RUDE BOYS: Rudy de Amicis
No matter the medium, depicting the human form in a work of art is more than a simple observation of physicality. In a great portrait, we can see a conversation on the subject’s life unfold, the intimacy of their thoughts made visual and, as we listen, we begin to hear our own stories. “I represent bodies. Or maybe psychosis,” says Italian-born painter and tattoo artist Rudy de Amicis. His work makes it clear that when humans are both your subject and canvas, the line between the physical and the mental is often blurred.
“My work originates in a very spontaneous and instinctive way,” says de Amicis, “like visions…that transform themselves in my head in the process of becoming images.” Indeed, De Amicis’ paintings are a visual demonstration of inner turmoil; emotional scars are represented via physical disfiguration. Though his paintings portray a relatable suffering, indicative of the human condition, his characters cope with mental torments in an absurdist way. Open wounds or missing limbs, dark themes of suicide and death, images of sexualization and kink—all are balanced by a flat, cartoonish style, underscored by a disengaged humor. “I guess you could call my work some kind of psychotic expressionism,” he says.
By depicting the injured, fatigued, and often deranged with an imagery similar to that of a bizarre vintage children’s book, de Amicis allows us an uncritical look into the human psyche. His unflinching approach towards the themes of pain comes, perhaps, from a daily exposure to the realities of tattoo artistry. “The path to one of my paintings is deeply intimate and solitary,” he says. With a slightly unsettling perception of the world, de Amicis’ work confronts fears that we often repress through a dark, though necessary, sense of humor. It provides us with a lens through which we can confront our own demons.