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Interview with Carlito Dalceggio - Confession of a Freedom Warrior

  • Carlito Dalceggio Interview
February 18, 2016

In the light of Carlito Dalceggio’s exhibition at Celaya Brothers Gallery in Mexico City, we had an honor to speak with this amazing Canadian artist. Perhaps it would be wrong to say a Canadian artist; Carlito is like a nomad, traveling all over the world, making contacts with local artists and local people from Indochina to Latin America. By travelling, working and collaborating with artists and audience from all over the world, Dalceggio’s art is universal art – it cannot be classified, cannot be categorized. As someone already told – Carlito bridges the gap between Modern and Contemporary art, while the artist himself says that he is inspired by tribal art, by Modigliani and van Gogh, by old masters, by people who watch him painting a mural… Dalceggio has an exceptional worldview based on deep philosophical and existential questioning – it’s something that fundamentally influences Carlito’s art. His answers in this interview are like a poem, so do not expect an usual structure of an interview. Finally, if you can, be sure to visit the artist’s exhibition at Celaya Brothers Gallery. It’s on view until April 2, 2016 in Mexico City.

  • Carlito Dalceggio Interview

Nomad Life of Carlito Dalceggio

Widewalls: You have been traveling a lot, exploring different cultures, traditions, art styles. In what way your journeys influenced your art approach?

Carlito Dalceggio: I travel to find my promise land , but I know that my spirit seeks some wisdom that my body will never find- my life is a procession, my own vision quest- my journeys are my art- I need fear, I  need the unknown, I need secret, I need no witness, I need to be provoked- I make art to survive, I am still seeking for our reason to be here on this planet, I feel free when I paint with and for the children in Asia- I feel free when I paint for no purpose,- to fulfill no other mission then to reach the universe, to contribute to the universal light- search for the new consciousness.  I believe that the real revolution is to save the traditions, and I come closer to them when i travel with my colors- I do art like trees grow-when people try to fit me in history or on a timeline or in a movement- I feel trapped- I paint to define the new world – I paint to resist – act of rebellion against the world order. These journeys are where do I belong- movement is my only salvation.  There is no greater reward for me when I paint outside, on a remote river bank of Laos, and all children surround me in a circle and stay with me for hours, without asking nothing. I am very close to the gypsies -who traveled in nomadic madness since a thousand years, not by desire, but by the intrinsic feeling that they never found their place yet. I am seeking for an immaterial kingdom that might not exist here, but I will never abandon the search. I never really felt part of any city that I lived in, from New York to Paris ….

There is no beginning and end for me, there is just a moment, I never liked applauds, I vanish from the spotlight before the end and I run in exile. To leave the secret comfort of the art studio and set studio outside among the people is revelatory, alchemical exchange and very challenging, it brings me to territories I could not have been alone in the studio.

When you paint surrounded by people, you are telling a story. I remember one time on the beach in Chennai in India, I was painted at sunset with my canvas lose on the sand, and I was surrounded by a very tight circle of dozen of Indians, staring at every of my movement , every stroke, very close to me, first I felt claustrophobic, invaded, I could not escape the circle was  to close around me, then I felt the energy, the great joy they felt, I was in the middle of the circus ring and they were here to be amazed.

Two years ago, went all over Laos and Cambodia to paint a 45 meters long scroll painting called The Labyrinth of Liberation, I painted in 60 different locations, always outside, carrying the giant scroll and suitcases of colors everywhere, from river banks to high cliffs to night market, I even been invited to paint inside of a Buddhist temple in Luang Prabang, in front of the shrine, surely the deepest painting experience of my life.

Widewalls: You have collaborated with a number of local artists from the countries you visited. Could you tell us something about your work you created in collaboration with artists from Mexico City, Bali, New York?

CD: I just created a big public art  project in Mexico City, called the Templo de la Libertad. We built a giant interactive sculpture-installation that was presented on plaza Santo Domingo in Centro Historico in November 2015, and when I had green lights from the city to make it happen, I called a Mexican architect, Alejandro Argumedo and we did it all together. He brought me where I could never have been, from my chaos and curves and intuition he brought the golden rule, the structure and the elegance. We shared the whole process, in a manner that we could never say no, one vision that one brought was automatically accepted by the other, whatever the consequences, then a friend music composer, Alunawachuma made the soundtrack in collaboration with Mexican Amatlan musicians. And we recorded a Persian actress to be the voice of freedom, then a Mexican producer Gaston Fernandez jumped in to produce it and make it happen in reality. And a great free spirit business man Calderon who created all bridges to make it happen, then a film maker, Stephane Cocke from Montreal created the videos with me, and then a fashion designer from Amatlan designed the dresses…

All together, we pulled it out and offered it to the world, in a joyful messy free intense moments of creation..

