Adam Chapman on cARTel nouveau


Many thanks go to curator Edison Osorio for including me in his research-based interview platform, cARTel nouveau. This video, a quick recap of my self-directed study over the eight month span was filmed in OCAD University’s Florence Studio in April, 2012.

Feel free to check out cARTel nouveau‘s Youtube channel to get insight into what work all of my classmates were working on as well in Italy!



A monster painting depicts a red, firey and aggressive set of ancient stone steps.
2012, oil on canvas
290cm x 320cm

The definition of the word “Sojourn” is “a temporary stay or residence”. This is in correlation to having moved from Canada to Italy for a year. The piece uses both a grandiose immensity and firey, fast-paced colours to simultaneously give feelings of fear and aggression. Just as it was a daunting thought to pursue creating this, the underlying theme of Sojourn is that this feeling of anxiety and assault on your sensibilities is only temporary. As the viewer visually climbs the ancient steps, it becomes clear that the darkness remains at the bottom, and the task begins to feel easier.

This is allegorical in notions of faith and spirituality, an ever-prevalent factor when one experiences genuine fear.


A cool, smooth vision of movement depicting a night scene of Florence along one of its busiest streets.
2012, oil on canvas
2.5ft x 4ft

Using a blue monotone and fast, directional perspective, I aimed to portray the mature, calm atmosphere of a Florence night scene. The solitary automobile, the Mercedes-Benz (a common car to see driven in Italy) creates a dialogue of the economic excesses within the country.

Il Vetro Veneziano -SOLD

A green, matrix-like structure that implies that Venice has been made by glass.
2012, oil on canvas
70cm x 100cm

“Il Vetro Veneziano” is Italian for “Venetian Glass”. There is a duality to this name, both that Venice is world-renowned for its beautiful, glass-like canals and blown glass. Portraying Venice in an almost matrix-like green with a playful incorporation of verticals brings to mind the effect that occurs when one looks through many pieces of glass. This is as if to say that Venice has been made by glass, an irony considering the city’s obvious ability to stand the test of time.

Duomo di Amalfi (Diptych)

2012, oil on canvas
2012, oil on canvas

This diptych depicts a popular cathedral in the small town of Amalfi, along the south-western coast of Italy. I chose to once again incorporate a firey colour scheme to evoke the notion of a spiritual fire within an individual. By splitting the image horizontally by two canvases, a disparacy is shown between the darker (sinful) bottom and the lighter (forgiving) top, which alludes to the divine.

London From The Eye SOLD

A violet expression of a view from the top of the London Eye, looking westward across the Thames River.
2012, oil on canvas
(4) 3.5 ft x 3.5 ft

A sight seen from the top of The London Eye, in London, England. I primarily chose to depict it solely in violet to connote a royal mystique, as England is the monarch of Canada and has significant heritage for Canadians. Each of the four panels portrays a specific sight, and together unite to make the setting clear.
Again, my work incorporates loose, gestural brushstrokes in order to range from light and dark. This results in both connotative and denotative correlation between historical setting and contemporary depiction.


2011, oil on canvas

Pilastri (the Italian word for Pillars), uses a fast-paced, energetic take on a large, monumental court in Arrezzo, Italy. Gestural and expressive, I aimed to alter the viewer’s perspective on the stability of such old, historical architecture.

Tourist/Local (Diptych)

Dual images of The Amalfi Coast, bringing up questions of perception within the viewer to compare between local and tourist sensibilities.
2011, oil on canvas
(2) 70cm x 100cm

This is one of the first pieces I painted while studying in Florence, Italy. It is from an adventure I had in September ’11 in The Amalfi Coast. The diptych shows two distinctly different views on the same image, which signifies a separate perception between the two. This contrast calls into question the perspective of a tourist against that of an Italian local.