On Being an Artist – Marco Cazzulini Day One

by Geoff Hall on January 19, 2012

Our series ‘On Being an Artist’ continues today with Marco Cazzulini

The Artist - Marco Cazzulini


Marco and I met a few years. I can’t remember where, but it must have been meaningful! we have been friends and mutual encouragers  ever since!

Marco’s art catches the eye with the potency of his colours. This is the thing I remember from seeing Marco’s work at various exhibitions; his love of colour and his ability to catch your eye, to capture your imagination. It leaves an imrpint there and makes you want to return to that place of glorious evocative landscape. That for me is the sign of a good artist; someone who allows you the space to sit and think and dwell for a time, outside the frenetic rush, the adrenalin fix we call life these days. Thank you, Marco.

Today we are focusing on the ‘stuff’ of being an artist and that thing called identity.

(His CV is posted on the other side of this guest piece.)

Please check out Marco’s blogsite too!

Here’s the question:

There is much talk of ‘doing stuff’ as an artist, about projects, about locking yourself away in your studio till the deadline. I’d like you to focus on this thing called ‘being’ an artist. Tell us how you see the world, how you experience it and how you make sense of your own story within the bigger story. Do you struggle with this? This is about who you are, your identity. 



Artist and identity: Big question! Real question! Dangerous question! One we all wrestle with at some level. By way of observation; if my identity is my artistic practice, remove the practice and you strip away my identity. Perhaps, artistic practice reveals identity through inclusion and omission, intention and happenstance, symbol and gesture. Am I an artist by calling, vocation or practice? I’ve been wired-up this way for as long as I remember (BC and AD). How it plays out in my life is an unfolding story and conversation with God.

I currently paint landscapes, generally intimate and cultivated landscapes – An apple tree in my parents’ garden, the Botanic Gardens in Bath and an allotment close to my base. Part of the choice is convenience – I can get to these places easily. They also provide an immediate starting point. What happens next can be manifold and varied. Much of my work is fairly ‘readable’ at present but always the best have an element of mystery and surprise. Nothing so obscure that turns a viewer away – painting after all is an art form where people, upon looking, make fast judgements.

However, the best paintings imply, tease, challenge, enrich etc. Therefore, there has to be room for a viewer to engage and then develop their own internal dialogue with a piece whether it is figurative or abstract, narrative or conceptual. Many of my paintings don’t carry that kind of weightiness. Many simply delight and bring easy pleasure but I’m most satisfied when a confluence of ideas and emotions coalesce in paint in a completed piece.


Apple Tree (Thinking Japanese), oil on canvas, 2008

Do I feel I have something to ‘say’ about myself and the world I live in? Of course, but for me I quickly lose the authentic in my work when I try too hard to make a statement. I often work from, and return to a base of colour and form.  If these aren’t working no other intention can be carried successfully.

Do I believe in painting and the arts? Yes! At their best they are illuminating, revelatory and transformational. Art is a gift given and one to be diligently shared. That sounds like good news to me.

Getting a little bit more personal: Much of my early childhood was spent amongst the hue and cry of the restaurant world and that experience left a subtle, but definite mark on me. My family would not consider themselves creative, but I ascribe something of my love for composition and colour to my Italian culinary heritage. I also remember drawing persistently as a child and once the educational process allowed me some freedom I chose to study painting and printmaking at college. Graduating in the mid 1980’s, and feeling for a way ahead, I accepted an opportunity to enter the world of graphic design. I have been part of that world ever since. However, the practice of painting and sketching still form an integral part of my creative activity, more so now than for years. My pleasure in the process of mark making has not diminished and I feel impelled to give more room to that side of my creative practice. Indeed I consider myself a painter whether I’m doing the stuff or not. I live in Bath with my understanding wife, Sarah, and our son Joe.


Marco’s CV


1983 – 1986 Leicester Polytechnic, School of Fine Art

BA (Hons) Painting and Printing: First Class Degree

1989 – 1991 Brunel Technical College, BTEC HNC in Graphic Design


Selected Exhibitions

1986 (May) Four Painters, Loseby Lane Gallery, Leicester

1987 (Mar) Bath Artist Printmakers, Black Swan Gallery, Frome

1987 (Apr) Bath Artist Printmakers, Alkmaar, Holland

1987 (Sep) Walcot Village Hall, Bath

2000 (Oct) Late Summer Show, The Forum, Bath

2003 (Mar) Mixed Show, Six Chapel Row, Bath

2003 (Apr) Stations of the Cross, St Matthews, Bath

2008 (Jan) Influence (mixed show), Chapel Row, Bath

2008 (Mar) St. Michael’s, Bath

2009 (Oct) Solo Show, Time and space Gallery, Bath

2010 (Oct) Momentum (mixed show), Milsom Place, Bath

2011 (Oct) Charity Art Event, Raymond Blanc Brasserie, Bristol


Tomorrow, we’ll be looking at ‘funding and marketing’.






I agree that it can be ‘doing’ that frees you to ‘be’. C.S. Lewis defined glory by talking about a child dancing and enjoying its parent’s pleasure – for one moment, before showing off and proving itself takes over. When you’re in that moment you remember that God created you to do that thing. And if you look at someone else’s work – Marco’s, for instance, you can sometimes see that moment.

by Ruth Whiter on January 19, 2012 at 10:35 pm. Reply #

Ruth, always thoughtful as ever. In our everyday lives we do indeed live at the edge of many things (plenty of them blurred). This should not be a fearful place (though it often is) but one where we learn to embrace a better understanding of who God is and how he has created us to be. We all know how quick we move from grace to law, mercy to judgement, ‘success to failure’. I guess it is the thin veils that keep us from understanding the measure of who God is, the nature of his love and the power of his transforming grace.

by Marco Cazzulini on January 20, 2012 at 9:29 am. Reply #

I would happily live on a top floor flat if I could be surrounded by your work Marco.

by Karen Burnett on January 19, 2012 at 11:17 pm. Reply #

We are often made to feel uncomfortable in our own skin, our own sphere of influence. I think we need, like Johannes said in his piece, to shun those who are judgemental and critical of our work and embrace those who can positively critique and keep us on our creative toes.

Shameless publicity follows! When I wrote ‘The Cultural Way of Being’ the stress was on the ‘being’ part because we often become so utilitarian in our gifts and calling. I then (shameless again, but here goes) followed this up with ‘The Artist’s Autobiography’ which encourages a little self-exploration and discernment, along with the prophetic discipline of ‘clearing the ground’. Even Bob Covolo in the Foreword, spoke of me as a madman in the Wilderness!

I believe we need to sustain each other on our respective journeys, but also realise that there is a common redemptive thread to it all. Let’s revel in who we are and what we do!! I’m getting comfortable in my skin, how about you?


by Geoff Hall on January 20, 2012 at 10:51 am. Reply #

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