I am seeking to meet more artists here and create together,  I already have another vision for Mexico City that shall rise soon.

I collaborated with so many artists over 25 years: among them, the great Sufi seeker Merman Dede which I created  a big exhibition in Istanbul  called REVOLUTION REVELATION in an art foundation;  Lost Art in New York with whom I painted custom clothes; Fred Sathal in Haute Couture in Paris, Cirque du Soleil; Musafir, gypsy band from India, and my father who is a sculptor – we made many projects and exhibitions together. I had my own circus theatre group for 8 years where we created giant street theatre freedom ceremonies, with great classical musicians, whirling dervishes, DJs, designers photographers, writers, performers…. from studio Harcourt in Paris to classical musicians to DJs and fashion designers. I love the fusion, to bring the opposite together, to force the emerging energy…

When, in Istanbul, I did a live painting in between chamber classical musicians on my right and the merman Dede gypsy electronic on my left while a whirling dervish was spinning just in front of my canvas, I was touching heaven.

Great creative souls give me power, I give them courage and passion.  Inspiration and imagination are the two magic elements of creation, then passion, devotion,  love; art comes from love, art comes from a desire to change the world , the utopia of a free planet , liberating the souls and help people feel free again…

I escape comfort and security, I want to be pushed and challenged into new territories…

I am now heading to Thailand and Laos and Bali where I want to paint with Buddhist monks, bases on calligraphy…

I always been fascinated by ancient calligraphy, and influenced by the art of the brush, but now it’s becoming at the forefront of my creation…

I seek out to paint with the Huichols, an eternal inspiration for me, when return from Asia..

There are also new seeds of a vision with wild music creator Blondish to create ritual of art and music, a music producer that I was just introduced to that blew my heart away.

I also collaborate with dead artists, that I dive into their vision, create a bridge, and carry their message, I am close to Allen Ginsberg, Cy Twombly; I feel we are together into this adventure, I feel their presence into my studio..

And I hope someday, younger artists will take over my art, and repaint it, destroy it, use it and bring it forward into the future, to make me immortal and carry my freedom fire…

There is a constant dialogue with artists from the past and now, I see them, I feel them, I drink wine with Modigliani and eat peyote with Jim Morrison I hear Anais bin in my typewriter, their voices is holy and give me power when I feel left alone into this modern world.

I believe into the impossible quest of immortality, I believe in myths and archetypes, I believe in spirits and energy…

I do not seek to achieve success into this lifetime, but I want to leave a trace of colors, a path for the future generations to go on and refuse the world order and create their own legend, be inspired by my art and not feel alone, destroy the rules, Emmanuelle Arsan wrote – Refuse la dentition de l’assouviseement*

When I listen to a musician as I paint, I know he is here with me, I know he feels some energy wherever he is, dead or alive, this is great collaboration.

The exchange in between artists is vital, learning and teaching, it brings something we could never achieve alone, never above and under, there is no hierarchy, no lines just a circle…

there is no separation in between  all art forms, art does not try to reproduce nature, art is nature.

I write with images…

I paint with words…

I make films that are paintings in movements..

To exchange and create with other artists will bring me where I could never have go alone, we can never really be complete alone, others bring to the surface hidden parts of ourselves…

In other moments, I need complete solitude, sadness , fear ,melancholia, spleen, sacred solitary euphoria to paint , to touch this elegant feeling of being totally lost and that no one on this planet understand you, and that you are totally lost and this is your last painting, that you need to put in it everything you are.

I love rituals with no rules, bring people together and provoke creation..

How great I feel when I gather artists together and I see us being into it, totally into it, excited, thrilled and passionate about the act of creation, into the divine trace.

I had a studio on a rooftop  of a gypsy school and musicians group in Rajasthan a few years ago, I painted there 2 months with them playing the music, without rest, and the dancers whirling around me – one of my greatest moment of creation, for hours and hours, into total symbiosis, intuitive creation, and fearless..

