Conversation with Fausto Roma on the Traces of Jazz

Artist Fausto Roma, art critic Peter Frank and curator Alfio Borghese. Photo Courtesy of F. Roma
Fausto Roma (Ceccano, 1955), is a rare example of painter, sculptor and visual artist, who despite extensive travels along the years, has decided to live in his hometown, not far from Frosinone, capital of the geographical region of Ciociaria.
 
Fausto Roma. On the Traces of Jazz, solo exhibition currently on display at the Italian Cultural Institute in L.A. (November 13 – January 08), is surely going to familiarize the artist’s works among the local arts’ aficionados. 
In fact, both contemporary figurative art and jazz music have the ability to speak universally, beyond geographical boundaries.    
 
Let’s hear from Fausto’s himself:
 
Did you feel a sort of “call” for figurative art at an early age, which made you start off your artistic path? Share with us about your earliest artistic attempts. 
My artistic “call”, occurred when I was 17 years old, upon having attended the arts high school in Frosinone, first, and the Academy of Fine Arts, later. 
One of my earliest painting, in 1973, depicts an episode during the Vietnam War. It emerged soon a leitmotif, which has been characterizing my works ever after: the use of symbols, or better the symbolic value, held by signs, as means of sensorial experiences.
Painter, sculptor and visual artist Fausto RomaPainter, sculptor and visual artist Fausto Roma
After this phase, I turned my attention to sculpture, at first as an aerial, imaginary extension, which interacts and conquers the space, then as a defined and autonomous body of work, conveniently molded. 
My interest, as artist-anthropologist, turned towards the “genius loci”, seeking inspiration in the signs and the objects, tied to my homeland. 
 
Starting from the nineties, taking as archetype the totemic form, I started to realize sculpture/architectures hybrids. 
Both my works, realized in the States and in Germany, and in occasion of the solo exhibition, held in Rome, in the Gardens of Sallust, from March 15 to April 15, 2005, gave me a new “stimulus” to keep exploring new languages. 
My new type of sculpture perfectly fits into the man-made environment. My most recent stage, represented by the current exhibition in L.A., originates from the extraterrestrial voyage of my jewel/sculpture, Eneide.
 
How did Jazz music inspire you, for On the Traces of Jazz? 
The exhibition, On the Traces of Jazz, which opened in concomitance with Cinema Italian Style, and is currently on view at the IIC, was decided together with Valeria Rumori, head of the Institute (to whom I express my gratitude).
 It features 67 works, among paintings, sketches, ceramics, inspired by US jazz music. The selection was curated by Alfio Borghese and the art critic Peter Frank. 
 
The exhibition’s theme is about jazz’s traits: colors, contours and tunes mix together in a non-stop rhythm. Similarly to painting, jazz music has a theme, around whom the piece develops, in the course of its extemporaneous execution.  
The exhibition is enriched by an experimental video on my work, realized by Anna Constantinova and Leonardo Roma.
 
With On the Traces of Jazz, I put together my mental archetypes, freely and perceptively drawn from those visual traditions, which, although in different lands and under diverse skies, all aim at the essentiality of the sign. 
This exhibition represents a sort of vocabulary of the terms, with whom I express myself. 
I reconstructed a figurative world, which lives on its own, independently from the things typical of our daily lives, but with an emotional inspiration and an imaginative spirit, which will lead the viewer in a real investigation along a fictional universe, light in its appearance but solid in its inner structure.
 
Were there in your mind some specific melodies, lyrics or musicians’ styles?
In the earliest stages, the exhibition was made of twelve paintings, all dedicated to New Orleans. The sources were twelve jazz pieces, real milestones which made the history of that musical genre: Sing Sing Sing, Summertime, Bim Bom, Dream a Little Dream of me, Flying Home, Looking Up, Moonlight Serenade, Night and Day, Roald Song, Swing in the blues, What a Wonderful World, Take a Train. In the latter case, New Orleans’ bay turns into a piano keyboard. 
 
Afterwards, the exhibition expanded with eight more paintings, tied to eight jazz pieces coming from eight US cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Louis, San Diego, Detroit, New York, Chicago, Nashville. In each of them, jazz has created different styles and “schools”.
Each painting is endowed with a code, through whom, by using a smartphone, one can listen to the relative musical piece.
In the making of my paintings, I made use of the music with its unrestrained rhythms, and its tunes as inspirational sources. 
 
Did you spend time in Los Angeles, in the past? Tell us about your last visit: did you like the city and its people? 
It’s my second time, exhibiting my works in L.A. The first time was, last August, in the Los Angeles Art Association and Gallery 825.
Los Angeles has one of the most ethnically diverse population in the world. It’s a huge metropolis, whom I pictured in my mind as vertically developed, but, to my great surprise, it’s horizontally built instead.  
 
I certainly appreciated its most varied places and amazing people, who warmly welcomed me. 
Los Angeles is a city, which offers plenty of opportunities, and where everyone ambitious and talented enough is going to find his/her path, for sure. 

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