La tranquillità e altre riflessioni sul mio soggiorno ad Assisi (Calmness and other reflections on my stay in Assisi)

”Le vite danzanti” (The dancing vines), silverpoint drawing in progress on Zecchi’s silverpoint paper.

In 3 days my stay at the Arte Studio Ginestrelle will end and I really don’t feel like leaving. Yes, I am excited to go to Rome for a bit, catch a flight from Fiumicino to Athens, and stay at another residency for the entire month of July, but I will miss the tranquil town of Assisi. After being in school in New York for the pat 2 years, I never really understood this “calmness”, this empty feeling where I can self-reflect and breathe.

I had the opportunity to see the stars next to the Basilica of Saint Francis with my friend. We talked about constellations and astrology. I don’t exactly remember what time we were out there, but, honestly, time did not matter. I thought I had some sort of grasp of timelessness because of my own drawing practice, but I was far far off.

Curious people may be asking, “So what did you do in Assisi?”, to which I would promptly and gladly respond “Nothing.” To be fair, I also asked myself this question several times before and during the residency. Now I’m from the east coast of the United States and I feel like doing nothing is absolutely not an ideal recommendation for a way of living, but here in Assisi it totally makes sense. Cue all of the Italian sayings that all pretty much mean one thing: Take it easy.

Piano piano

Dolce far niente

Preso e bene non vanno insieme

– Italian quotes on simple living

Some of these curious people probably don’t enjoy single-word answers, so I can elaborate a bit on what I actually did. I did draw but my motivation quickly changed from creating a finished, pristine drawing to recording visuals through lines. My drawing was a form of note taking while looking at insanely stunning art in a city that built on top of their history (quite literally) rather than creating a clean slate by completely destroying their past. It was a way for me to record how history and tradition are still important values in a culture. I started to understand the way religion and art are just a part of the life there.

All these experiences I channeled for when I draw because it does, at times, feel like a sacred act in the same way the people—young and old—gathered together in their street to create beautiful works of art with flowers for the Feast of Corpus Christi.

During this residency program I learned how to take that slow eye I have as I do metalpoint drawing and redirect that gaze towards my surroundings. I didn’t think merging those two ways of seeing would be possible but I am rally enjoying how things are going. Assisi has given me so much to look forward to now that I am moving forward in my artistic journey and career. Piano piano!

Oh also feel free to look at these pictures from Assisi! (I am going to Rome, but only for a day so I won’t see enough to the point where I’ll have content to write. However, if you are on Instagram, I’ll have most of my pictures archived in my story highlights. Feel free to check that out here!

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