Drawing on a Renaissance
Updated: Sep 23
A drawing a day for local artist, Damian Bisogni, reignites his artistic passion and leads to a solo show in Melbourne.
Damian Bisogni's journey as an artist has been long and winding, like the back road to Bangalow.
Growing up in Melbourne he was embedded in an extraordinary European artistic legacy. He attended art school, followed by a heady few years of creative work and success, before a more stable work and family trajectory took hold.
"Finding a way to incorporate my artistic practice into my busy working and family life has always been a challenge for me," says Damian,
Several years ago, he started posting daily selfies to Instagram to document a difficult period. Then he started to doodle, draw, paint. Regularly, not the ad-hoc painting he'd been dabbling in for years, but a disciplined practice.
"I committed this year to make it work," he says. His upcoming exhibition, A Drawing A Day, is the result.
Starting from 1 July 2019, he posted his drawings daily to Instagram. and quickly gained attention. "Early on in the process, a gallery in Melbourne expressed an interest in exhibiting the work," Damian says.
The drawings use a sgraffito technique, scratching back through built up layers of pastel to expose 'lyrical abstract imagery'. The inspiration for each picture is varied, "A song, a thought, an outlook, a memory, a desire, an anecdote," he says.
Damian studied painting at Victoria College, Prahran (which was later amalgamated into the Victorian College of the Arts).
"My introduction to art came through my mother's aunt, whose paintings and drawings adorned the walls of my childhood home," he says.
Margit Pogany was born in Hungary, lived in Paris, and emigrated to Australia after surviving World War 2 in Budapest. A noted painter, Pogany was also the muse of Constantin Brancusi, one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th Century. Brancusi's bronze cast Mlle Pogany, which is one of his most celebrated works, is part of MoMA's collection.
Following art school, Damian travelled and exhibited, including stints as artist in residence at Ray Hughes Gallery in Sydney and Verdacchio Studio in Chianti.
Damian has a strong family connection to Italy, which includes some more impressive artistic lineage. His father's uncle, Pietro Scopetta, was a renowned impressionist painter in the Campania region who exhibited at the 1920 Venice Biennale, has a piazza named in his honour, and has work included in a mural along the famous Amalfi coastline.
After pushing himself 'artistically, emotionally and physically' for an extended period, Damian took some time away from the art world to work in hospitality. And then life took over - he owned cafes, started a family, moved to Bangalow, worked as a teacher.
But he can feel it again now, that creative energy he had in the 90's. And he's better prepared to harness it in a sustainable way.
Damian is currently working as a facilitator delivering 'Stronger Smarter' teaching programs to schools and communities. The program's emphasis on self-reflection has had personal benefits and broad application.
Like his drawings, Damian is etching his way back into he rich layers of his life to ground his present in the whimsical daily reflections of a maturing artist.
You can follow Damian Bisogni's work through dbisart (website, Instagram, Facebook).
A Drawing A Day, Daine Singer Gallery in Melbourne, opens on 5 August 2020 and runs throughout the month.
'Back Road to Bangalow' (2019) oil pastel on paper
Article from The Bangalow Herald (issue no 42) by Rebecca Sargent (photo credit Frances Cloake) http://www.bangalowherald.com.au/