Marcello and Alessio
Affectionately known as The Twins, Alessio and Marcello Bugagiar moved to Maui from their homeland, Florence, Italy, to windsurf and pursue their careers as artists. They are like the two sides of a coin. Marcello, the visionary, and Alessio, the technician. Together they complete passionate works of art of extreme beauty and originality. The juxtaposition of of the classic and the contemporary, the European and the Hawaiian.
Alessio studied art all his life and has been trained in the prestigious Accedemia of Belle Arti in Florence, Italy. The school, which boasts Michelangelo as its first director, instilled in Alessio a complete devotion to art. While in school, Alessio was recruited to work for several prestigious firms specializing in the design and creation of theater sets for classic plays. During this time he learned about the art of each period, the clothing and furniture, and the character and colors. Additionally, he has completed much restoration work on the artifacts and antiques of Italy. His restoration experience explains his use of board rather than canvas to paint on – replicating the texture and depth of the thirteenth century Italian Masters.
Marcello is l’artigiano – the craftsman. He brings to their art his energetic creativity and vision, combined with a training in mathematics and photography, enabling him to find beautiful solutions to the challenge of design and composition. His ideas for the next project are woven together with the delicate task of preparing the panel for Alessio to paint. He then perfects the image with impeccable gilding and varnishing.
Alessio and Marcello Bugagiar have forged a new creative concept using oils on native “Koa” to depict traditional images of Hawaiian life in compositions that transcend both past and present. Much like a sculptor discovers the shape hidden inside a block of wood, these artists unveil the forms within the lustrous surfaces as part of a representational painting. In the folds of a colorful pareau, in the waves of reclining women’s long loose hair, or in the curves of an outrigger canoe hull, they carefully select the exact areas to leave unpainted which allow the ebb and flow of the lustrous Koa grain to shine through. Just as “haute couture” elevates mere clothing to fashion, the artists Bugagiar elevate koa to a pure artform.
Too, it is the juxtaposition of the classic and the contemporary, the Eurpoean and the Hawaiian that sets these paintings apart. In one, a young “wahine” poses in the style of Michelangelo yet her perch is a Koa canoe on a secluded Maui beach. Both her hair and the tree are left unpainted with the oils creating her body, sand, and sea. In another, glistening azure vase overflows with a colorful array of island blooms set in contrast against a rich, Koa background.
Although Koa has long been used in decorative ways for calabashes or furniture, no one but Marcello and Alessio have made the move into using Koa as an actual canvas, which harkens back to their European training as well as their restoration work on the artifacts of Europe. The texture and dimension of rare Koa absorbs the essence of the composition allowing the life of each soft flower petal, love notes and romance to mirror one another in heart shaped visions, truly a blending of classic European romance and unique Hawaiian aloha.
Alessio says, “it is an extension of the historic painters of Italy reinterpreted for the contemporary Hawaiian Art – all of which allows my modern paintings to feel timeless.”
Leave it to two Italian artists trained in the classics and devoted to historic themes of art to find a way to express their creativity in Hawaii with the same passion for the traditional.