Interview with surreal artist Sicioldr

Sicioldr is an italian painter and illustrator born in 1990 in Tarquinia, living and working in Perugia. He works mainly with oil paint, pencils and coloured pencils. His subjects are surreal images coming from unconscious that he represents using a blend of contemporary and traditional techniques. His visionary attitude began to sprout in early childhood, when he used to depict in his drawings strange and uncanny worlds. These early manifestations brought a scared kindergarten teacher to call his parents, asking for an exorcism. He studied and worked under his father's guidance in his classical painting atelier where he learned not only how to paint but how to prepare wood with Cennino Cennini's technique, how to mix and grind pigments and how to build and decorate custom frames. In 2014 he moved to his personal atelier. His inspirations often comes from his dreamy visions and from studies of art history, psychology, mythology, philosophy, literature and science.
Hello dear Sicioldr, please, tell us how did you find the artist inside you? How long have you been doing art? Is art something that you always wanted to do?

When I was a child I used to represent my inner world obsessively, my art began in the exact moment I was born. I depicted visions of hell, heaven, strange castles on clouds and gloomy landscapes. It was a way to visualize my imagination, to scifi. Teacher did not understood my attitude because my drawings where often unsettling and strange. But as a child I was more interested in like archeology, paleontology biology and astronomy rather than mere art, even if I grew up with a solid artistic education, since my father is a painter and an art history connoisseur.

What was / is your major influences? Other artists, books, movies, music or any other media....What inspires you to create your artworks?

 My main influence is my subconscious, I often take inspiration from fields different from art, like psychology, biology. When I paint I usually listen to classical music. Painters that inspires me are mostly from the past, because they where closer to my philosophy. About the technique I have a contrast between the pure love for details typical of  flemish primitives and the fascination for thick brushstrokes and strong contrasts of baroque painters. This „contention“ creates a positive tension in my technique that inspires me and helps me creating my own style.

How does "a normal day of artist" in your life look like?

I sleep, eat and work all day, I also study a lot and sometimes I go to the sea or to the lake to take a rest. But an artist is always working! I have a sketchbook with me where I catch the first impression of my future works.

What’s your background? Are you self-taught artist or did you study art? Do you think an art education is important or imperitive for anybody wishing to be an artist? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages that you have encountered throughout your career with/without the formal training of the Art Academy?

I am self-taught but I have internet! Moreover I live in Italy, so I have the possibility to study old masters inside museums. That's all you need to learn the technique. You can learn how to paint in a good way, but you can't learn how to be an artist, you have to find the way inside you. You can't pretend to shift the blame to someone else. A (good) school could be useful to give basis for drawing, history and culture and that is important, but it is not necessary at all. If you want something just go for it with no excuses.

What fascinates you the most about (pop) surrealism and lowbrow art? How would you describe your style? What themes do you pursue, what surrealism mean to you and what do you hope the viewer will take away from your art?

Surrealism for me is a consequence and not a target. You can't force something to be surrealist because it will probably be silly and a random juxtaposition of things with no deep meaning. I just paint some visions from subconscious, but not everything that passes through my mind, I select just images with a strong archetypal charge. This was the initial purpose of surrealism. Sometimes my visions are really dreamy and full of strange things, sometimes I am more minimal and symbolic, nearly figurative. So if I have to judge my art I would be more similar to a symbolist rather than a surrealist. I love this because this gives me the possibility to be free. I don't want to be tied to a particular style, I want to express myself with sincerity. Lowbrow art is important and revolutionary because, through the power of internet and social media, it gives freedom to artists, and created a parallel network of galleries, magazines, collectors, moved just by the love of art and not only profit. This movement is the artistic revolution of this period! 

What do you love most about creating and being an artist? What does “being creative” mean to you?

I don't think that an artist "creates". Saying that would be an unforgivable vanity. Everything is already there, we just have to "discover" it, to give form to something unspeakable. We are not a Demiurge, our consciousness is a little boat amongst waves of a giant and eternal ocean and all we can do as artists is to sing poems to the intrinsec beauty of this mistery. Sometimes an unintelligible spirit enters in our mind and through it we have the possibility to make a masterpiece. We do not decide when or where, we just have to give the possibility to this "spirit" to say what it have to say.