Art knows no hesitation and no doubt, and no mistake,

Sometimes I go crazy, alone for weeks in the studio in altered states, I lose all connection with the world, I become just an animal who paints, in fury and rage, someone needs to come and pull me out, carry me out and make me see the world…

I feel that making art is the last resistance the last freedom, we must gather together, artists and seekers, and make a big fire…

Every new painting is harder to achieve because I am going higher, I am reaching it, the vision become clearer and I cannot swim into illusions and mirages anymore.

  • Carlito Dalceggio Interview

Permanent Discoveries

Widewalls:  Could you share with us your opinion on contemporary art market? How much dynamics of the art market influence your work?

CD: The art world and making art are two different worlds, and I make art… I do not really have time for the art world, it takes total dedication to give birth to my art. The dynamics of the art market absolutely do not influence my creation.  I set foot in one art fair every couple of years, and I run back to my studio. I do not hang out at all in galleries and artist cocktails, I never go to any conferences or talks, I never ever ready art magazines…. I rather spend a Sunday at Lagunilla market then to do a gallery tour.

I am descendant of Modigliani and Gauguin and van Gogh… We are out in the field alone very far under wild suns and very full moons and we paint, nothing else matters. We are burned by the sun and the wine; we are in trance, lost and free full of colors, exploding of sadness and joy…

We reach the extreme; we derange our senses to make art…

I must be blind to what is happening in the world to really create…

After a 15 hours art session, the last thing I want is to talk about art. I want to dance, to make love, to cross the desert, to go hang out with the monarch butterflies in Michoacán , hunt for peyote in the desert, climb some trees, explore the neon side of the city, listen to the trumpet blows, go paint with the children in the favela, bang the drums…

I hang out with people who never asked where I come from or where I am going, we are just here, at this moment…

But, I do love to exchange about art, I do love and be so grateful of people who buys my art and believe in my visons, they make my life possible, to achieve my dream…

I am  a mad scientist who mixed colors in the darkness of the night to find the philosopher stone,  I am more attracted by a white canvas , by everything I still need to create, to push the vision deeper, higher,  I feel that a candles flame is more powerful than any fireworks…

Only in total solitude we make the great discoveries, we just confirm them in society, seeking for approval and reward…

I do not belong to this system; I am running free into the garden of the earthly delights creating a new world…

The joy of creation is my sacred fuel. I never painted by choice, I paint to survive…

Widewalls: Do you still travel as you used to do? Could we expect some new projects of yours in the near future?

CD: Yes, I am leaving for South East Asia just after the opening in Mexico City to paint a vision I have that might take 3 months…

I had a dream about, THE DANCE OF THE BLESSED SPIRITS, which is the reunion of the free spirits in the Bardo, the Tibetan immaterial place where souls wait for reincarnations; I saw this place as the land of the free and I need to paint it, I do not know how, I need to exile, remove any noises round me and dive into this vision. I do not know where it will take me.

I am also now completing a big book, called, A BOHEMIAN IN EXILE, about my last 10 years in my art vision quest, a book of all my traveling sketchbooks and journals, an alchemical book of recipes to transcend.

And I have a very big exhibition that I am creating now, called, THE LABYRINTH OF LIBERATION,  that i would love to tour, it’s some kind of a giant labyrinth multimedia where the passenger dive into to define his own freedom. I am seeking to present it first in a museum in Mexico City.

And at the end of august, the Freedom Temple that I presented at plaza Santo Domingo will be traveling to burning man festival in Nevada to be set in flames, where it will vanish in ashes before the next creation…

There is so much I still need to create; it is still just the beginning…

My soundtrack

-Oceanvus Orientalis- Untold-Unknown

-Blondish – Welcome to the present

-Peter Power- Hanging in the balance

Multi Culti- Voyager e.p.

Hasta Siempre la Revolución

Featured Images: Carlito Dalceggio (courtesy of carlitodalceggio.com); Carlito Dalceggio – Le Meilleur des Mondes Nouvex Final, credits StephaneCocke (courtesy of mumtl.org); Preparations for The Exhibition at Celaya Brothers Gallery (courtesy of the artist’s Facebook page); Carlito Dalceggio – I Do Not Scream For An Audience, I Shout At The Holy (Tibetan version), detail. Acrylic and ink on Arches paper. 20 x 14 in. (courtesy of Celaya Brothers Gallery). All Images used for illustrative purposes only.