He might have only turned 30 this year, but Giovanni Femia, a talented Italian painter from Milan, has already visited most of the world while following his passion.  After touring Europe as the choreographer for an acting company, he landed in Melbourne, Australia, where his obvious talent helped him build an international network of contacts. Thanks to this experience he then found himself in New York with an exhibit at the New York Gallery Building. As his success rises, we caught up with him to find out a bit more about where he’s going next.


Italian painter at work

Giovanni Femia - Italian Painter


You’ve travelled a lot. Is there a relationship between your travels and your painting? 

There’s a kind of collaboration between one and the other. They probably influence each other.


Has anything funny happened to you on these journeys?

Once I showed up at the home of a well-known art curator in New York pretending to be a guy off the street delivering a present, which was actually a painting of mine.


How would you describe your sense of humor? What makes you laugh?
For me, you can count everything in life that’s serious on one hand, everything else has the potential to make you laugh or smile.


A paint by Giovanni Femia

New York by Giovanni Femia


What has inspired you the most? People, places, flavors and colors of the cities…

I can find inspiration anywhere – at a rooftop party in New York, cutting wood in the forest near my home, or seeing a baby cry. It’s not what you see, but the way you see it.


What puts you in a creative mindset? How do you know when a work of art is complete?

I need to be in the right mood, which isn’t always easy. I know one of my artworks is finished when I get tired of working on it.


What makes you feel at home even when you are in another country?

I feel at home with a coffee, or when I write with pen and paper and I see the words on the page and my hand.


The Italian Painter in New York

Giovanni Femia at the New York Times


Are there any advantages or disadvantages to being an Italian painter?

On the international level, it doesn’t make any difference, but in Italy sometimes it can be a disadvantage.


Have you always wanted to be an artist? 

Yes, since I was little. Except for a while I wanted to be a petrol station attendant… From an eight-year-old’s perspective it looked like good money for very little work.

What pictures/posters/photos are on your bedroom walls?

I have plenty of my works, a map of the world, and a poem by Pablo Neruda (“Lentamente muore”).