Artist & watch lover
Cecilia, tell us about yourself. Where are you from and what is your background?
I’m an Italian-Argentine artist. I was born in Buenos Aires, where I started to paint. After studying Art in Paris, I decided to base in Genoa, Italy where my grandparents lived.
Are you focused on a certain type of watches? What are your favourite ones?
I focus on vintage watches. The amazing thing about these watches is that they witnessed a past generation and in their designs we can see the search of innovation and personality of the time.
At this moment I cannot say that I have a favorite one. I feel that I am just beginning and there is still much more for discovering and learn.
Are you working more on customers’ requests or more according to your inspiration?
I’m working according my inspiration. All started when I read the story of Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona. I was so amazed about the story and the world around these vintage timepieces. I read and researched more about it. Finally, I decided to start a series of paintings inspired by vintage watches.
Could you describe the main steps from the beginning of a new project until its final touch?
At the beginning of a project, there are several things to define. If it’s a series of paintings, I plan what format and measures will they have. Then I draw and do color studies, to define the palette in general. Each painting will be different but must be connected to each other, be part of a whole.
When is a painting finished? Well, sometimes never for me. The amount of details that can be added or changed with oil or acrylic is endless.
Once the series of paintings is ready, it’s time to start planning an exhibition or how and where to present that project.
Could you detail your technique?
Before starting each painting, I make small sketches and color studies (I mix the colors to achieve a desired color). Then I make the final drawing/sketch on paper, almost without shadows or lights, only the general lines.
I never draw directly on the canvas. Once the primer of the canvas is dry, I transfer the drawing done and if necessary I touch-up with a pencil.
Then, is time to start painting. In general, I work with layers of color. In the case of portraits, I use the technique of the 7 layers of the classical masters, which consist in adding thin layers of transparent color, modifying the appearance of the underlying layer. I also use this technique with watches, but every layer is colored and no “grisaille”.
How many hours do you spend on each piece? What are the main difficulties? Are you working on different projects at a time, swapping from a project to another or do you go through a unique process from the beginning to the end?
At the moment I’m working on several paintings at the same time: portraits in large format and with watch paintings. Every day I paint between 6 and 8 hours. As I work with layers of color, when a layer is drying, I work for 2 or 3 days on another painting.
Do you plan to publish all these timepiece drawings?
Yes, I would love to make an exhibition dedicated to vintage timepieces.
Is there a timepiece that would be extremely challenging to draw? Maybe which you thought about but final gave up?
I think every watch is a big challenge for me. I’m painting my third watch and I feel that I’m learning a new way of painting.
Any particular anecdote with your drawing projects?
Yes, and it has to do with the previous question. With portraits, I always put energy at one point, for example, sometimes in the eyes (the look, the expression) that make the painting have a soul. When I started with my first watch, the main idea was to focus on colors. But I discovered that watches are much more complex. In the case of vintage watches it’s necessary to pay special attention to the fonts, hands, dial, among other things. Every little detail cannot be missed. I had to modify my technique a little bit and learn a new way of painting. I’m still in it, and I love it!
What are your other projects unrelated to watches?
In 2014, I started with a project inspired by the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. It’s a project that includes paintings and installations. The idea of this project-exhibition is to show the influence of Borges in the creative process of other artists in Latin America. It also shows the creative and conceptual universe around him: the infinite, the circularity of time, perception, sequences, creation, fragmentation/wholeness and the appropriation in art.
The exhibition was considered of cultural interest by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Argentine Republic. It was presented in Barcelona during August 2017 at the Argentine Consulate and recommended for The Culture Institute of Barcelone.
I’m still working on this project and would love to present it once again.
How do you spend your free time? Do you always think about new drawing ideas?
In my free time I love to walk through the old port and the historic centre of Genoa, or to go to a nearby beach to draw, read and enjoy the sun. I love to be by the sea!
All the time, I have new ideas of paintings, sometimes I start painting them, but time is never enough. I have to decide which one I should finish, so many are rolled up until I find the time to paint it again.
Last question: where and how would you spend your next 24h if you had a teleporter?
I would visit friends who are far away and I haven’t seen in a while.
And if the teleporter could take me in the past, I would surely visit the Bateau-Lavoir in Montmartre at the time the most important artists had their studio there or frequented it as a club. When I was studying in Paris I lived just a few blocks from there and I dreamed every time with this idea.