This summer, 73-year-old knighted Italian painter will open his latest next month at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto: Marco Sassone: His Boots and Other Works. Connected with his ongoing exploration of “departures and arrivals” and “the journey”, this exhibit features 10 new oil paintings that tell the stories of our journeys through something that knows exactly where we’ve been: our shoes! The exhibit comes to life through giant oil paintings of a pair of the artist’s own snakeskin boots, through a pair of beat-up shoes worn by a homeless man on the street, through those worn by a well-heeled woman at a party and much, much more.
Opening on June 9, 2016 in celebration of Italian Heritage Month, the exhibit runs through September 5, 2016 and is open Mondays – Saturdays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sundays from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the Bata Shoe Museum, 327 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1W7.
The concept of the journey has been ever-present in my work, especially in my series of paintings titled Tracks, in which Toronto’s railway tracks were my muse. I find within these tracks a dramatic engagement with my past, the theme of departures and arrivals, as well as ruin, corrosion and chromatism. The connection with footwear goes back to the late 1960s when I purchased a pair of high-heeled snakeskin boots in London that travelled with me from Europe to North America. The inspiration to include footwear in my work was a natural process and the shoes incorporate well into the texture of my canvasses. One of my new paintings in the Bata Shoe Museum exhibition titled “Journey” featured those boots on a track in Toronto.
2. How has studying in Florence influenced your artistic style?
Florence was the world of art and I became a modest practitioner in this overwhelming city of the Renaissance! I studied with maestro Silvio Loffredo, himself a pupil of the Austrian expressionist Oskar Kokoschka. My work today still reflects their influence both pictorially and in the way I look and see the object, which is simply a reason for the act of painting.
3. What has been your biggest achievement in your career so far?
My biggest achievement is when I feel that a single soul is touched by my work in an exhibition.