This is my story. Please take a moment to read it.
My name is Alex Righetto and I am a fine artist and painter from Italy. I studied art for decades and attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Italy.
The only reason I do art is to inspire the world. I believe artists have one of the toughest jobs and it’s almost a mission.
In my case, art gives me the opportunity to talk about the rich culture that I was so fortunate to be immersed in, growing up in Northern Italy, Verona.
I believe that culture matters and I want to be a carrier of this rich history, back to the world through my artwork.
My biggest battle to accomplish was to be able to believe in myself enough to be willing to pursue a career in the arts and risk it all to be a full-time artist.
This is the introduction for the exhibition available at Priano, in Tampa, Florida
Some pictures of the fine art academy I attended in Italy
Formal Education is a waste of time for Artists
Formal Education is a good thing overall. I learned how to draw, and for several years I had sessions each day with a live model.
The hidden problem is the opinions of others and the directions of teachers, that comes with formal education.
Because teachers are unsuccessful most of the time as artists (that’s the main reason why they become teachers) they share their unsuccessful points of view with students.
It’s like having a school bus driver as a person that cannot drive. It cannot end well.
And it doesn’t. Most of the people that end art school do not succeed as artists.
Formal education, anatomy, the study of the techniques, and art history, are not a waste of time of course. But doing it in an institute led by failed artists is very dangerous for the students.
Despite being talented, I was surrounded by teachers who told me I would never be able to make a living, painting because they hadn’t.
It was “too hard”, “too competitive”, so I shouldn’t even bother trying.
At 18 years old, almost 20 years ago, I foolishly believed this repeated message and quit.
For years, growing up in Verona, Italy despite having a strong passion for art, being capable of producing highly sophisticated and detailed pieces of classical Italian art, and actually somehow succeeding in selling them in art shows and galleries, I never truly believed I could do this for a living.
As I became an adult, I eventually gave up pursuing my dreams, and I didn’t touch a paintbrush for the next 20 years.
Some pictures of the fine art academy I attended in Italy
My own Renaissance
I became a fashion photographer instead, working for Gucci in 2003, and being published in Vogue Magazine dozens of times.
I traveled the world and eventually met the woman of my dreams and she brought me back to life as an artist.
We moved to the UK for a year, and eventually to the US.
One afternoon I was bored, and I decided out of the blue that I wanted to do something artistic. So I asked Stacy if I could make a sketch of Anastacia, her daughter.
She looked at me like I was crazy. It dawned on me, that I’d been so squashed as an artist by an unkind environment, that despite knowing this kind and nurturing girl for years, I’d never even told her I was a classically trained Fine Artist!
I smiled gently, and said, “Let’s go to the paint supply store, I want to show you something”.
I went up and down the aisles. Endless rows of them, paintbrushes, paints, palettes, and all the tools I’d grown up with, that for half my life had been such an intimate part of myself, were like an extension of my very being.
Listen to the audio guide of this portrait
My hands were a blur of motion as I created the first piece of art I’d attempted in 20 years.
When it was complete, Stacy and her daughter Anastacia were stunned. It was photo-realistic and incredibly detailed.
She was speechless.
This brought me back to life. I couldn’t believe the transformation as I was rehabilitated as an artist. My fiancée believed in me so completely and supported my crazy decision to recommit myself back to the arts, and I left normal life behind me in a puff of smoke!
This is the portrait I made after 20 years of not touching a single pen
Road to Miami Art Basel
But then I collided with the “real world” again. I had no galleries, no fine art connections in the US, and it was like starting from square 1 again.
I had grown as a person, I now had a family and was no longer the bachelor artist in his 20’s.
For 9 months I struggled to get traction and didn’t make much progress.
But I never gave up. I made 100s of phone calls, and 100s of emails, passed out flyers in artsy parts of town, and simply did everything I possibly could to get my art seen by people.
And I broke through! I was invited to exhibit at a world famous exclusive venue in Miami, Florida at one of the biggest art shows in North America.
I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing, but at the same time, had a renewed inner confidence that everything would work out.
I showed up for my first day in Miami not knowing what to expect. On the drive to Miami, one of my most precious frames cracked!
Stacy dropped me off at the show for me to set up and then fought insane Miami daytime traffic, miles through stopped-up streets to find a framer that could replace this last minute. The stress from driving for hours in a packed car, investing the equivalent of a down-payment on a house…. risked everything I had to do this show, never mind the exhaustion and stress from hours of setup in the extreme heat… only to face the danger of the whole thing being a failure… I think I aged a couple years in that first day!
By some miracle, we found the perfect framer, to replace the broken frame and 4 hours after the start of the actual show, we finally had everything back together and ready to go!
Two hours in, we sold my first piece.
I could not believe it. Customer after customer came in, heard my story, and invested in my art.
With every art collector that came in, and them seeing their emotional reactions to my art, was one of the most meaningful moments of my life.
I had spent 20 years learning my craft, months preparing for this show, and no one seeing it, to finally get to present my art to the world, and seeing collectors burst into tears from my message is something I’ll never forget for the rest of my life.
The show was profitable, it relaunched my career as a fine artist, and most of all, I regained my own belief that I could finally actually do this.
Thank you so much for being a supporter, it means more than you possibly know. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.