The Malta Independent 17 November 2018, Saturday

A touch of colour

Tuesday, 19 December 2017, 15:09 Last update: about 12 months ago

It’s that time of year again when Christmas is approaching and we are moving towards the end of the year and a new beginning. For those of you who would like to add a touch of colour to your home or office space or perhaps you are still searching for an original gift for your partner, family or friends ? you’ve come to the right place. The multi-talented artist Stefan Carbonaro has created a unique selection of abstract paintings and surreal art on canvas and wood, a sacred geometry mandala collection, a journal, kimonos, tote bags and custom furniture designs. Erika Brincat talks to STEFAN CARBONARO ? the artist behind all these innovative creations...

Are you a self-taught artist?

Yes I am and I have been painting as long as I can remember. I do abstract paintings, surreal art as well as mandalas and furniture design. After visiting a Thangka school in Nepal I started studying sacred geometry and began to design intricate mandalas which then led me to venture into the world of adult colouring books and I self-produced my first book called, The Travel Buddy - an adult colouring book and travel journal. Soon I will be launching the second edition, so keep following.

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What inspired you to create 'The Travel Buddy'?

The Travel Buddy is both an adult colouring book as well as a travel journal. This book was inspired by my travels in Nepal, since when travelling such long distances I needed something that did not require electricity or wifi to pass the time, so I came up with this idea of a colouring journal with mandalas. The idea behind adding a journal is to write down your thoughts, feelings and experiences while travelling around and therefore this book would be the ideal souvenir of that place you visited. This adds a new dimension to standard colouring books. While colouring the mandalas you can relax and will find it easier to express yourself in writing since the book also serves as a diary. All you need to carry is the book and some coloured pencils for the best shadings, and markers being better for brighter colours.

Since then I never looked back, enjoying the feedback that people give me about the book from all over the world, sending me photos of coloured pages and telling me how much they enjoyed the book. This book could be the perfect travel companion for those who are planning to travel somewhere exotic this New Year 2018.

 

The mandalas in your book are very original. Did you design them all yourself?

Yes, in fact, I also have a collection of Sacred Geometry Mandala designs which you can find on my website. They are all handmade using only a compass, a ruler and some fine liner pens. I have limited edition prints, framed prints and originals all of which you can see on my website and can be bought from my online shop.

 

You also create abstract paintings. I am fascinated by your painting called 'Surin' ‒ can you tell us about it?

Surin is a small island on the west coast of mainland Thailand, I was lucky enough to visit. I ended up there by mistake and can say that it was one of the best mistakes I have ever made, surrounded only by nature, no cars, no buildings ‒ just the beautiful blue sea, white sandy beaches, multi-coloured tropical fish and coral. This is what inspired me in this painting, and when you take time and connect with nature, the creative inspiration just starts flowing.

 

And what about your other abstract work?              

I also have a collection of abstract paintings. Recently I have been inspired by the seasons and using the same tree in all four seasons. Spring and summer are still on the way. Winter is an abstract acrylic on canvas dedicated to the people that love winter, using greens, blues and purples to portray the feeling of heavy winds and rain. The perfect home decoration if you like winter.

Red Layers, on the other hand, is a small abstract acrylic painting, using watercolour technique and highly diluted colours.  It forms part of a series of paintings where I have been experimenting on a softer style and softer colours than I usually do.

 

On your website one can also find some amazing kimonos, perfect for lounging and lazy Sundays. Could you please tell us about them?

I have some beautiful kimonos with my own art designs. This is a side project I am venturing into, in the clothing and apparel industry. Mainly I can design kimonos, hoodies, pillows, throws and a multitude of other things for the home, by giving that artistic original touch to everyday objects.

Every item is custom-made on order, so the customer can be sure that the pieces he acquires are limited edition.

 

As if that's not enough, Stefan also does furniture design - upcycling furniture into Shabby Chic, Retro and Vintage designs and creating custom designs on anything that can be painted on.

 

What techniques do you use to upcycle furniture pieces and can clients contact you to upgrade their own furniture and belongings?

First of all I choose good quality and solid wood furniture that have particular designs. Once I choose a piece I strip it down, restore it and fix any woodwork problems. Then I start priming and normally I start afresh as if it is a white canvas. If the customer has a particular colour scheme or wants a particular pattern or design painted on, I discuss with them what can be done and start painting. Normally I try to look at furniture as a 3D canvas so I look at it like a painting from different angles, and that is what makes our furniture unique and a one-off.

 

How did you come up with the idea of recycling pallets into clocks?

The idea of recycling or upcycling is a concept that I am always trying to promote, so I am constantly on the look-out for pieces of furniture, or scrap old wood, and I look at it not as scrap but as something different and original and my mind is always telling me I can do this or I can do that. It takes a lot of trial and error but that is how unique original pieces are created such as the recycled pallet clocks.

 

Stefan also has a beautiful collection of surreal art wood paintings which would add some style to any home or interior space.  Please tell us about the concept behind these unique pieces?

I carry with me a sketchbook all the time and use it as a daily diary but instead of writing, I draw my daily life. These sketchbooks are some of my most prized possessions. These surreal wood paintings came out of this sketch book.

The first one of this collection is called Forest Spirit. This unique piece is made out of layers of hand cut wood fixed on top of each other and painted piece by piece to create the illusion of depth. The concept is that where there are forest spirits, means that the nature around us is healthy and clean, and this is the way we should keep it. There are many forest spirits in any one forest but they act as one whole being. So if one of them is sad, all would be sad, so we must do our best to keep them happy by taking care of the nature around us.

The second piece is called Octupii in the Dandelion Gardens. The concept of this piece is Dream always. This is an underwater dandelion garden where octupii make a wish by blowing the dandelions, showing that anything is possible as long as we want it to happen and work hard for it.

My third piece entitled Home Alone is carved out of wood and created to remind us of what we all go through on a daily basis. Living on a small island makes you feel claustrophobic at times and the concept of this piece reflects that. At some point in time we all want to run away to a deserted place where you see no one and no one sees you. The grass is always greener on the other side.

 

And when you do run away don't forget to take with you 'The Travel Buddy' ... available from the online shop at €6.

To upcycle your furniture you can contact Stefan directly on 7909 2569 or [email protected]

 

Still searching for an original Christmas gift? Visit www.StefanCarbonaro.com for more information

 

 

What is a Mandala?

A mandala (Sanskrit: मण्डल, literally "circle") is a Hindu and Buddhist spiritual symbol representing the universe. In common use a mandala is any geometric pattern that represents the cosmos symbolically, as a microcosm of the universe. In various traditions, mandalas are employed for focusing attention, for establishing sacred space and as an aid to meditation. Therefore they are suitable to decorate your own sacred space and remind you of your alignment with the universe within and without.

 

 

All photos copyright Stefan Carbonaro © 2017 Malta


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