From 1992 to 1996, I was living in Cosenza, a ~100,000 people town in Southern Italy, in a beautiful historic apartment of over 2,000 square feet, with many balconies and fantastic wooden ceilings, five yards toll. Most amazingly, I was paying only ~$200/month. In the apartment, I also had my art studio, and my life was quite easy. My job as Chief Editor for a publishing company was well paid while I was working four days per week. During nights and the long weekend, I had a promising artistic life.
In June 1996, I moved to Rome, following my girlfriend, who had won a job as a researcher at Roma 3 University.
For more than a year, we shared a small apartment in Testaccio. Less than 400 square feet for ~$550. The difference with our previous home was barely bearable. I didn't have a job in Rome, and with that cost of living, I realized that it was impossible to have an art studio. Then, I focused on Technology to find a good job as soon as possible.
To learn Perl, I built Arte.NET, a user-generated art directory. I scraped the Internet for the initial 16,000 entries (artists, museums, galleries, etc.). When I sold domain and service in 1999, there were over 22,000 entries. I consider that my most successful project ever.
Knowing how to build a dynamic website, I started looking for jobs. In my idea, it was a temporary break, and I wanted to find an art studio at the beginning of 1997. Ironically, more than 20 years had passed before I had the possibility and, mostly, the motivation to restart.
Finally, last year, on December 1st, I rented room #29 at Art Explosion Studios and started filling it with colors, brushes, canvases, and all the tools an artist needs. Towards the end of the month, I was ready to paint. Leaving my job as Technical Lead Manager at Tron Foundation was a natural consequence. January 10th was my last day at the office, and my first day as a free man.
Soon I realized that my technique was almost lost and I had to study to recover it. I needed a project. Looking at the Spring Open Studios at Art Explosion Studios, I decided to make a set of portraits. The show has been canceled like many other events, because of the novel coronavirus outbreak. But I am very happy with my studies and they can wait for the next opportunity.