A pop art virtuoso, expertly armed with acrylics, gold leaf and a palette knife, Italian artist Luca Valentini describes his work as an “expression of the true nature of the society in which we live today". Over the last decade, Valentini has carved out a niche in the art world through his bold representations of the fashion industry and its associated myths, artworks which intend to both disturb and fascinate the idea of perfection, and create a controversial talking point.
Born just outside of Rome, Italy, Valentini spent his formative years under the influence of an ancient city steeped in centuries of rich history, and home to a visual feast of some of the world's most recognisable art from the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
While studying Environmental Engineering at La Sapienza Roma, one of the oldest Universities in the city, Valentini dabbled in various art courses which he says piqued an intuitive compulsion to delve further into the uncharted and liberating creative territory it presented. Yet upon making his fervent sense of artistic curiosity know to his professor, Valentini says he was met with a "defeating" response which dismissed art as a "fundless career", inadequate for supporting a living. Unconvinced yet discouraged, Valentini pushed his passion for art to the back of his mind and moved ahead in the pursuit of an academic education, knowing that one day, the tide would change.
While working as an engineer in Italy, Valentini came across well known Italian artist Fabrizio Gunnella and upon making his acquaintance, felt regularly drawn to his studio, often spending hours closely observing his unique techniques of oil canvas worked by a putty knife to make a realistic portrait. Valentini says that it was simply through observation and visualisation that he taught himself to paint. He also made use of his technical skills acquired through engineering as the starting point for his artistic visions. Gunnella soon mentored Valentini and was surprised to see that one day, the talent and success of his "protege" had come to challenge his own, with sell-out pieces in numerous art galleries across Rome. Later, artist Pietro Fortuna was to become Luca’s ‘real’ art father and mentor, by opening his mind on how to ultimately live with art.
A short while thereafter, whilst continuing to nurture his creative pastime, Valentini packed his bags for London to assume a year-long contract with a British engineering firm, a period he describes as artistically "transformative". Upon meeting fellow Londoners and building a strong network of friends and contacts, Valentini says he was spurred to drastically improve his English language skills and consequently, developed a newfound sense of confidence and empowerment in further discussing and exploring the opportunities that bubbled within his realm of talent. It was in London he says something "truly special" occurred, and for the first time his artistic abilities were given air time in conversation, intriguing his peers, and were most importantly respected.
Upon reflection, Valentini says following his mother's dream to become an engineer was a path of logic, yet without creativity and passion infused in his work, he was left feeling unchallenged. He recalls he could not imagine a single day further sitting glued to a desk, in front of a screen. His goal was, and remains to this day, to be the best version of himself. He says art presented him the chance to become the captain of his destiny, and he knew the only way forward was to work for himself and express himself as his young self-had intended.
Valentini now travels the world as an internationally acclaimed artist, and although he holds a place deep in his heart for his home country, he sees the art industry in Italy as "not as adept as many other cosmopolitan cities, such as London, New York or Dubai”. He describes art as "the most important aspect of culture to influence people" with the unmortgaged power to break rules and convey a profound sense of reflection that cannot always be described through locution.
Valentini is a self-proclaimed perfectionist, citing his work mantra as: “If I am stressed, I do my best”. The true synthesis of his art is yet to come because his pulsions talk to his audiences about a curious artist who desires to experiment in new languages, and who now allows himself to indulge in inspiration without fear or reverence. Despite his young age, he has done numerous exhibitions across the globe receiving great approvals among critics and audiences.