and life

santina-portelli-pittrice

Art is making things dirty
Getting dirty, making a mess,
Letting oneself go
To then… give Life.
I don’t think life,

I love it,
I live it,
I run towards it
and… I let it take me

tina-gianni-guidolini-santamaria

I have been painting with my mouth ever since I was a child, I played with the colours, I got dirty, I ate them as if they were bread, colours have always fascinated me, and I have always loved making a mess, … if I had been able to use my hands, I would have squeezed paint tubes as if they were lemons.
When I was about thirteen years old, while I was attending the special-needs school “G. Negri” in Milan, I started studying painting: history of art and various applied painting techniques. During an initial part of my artistic path, I was guided by the painter Bruno Carati and then for several years by the maestro Gianni Guidolini San-tamaria.

tina-da-piccola

My first painting was to reproduce, on a ceramic tile, a previous drawing of mine, the subject was a winter landscape, but on ceramics, the colours glided everywhere, it was all very fascinating…
Over the years, I became an esteemed ceramicist and collaborator at professor Madu-reri’s studio, painting on ceramics was the joyful, playful part of me and even just creating the mixture of colours was like a party to me. I proceeded to master oil painting and not long after that I even experimented with clay and low relief, that is how I lost three teeth and my career as sculptor ebbe fine.

quadro-presenza-assenza-anni70

My painting at the time was one of CONFRONTATION, although I was a cheerful girl, I was also very reserved, so during my adolescence, painting became a tool in com-municating all the emotions I couldn’t express in other way, that whole hidden part of me, that belonged to me and that no one could understand: anger, pain, the urgent need to ask questions and be given answers through symbolic painting, with scurry e strident colors and canvases covered all in one go. I called it “gut” painting. In 1965 they informed me at school that the SPAM was looking for a painter to pro-mote in Italy, the school nominated me, they took some of my work to Liechtenstein and in 1966, when I was 17, I received a scholarship from the V.D.M.F.K. (Worldwide association of painters who paint with the mouth and/or foot)

santina-portelli-e-stegmann

Painting became WORK for me and a chance for EMANCIPATION. AbilityArt I met the president-founder E. Stegmann, a generous man of genius and sharp cha-racter, as well as a great artist in any field, a vibrant person. I admired him greatly, unfortunately I could only communicate with him through the big smiles we gave one another, because I only spoke Italian.
My esteem for him was and is infinite, for his genius idea to found the V.D.M.F.K. and the courage to follow this dream and make it concrete, in a time when a disabled per-son was truly marginalised in every field.

la-carezza-del-vento

At the end of the ‘70s, against the opinion of many, who only saw me as a painter, I wanted to dare and I decided to make another dream of mine come true: TO STUDY. In those years, The Association was always very supportive of me. In 1985 I obtained a degree in psychology, and I began to collaborate with some uni-versities for the training of teachers and psychologists, from Rome and Milan, even traveling in freight trains to Italy. After the degree and experience in the field of psychology, painting returned to be a CHOICE, it is the reflection of a period I had just experienced, it becomes a painting of ENCOUNTER, more research, less symbolism, much more atmosphere, a well-tended canvas, “discovery” of light colours

cristalli-di-cottonfioc

People sometimes ask me: can disability be a limit in artistic expression? I reply that I should have been born a sculptor, I would have loved to transform matter in artistic expression with my hands; alone, using my mouth, I couldn’t have done that… I could have envisioned, designed, from an idea to a style… but that wasn’t enough for me. Therefore I had to bend my wishes to the reality of my physical limits, at the same time, in order to overcome them, I searched for and found an answer: using my limits with imagination and fantasy. I have painted with the nose, the chin, I have experi-mented watercolor oil painting, I have painted on big canvases “drinking” toxic sol-vents, painting upside down, I have scraped the oil paint with wooden sticks, making my work similar to etching and so on. I wanted more from myself, much, much more.

amica-luce

That is how I started wanting to measure against a painting, that I was told was im-possible to realize with the mouth: the technique of painting on ceramic with water and sugar applied with a small brush.
I managed to succeed in it through a work and study process that lasted for years, during which the will to overcome my disability found a way to bend my disability and that has made me more confident and free. This desire to do research and experiment new techniques and materials, made me realize artwork on wood and currently on marble, I am mostly a landscape painter with a love for the sea and great spaces, my painting is made up of intense but light brushstrokes, transparent, and in continuous “movement”.