Ivano Stocco


My paintings explore the experience of the urban environment. While cities bring us closer together, enhance interaction, and facilitate ideas and innovation, they are also the origins of global warming, barrage our senses, and change without end. The potential and the harm cities cause is a nuance that makes it difficult for me to grasp their full complexity.

The writer Henry James spoke of the "right degree of bewilderment" and "precise ambiguity" in art. My paintings often build up a tension between thick and thin, round and flat, and fast and slow passages of paint. I apply the paint as impasto and in washes. It is hard and soft edged, detailed and approximate, which speaks to the city's simultaneous confusion and excitement, its unsettledness.

I work with a variety of mediums, acrylic and oil paint of course, but also collage, aerosol, charcoal, straight dyes and pigments, sawdust and other materials for building texture, and bitumen of Judea. I also use many unconventional tools, such as trowels (from my days as a plasterer), stencils, sticks, bits of cardboard, and elbows.

In terms of subject matter, I am drawn to the everyday: streets, laneways and garages, power lines, water towers, storefronts, the backs of billboards, and the rears of restaurants. I often paint or sketch en plein air so I can more fully internalize the experience and spirit of a location.

My latest material is a mix of cityscape and figurative art, two traditions I think should be better friends. "You're doing something quite difficult—a narrative that is not illustration, and achieving it through experimental processes," a fellow painter put it to me recently.

I began to paint professionally in 2009 when I participated in my first "fast painting" competition in Spain (see Portfolio > Pintura rápida), won a prize, and connected with a supportive community of artists. Since then several contests have awarded me prizes, including this year 2nd Prize at the 2012 Cabbagetown Festival of the Arts, Best of Show at Guelph's Art on the Street, Best of Show at Collingwood's Art in the Park, Champ of the Hamilton Art Crawl Battle of the Brushes, and 1st Prize at the Annual Outdoor Painting Competition in Teruel, Spain.

My art can be found in public and private collections in Ontario and Spain.

I work out of a studio that used to be a moonshine still in the Ward neighbourhood of Guelph, and as much as possible out of an old apartment in downtown Valencia, Spain.

As well as an artist, I'm a father, translator, and writer.