Can you describe your typical workflow when you’re working on your art? What are your tools of trade? What medium do you most often use and why?

I use pencils for a series of drawing more intimate, symbolist, where I have complete freedom, and I use oil painting with the technique of glazings for images particularly important. Oil is something solemn, like a monument, and I use it only for those images i am sure of. This because I use glazings, a technique that requires a lot of time, but that gives an incredible final result. With pencils I use a similar technique, I go from pale colors to darker with a constant juxtaposition of subsequent layers over layers.

Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?

I would love to try the mischtechnik, a combination of oil painting and egg tempera.

Tell us more about your workspace. What was the most funny or weird thing that happened to you in your studio? What is / was the most strange thing hidding in your studio?

I don't have a permanent studio, everything is provisional. Right now I paint inside an empty house that is wonderful during daylight and really creepy at night. When I am tired, after a long day of painting, I sometimes see movements inside my paintings, and that scares the hell out of me!

What toughest challenges have you faced as an artist during your art career? What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far?

The most challenging thing is to avoid vanity. If you think that you are a great painter you are probably making a mistake. Be easy on the ego! If you confront directly and daily with old masters you will be humble and this will makes you improve every day. Old masters where not just like Rembrandt or Velazquez (unreachable geniuses), there was also less known masters with a technique and a vision that teaches a lot! And they were more human, more similar to us. So why their technique was so good? Because they had higher standards.

What’s the best and worst advice you ever received in your art career?

The worst advice is: "you have to be contemporary". I am 24 years old, how can I not be contemporary?

The best advice is: "Work a lot, as if this were the last day of your life, but do not expect short-terms results, your birth needs a lot of time ".

What do you dislike about the art world? What is the hardest thing on being an artist? Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?

I don't like when illiterate people gives quick judgments. It is not just about being "cool". My artistic life is based on time, solitude and patience, this creates a conflict with our time, where everything is quick and not lasting. I want to make art that lasts in time. The hardest thing of being an artist is trying to not be detached from reality. If you live in direct contact with subconscious forces you could be overwhelmed by it. You have to dominate your internal forces, and that is hard. Carl Jung used to live a simple life, in direct contact with nature and reality in order to avoid this detachment.

Where do you see yourself in the future? Professionally, what’s your goal?

I want to live as a painter, moreover I'm taking a laurea in computer science and I would also love to learn 3D programs and extend my artistic world to that field, an union between my classic art and technology. I would also love to make concept art in my style, seeing my creatures and worlds animated in 3D would be a dream! I think that an artist should be universal and express himself in all the ways possible. A sort of new reinassance man!

Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others? Maybe advice for beginning artists out there?

I am one of the beginning artists out there, how can I give advices? The only thing that I can say is this: if you are insecure about following your passion don't force anything. If the "call" is real and art (or another passion) is your destiny you can't do anything to impede it!

Your favorite art or life quote is ...

“In all chaos there is a cosmos in all disorder a secret order.”

What are you doing when you’re not creating? What (other) hobbies do you have?

I like to play the piano (even if I am a beginner) and the aboriginal didgeridoo! I also love to cook (after all I am italian). Anyway, an artist never stops creating, his work is constant.

Do you have an online portfolio or a blog where we can view your work?

Yes, I'm pretty much everywhere on the internet, but this is my official website, where there is a selection of recent works. I post on a daily basis on instagram, my profile is called alessandrosicioldrart, here is the link

Is there anything else you’d like to say? Is there any project you are working on right now or any ongoing event or exhibition you would like to share with our readers?

My works is currently shown in Bologna in a show called "Elogio Dell'Abisso" till the 10th of january at Blu Gallery.

I also printed a little book of drawings with Blu Gallery called "Drawings" and you can buy it contacting me or the gallery at  or at
Thank you dear Socioldr, it was a honor to interview you, I wish you only the best for you and your art and already looking forward to see your new visions and works :)
By contributor Linda. September 2014. Find Oh, So Surreal on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google + or RSS.