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To understand the meticulousness of Carlo D'Alessio's painting process, one need only look at his most recent work "Hot Stuff." An intense volume of fire bursts forth from a dark background, flames throbbing outwards to emit a palpable heat until the viewer realizes they are not looking at a hearth, but a canvas. His work showcases the kind of hyperrealism that only those with impeccable patience can truly possess.
D'Alessio's is the kind of art that requires quiet, stillness and a monk-like lack of distraction, which is why he prefers maintaining his studio within his home. A basic, bare room with four white walls provides a Zen-like envelope into which he steps daily for the monastic insulation that coddles his concentration best. It was also strategically chosen for its limited north lighting, which is consistently diffused.
"I like that I can control the lighting," D'Alessio explains, "so that no matter what time of day or night, my colors are consistent. I want to see the exact same blue at midnight that I see at noon."
A central painting space is where the current work resides. The remaining walls display finished pieces for review and contemplation. A small desk holds a computer and telephone. There is a drawing board for working out solutions to ideas and an exercise bike for breaks in between heightened bouts of focus. There might be light music from time to time and because it's private, the studio is clothing optional.
"Because of the level of detail in my work, I need everything else around me to be minimalist, predictable and organized," D'Alessio adds. "It's more like a laboratory, or a self-contained spaceship."
He spends the majority of his time here and especially enjoys the fact that he can work all night, access his large-scale paintings in progress at whim. Sometimes he will pull boards outside in the backyard to sand on a nice day, or take time to refresh in the pool if he's feeling blocked, but for the most part his sanctuary remains his studio.
D'Alessio is now at work on a piece utilizing elements of a technique called "bokeh." It consists of blurring sources of light through paint.
By Kimberly Nichols
Produced by Mary Silverman
Photos/Crystal Chatham, The Desert Sun