Patrick Piccinelli

A painter whose creative process of making art is like jazz improvisation
Your paintings often combine structured geometric elements with organic, abstract strokes; how do you find the balance?
I always start with a minimal geometric structure. At this stage, I work on the composition on a formal and chromatic level until I am happy with the whole. When this stage is complete, I look at the painting for a while, mentally projecting a trace, splashes, stains or lines drawn on the composition.
Then comes the (perilous!) moment when I realize what I have imagined. Then, of course, the trace, the stains, the lines must upset, disturb the composition, but at the same time, must establish a harmonious visual dialogue.
You compared your process of making paintings to composing jazz music; when did jazz start to influence your practice?
I discovered contemporary jazz when I was about 16 years old. I was drawing and painting at that time of my life; I was already planning to go to art school (I studied at ECAL, the University of Art and Design in Lausanne, Switzerland). Musicians like the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Keith Jarrett, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock influenced me by their great creative freedom. They are great musicians, virtuosos but not afraid to break or revisit the codes.
Therefore, I can say that jazz influenced me very young and precisely when I was discovering the practice and the experimentation of art.
It’s a visual treat to watch you paint in your videos, and it does look like jazz improvisations. We can not predict what you will do next. Do you ever compose a painting in your mind first or decide the colour palette?
The whole research phase goes through multiple studies in small formats on paper. But I always reserve the freedom to deviate from the project during the final realization stage.
Are you usually satisfied with the results?
As I base my work on small format studies, I am usually satisfied with the results. However, I sometimes modify works that I considered finished. ( in some cases, I modify them after months of completing the painting).
Can you say that with time your creative process has evolved? If so, then has this change lead to a change in your painting styles?
My creative process is constantly “in motion”. The act of painting is what motivates me, and I could not repeat a modus operandi over a long period. One could say that my style evolves with my pictorial research and experimentation.
Do you think one can explain an art piece, be it its creators or the audience?
I teach (with great joy) visual arts, and yes, I think it is possible to explain
a work of art. But for me, intuitive understanding, the intelligence of the heart, and emotions are paramount. So my students know that it is not the speech about their creations that will impress me but the purely visual impact of their achievements!
I love contemporary art, and it is in this direction that I work personally and with my students but too often, in contemporary practice, the discourse around the work is more interesting than the work itself, which is often weak in its formal and plastic expression.
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