A life for art, this is how Michele Bono ‘s career can be described. He was born in Sciacca, in the province of Agrigento. In 1995 he graduated from the ‘G. Bonachia ‘in the Pictorial Decoration section, in 1998 in the Ceramic Art section and finally, in 1999, in the Decoration section at the Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo. Today, in addition to being a teacher, he is an eclectic artist who ranges from painting to sculpture, from the creation of scenographic elements to the decoration of allegorical floats for the Carnival. Sicilian Secrets interviewed him.
I believe it is essential to have a different vision of the things we observe every day. ‘Seeing with different eyes’. So from a simple shape like the one of a vase, the trunk of a goat or the body of a chameleon can come about, the important thing is not to stop and watch things from thousands of different perspectives.
Michele Bono (IG: @mic.bono)
Q: Art is part of you. How did this ‘journey’ begin?
A: When I was a child I liked to draw and create, I loved to make decorations. My teacher noticed my artistic tendency and told it to my mother. So I started my studies in art, first in Sciacca and then in Palermo. During my ‘journey’ I have been involved in the design of the floats for the carnival in my city, for example, an amazing experience that leads you to work with many materials. The same goes for the ceramic workshops where I learned the modeling and decoration of ceramics. Later, I perfected myself in ancient decorations, but also in painting and sculpture, and today I am lucky because I do what I like to do!
Q: If we were to browse an imaginary catalogue of your artworks, would there be one you particularly love?
A: I love lots of my artworks, and even if I then gave them away or sold them, they still remained in my heart. I love to go beyond the goals I have already achieved, and during my career there have been some artworks that have marked the step from a technical and stylistic point of view. I am certainly attached to the first post-academy projects because in a certain sense, around the age of 30, I was having a personal crisis.
My girlfriend of the time, now she’s my wife, gave me a 10×2 canvas as a gift from which 4 giant canvases came about, they changed my way of seeing and being. I didn’t care that they were difficult to sell but the artistic outlet was ‘wow’. I made 4 close-ups of people, including Lucia, my wife in fact. Strong faces with contrasts of light and shadows. In these works I was inspired by the American artist Chuck Close…and I kept one of them for us!
Q: You mentioned Chuck Close, a representative of hyperrealism. Which other artists are you inspired by?
A: I am eclectic, I quickly pass from one thing to another and actually there is not only one artist I am inspired by. I can mention Chuck Close, then there are Ron Mueck, Lucian Freud, David Hockney and finally Takashi Murakami.
Q: Michele Bono and Sicily. Is there a link between your works and the island?
A: Apparently it doesn’t seem that there’s a strong connection between my artworks and Sicily. I have a taste we could define ‘international’, more contemporary than baroque. But looking individually at what I generally create, then it immediately reveals how much Sicily is in it. Just look at the decorations of the sculptures or the paintings dedicated to Sicilian volcanoes. Sicily inspires me, a volcano stands out in one of my paintings and it is inevitable to immediately think of Etna, but the whole island is full of volcanoes: the Aeolian Islands, Ferdinandea Island, Pantelleria and so on.
Q: With your art you have also told another face of Sicily…
A: Yes, I also touched on some delicate issues concerning our land, for example the migrants coming from Africa. I first dealt with this issue from a very crude point of view, death at sea. Then I imagined the clandestine children, their wishes, the dream of a better life and alas the harsh reality in which all this imaginary flows. Hence the cycle of obese Superheroes, a distorted vision of the contemporary superhero who is no longer a dashing man ready to save weak people, but on the contrary he’s an ordinary Western, obese, bald and drunkard man who is intent on satisfying his own needs by not caring about the outcasts and poor people.
Q: Before concluding, can you tell us about your future projects?
A: If we talk about exhibitions, at the moment I don’t have anything planned. I constantly create here in my atelier, I have my customers and my art is highly appreciated. On the other hand, a fairly interesting project is going to be soon in progress. So, silence…