For her local Western Australian fans, Silvia Busetto ’s watercolour art is jolly reminder of Italian vacations or a heritage background that they could never fully experience. In both cases, the energetic colours in her well-balanced everyday scenes give the viewer the smile and the light feel that we all relate to happy moments.
INTERVIEW: Geri Vladeva PHOTOS: Silvia Busetto & Geri Vladeva
Silvia Busetto was born in a small town at the foot of the Alps in Northern Italy, Pieve di Soligo in the Province of Treviso. She grew up watching her father – an artisan carpenter – craft master pieces of furniture that would last for generations. Surrounded by such creativity and skill, she started painting at an early age.
Italy, Comics and Watercolour Art
In her hometown, Silvia ran her shop called “Shion Art” for eight years. It is still the name of her watercolour art’s online home. She describes it as a wonderful period where she got to know many people, of all ages, who did share the same passion for the comics as she did.
During that period, she discovered many new authors, different styles of drawing and inking comics. The use of watercolour by great comic book authors like Hugo Pratt, Stefano Turconi, Ivo Milazzo, Hayao Miyazaki and Tsukasa Hojo did influence her passion for the medium. She also learned about how this type of art has evolved over the years and its different cultural influences.
Her paintings today are influenced by the style. As all good artists, she uses the technics and works that inspire her to incorporate her own perception of the world in her creations. Like that, funny and joyful scenes from Italy come to life in watercolours that provoke you to pay attention. Infused by details, Silvia’s everyday scenes burst with love, laze, enjoyment of the moment. The simplicity of the mundane is represented in what we all should remember – life is short, and we better enjoy every moment of it!
Silvia draws her inspiration from a wide net of influences. She is an enthusiastic reader and lover of 1950s and 1960s films. Jazz music – swing and big band styles – is always playing in her home. As a graphic designer, she is drawn to graphic novels, specialist art publications and illustrated art books. There is a plethora of contemporary watercolour artists that excites her and drives her to experiment.
‘I am passionately linked to my culture and inspired by the magic in everyday life.’, she shares. The scenes she paints can come from every moment in life. A ‘…Vespa rider, Nonna shopping, a spritz at the bar, and other times it’s the beauty and expressivity of the human form in movement – graceful dancers, wandering minstrels and playful children that capture my attention.’
She might photograph someone, or something happening during her travels or use a scene from a movie as inspiration. Sometimes the idea comes from her domestic life – her partner or her cats. And that idea gets into her head, ‘like a visual earworm!’. ‘I save all these ideas up and slowly an image or series of images begin to form in my mind that I need to paint, need to share.’
Style and Techniques
Despite her biggest love being watercolour, Silvia occasionally also uses pencil, fountain pen, ink markers and oil for her paintings.
“(Watercolour) is the most difficult technique there is. It is meticulous, delicate, and sensitive, it needs to be thoroughly planned, yet is notoriously unpredictable, fluid, full of wonderful accidents and is truly magical. But when creativity takes shape in the way it was conceived in my mind, the satisfaction that emerges is priceless”, she says.
Aside her being known for the representation of Italian lifestyle, one of her painting series has a particular place in her fan’s heart (including mine). Her collection of watercolours named “Apartment Lives” makes for the viewer prosaic scenes full of comical encounters.
‘I moved from Pieve di Soligo to Australia on Christmas Day 2013. When the Italian economy crashed, with my Australian partner who I met in Italy and worked and still works in the wine industry, we decided to give ourselves better job opportunities. Margaret River (in Western Australia) – seemed like the perfect place.’
The move to Australia gave Silvia the opportunity to pursue art more seriously. In Italy, because of her ‘chaotic lifestyle’, she never had the time to ‘seriously delve into these passions.’
Margaret River and its surroundings are burgeoning. As the capital of Western Australia’s wine tourism industry, it is the place to go for a good combo of wine, art, and beach vacation. ‘The Margaret River region, with its pristine environment, tranquillity and strong arts culture, gave me the time, inspiration and support to take my painting to the next level.’
Today, Silvia Busetto is one of the artists that features strongly with characteristic watercolour art at each Margaret River Open Art Studios. This year, the 2023 edition, the event celebrated its tenth year and is now the largest of its kind in Australia.
Contemporary Watercolour Masters
‘There are a lot of contemporary watercolours artists that inspire me’, Silvia reveals. She shares her knowledge of other artists for those collecting or pursuing art.
“Eudes Correia transforms ordinary people who travel in the city, almost invisible, into the protagonists of his work. Always recounting current history with sensibility and personality.
Alvaro Castagnet vividly paints everyday scenes with powerful, impressive interpretation of light. His ability to evoke mood to convey the very soul of the subjects he paints is astounding.
Alex Hillkurtz moves beyond what one sees, and depicting what he wants others to see. He believes that in our too-crowded lives, sketching and plein air painting invite us to move at a more deliberate pace… a true sense of place, and sometimes unexpected stories are revealed.
Dusan Djukaric, paints the world and events around us, introducing us to the great mystery and discipline of watercolour painting. And then there’s the softly spoken and delicately expressive Keiko Tanabe, the precise, light fixated Thomas Schaller and many others.
If I look to the past, I cannot forget the genius of Leonardo da Vinci and the drawings in his notebooks. The American illustrator Norman Rockwell and his wonderful illustrations that highlighted everyday American life in the early 1900s, and finally, all the great Impressionist artists”
Silvia Busetto’s Happy Art Message
I met Silvia for a second time during the opening of her exhibition at Tonon Winery in Perth Hills in November 2023. It struck me that she uses a lot of red in her paintings and did ask her why that is. Her answer was that for her red is the colour that brings joy and evokes pictures from Italy – like a red Vespa. With every painting she creates her only goal is simple and admiring.
“I would like people to feel joy and happiness when experiencing my art. I’m always thinking that often, the first thing we see in the morning, apart from our partner, is the art that surrounds us on the walls of our house. If this is vibrant and colourful and positive, it will certainly give us a sense of happiness, and this is what I would like to convey with my artistic works.”
Silvia paints everyday life scenes to remind people to slow down, pay attention to the little things that matter. To enjoy the small moments that makes us happy. Like a coffee with loved one or a walk that helps us calm down after a hectic day. She wants to draw us into her paintings in a way that allows us to invent our own unique story.
You can connect with Silvia Busetto and follow her watercolour art expressions on Instagram or Facebook, or even better register for her email newsletter that she sends only when there is something new or noteworthy to say.