Gino De Simone was born November 8, 1932 in Somerville, Massachusetts. His mother and father immigrated from Italy to America in the 1920s. They were of proud Italian decent working hard to provide for six children.
De Simone artistic talent and interest began at a very young age with drawing in pencil. He created imaginary characters, cartoon sketches and sketches of American presidents. His brother Frank remembers watching Gino draw at the kitchen table creating cartoon characters. At an early age his was interested in the art of the great masters.
He studied with Donato Lacedra in Boston, MA at the Donato School of Art. The Copley Gallery the oldest art gallery in Boston, Massachusetts is where he developed into a life-drawing instructor. The Copley Art Society in Boston, Massachusetts recognized his quality of line and his understanding the anatomy of nature. He turned part of his time to teaching and lecturing in Boston Public Schools, Fenway Schools, and in Winthrop, MA he worked with children of special needs. Commissioned for over 300 murals for homes and businesses his work is visible through out the region. The commissioned murals are the foundation for his life long art career in Massachusetts. De Simone’s creative career spans over 55 years. He works include landscapes, portraits and commissioned mural work.
De Simone travels to historical sites and the American National Parks for inspiration. He does not need a camera. He uses his memory to paint from when he returns home to his studio. His memory of image and color allow him to create beyond the real and bring an inspiring interpretation of a location or scene. Many of his finest landscapes are of the Lexington area because of his love of nature. De Simone was the first artist invited to exhibit in Minute Man National Park in Lexington. His travel to Arizona allowed him to develop an expressive and impressionist view of the desert, canyons, waterfalls, streams, and distant mountains in his work.
His paintings, drawings and metal sculptures have been exhibited at The Copley Art Society, The First Baptist Church, The Galerea Rossana, Boston City Hall galleries, Minute Man National Park and many other regional exhibitions. He exhibits at Harvard Art and Frame in Charlestown, MA.
The artist believes “the lesson is not about art, but about people, life and the sciences.” A good painter must be a student of life, a psychiatrist and scientist. Through the years of painting pictures for people he has learned great life lessons about art. When painting a mural every person watching the artist work is being entertained. So to distract the observer he adds some deceitful excitement for them to observe. He will paint one big mistake in a corner, which will draw the observer’s attention. The focus is then the error not the artist working. The artist can then be creative while the people watching are being entertained and distracted by the error. The artist is allowed to move forward with his own creative idea by simply acknowledging the error that is distant from the artists work. Then to make the observers happy at the final moment when the artist is satisfied with his creation the artist will correct the error to everyone’s relief and the total composition is final. This little deception aids the artist’s as his creative energy flows from the brush to the wall without composition restraints or interruptions.
Once De Simone worked at a local mall with a large demographic of models posing for 10 to 20 minutes for a guaranteed likeness. These quick character portraits were spontaneous without the artist becoming a slave to the likeness of the person. This work allowed for expression of the sitter’s personality, emotion and character not the detailed scrutiny of a posing portrait sitter. He discovered the work was relaxing and fun.
Many other artists have influenced his art. These are: the great masters, the French and Italian schools, Pissarro because of his very emotional work and Monet for his expressive impressionist style and use of color. De Simone prefers to work in oil.
Gino De Simone’s art is displayed throughout Massachusetts in restaurants, homes and other businesses. His art is recognized regionally. He exhibitions are successful. He continues to give demonstrations on seascape, landscape, portraiture, and still life throughout Massachusetts. Expanding his art via traveling is creating national attention. While visiting his brother in California he painted two murals and assisted another artist in developing a technique which breaths life into the canvas. A technique he values as a trade secret based upon his studies of the masters. This technique he shares with his students. He is quoted as saying “I use a multitude of blues, so the painting will be translucent at all times, this is a trick learned by observing the paintings of the old masters.” The artist puts the whole mural together with swatches of color and no one area is finished. If you make a mistake you continue by working large and the whole work becomes everything. The view of a mural is the macro versus the micro. The artist creates the whole expressive image. No small details are shown anywhere in the composition. The central focus of the mural will have greater detail, but not exact details reflecting an impression of image allowing room for the observer to use their imagination.
He uses the Venetian school of art working from the light to the dark. Most important to the mural artist is the wall or surface must be smooth and prepared with three coats of paint and no cracks. The artist then reviews the surface for no dampness on, around or behind the wall. No moisture is critical to the success of the mural. As observed in Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper the picture will never be right because of the damp wall. Everything in a mural is subject to change. The change can be as great as 90 percent.
A mural begins with large masses of color and these can change at any given time during the development of the composition. One small detail change cannot change the whole thing because of the size of the composition on the wall. The use of his visual concept is very important for the total composition. The focus is not on detail because the detail may not work. The strokes are larger for murals. He uses a very free hand and creates the compositions in his head. He does not copy via projection or photographs. He prefers to do artistic work versus mechanical work. Because of the use of ladders or scaffolds in murals he must maintain a vision in his mind of the mural composition. The murals are for his creative expression. What he is looking to achieve is the emotion or the expression of the scene, seascape or landscape. If the picture is 70-80 percent accurate to detail he is happy. He wants the emotional connection with the observer. For example an emotion created by a fog connecting with the observer’s emotions and imagination. Important to his art is the connection of feeling and emotion with the observer not the accuracy of the image. The honesty of emotion in a picture whether right or wrong, the emotion will come through. This connection is critical to Gino De Simone and his art.
Copyright ã 2005 Janet G. Smith
Submitted by Janet G. Smith, art consultant, art historian, art authenticator and independent curator.
Her sources are:
Frank E. Dee via email and Website www.gmmy.com
Personal Telephone Interviews with the artist brother Frank E. Dee, January 28, 2005, artist’s wife, Alice De Simone, January 28 & February 5, 2005 and the artist Gino De Simone, February 9, 2005.
Gino The Artist De Simone, published brochure no date.