The name I chose to use when I paint is "iesa". It’s not a pseudonym, nor is it a stage name. It has been my family nickname since I was a young girl.
But for the most part, I am Mariateresa Provenzano.
I live in an area which inspires creativity: Rome’s Borgo district, flanked by St. Peter’s Square on one side and Castel Sant’Angelo on the other. From my small workshop, I can see the Passetto di Borgo and an internal courtyard with beautiful trees, surrounded by buildings which create a small town atmosphere.
Up until a few years ago, I was only called “iesa” by a small group of people. To everyone else, I was just Mariateresa Provenzano, a freelance professional, consultant, trainer, teacher... As Mariateresa and as “iesa”(even before expressing myself through painting), my personal life was enriched by my roles as a mother and a child, by solid relationships and friendships ...and by long solitary walks around the world. Travelling on foot is a passion of mine: it enables me to put aside rationality whilst fuelling my emotions, perceptions and creativity.
As iesa, and my desire to express myself through paint and colour, it took me awhile to come out of my shell. I prepared for this very slowly, gradually overcoming my shyness. It is through walking that I began imagining great paintings: so many colours, at times chaotic, at times vibrant. Looking at others’ paintings was a joy and a regret at once because it reminded me of how much I wished I could paint! I would imagine how I would portray a landscape through painting, but then I would think how that landscape was so beautiful because it was real and not a painting! In my eyes, no one could ever recreate such beauty.
After a long period of playing around with paper and photographs, which in some way helped me to “tap into” my perceptions, one day I decided that “iesa’s” artistic creativity would not only come out through photographs, scissors and glue, but also through paintings. Painting is a friend of mine, as it has always been, and it drives me. So I started looking for a school I could attend; I hoped that there I could finally find the courage to paint. I decided I would welcome “iesa,” creatively speaking, to ensure a harmonious interaction with Mariateresa, avoiding schizophrenic alternations between the two, and to use my painting as a vehicle to communicate with myself even before communicating with others.
I found the right school: the International house of women, taught by Zeila Granata. Magnificent. She advises her students without imposing her will, leaving them free to paint on paper or canvas at will and encouraging them throughout the process. This school marked my debut as a painter, alongside other passionate female painters. But it was really in my small workshop that I found the best atmosphere to paint in. For me, it’s more about the time spent reflecting on a painting than the actual act of painting it. Then, suddenly, I realised that I needed to recreate an empty space in order to fill it up again, with a new image; I don’t strive for accuracy but the real effort lies in capturing even just a fragment of what I imagine.
I began working with paint brushes, colours and spatulas. In my small workshop, I enjoyed experimenting with different materials: sand, plaster, rice, nets, recycled plastic.
Then, as is often the case, I realised I was in need of new stimuli. So I changed school and went to “La Porta Blu” (The Blue Door), taught by Alberto Parres.
It was the perfect place for me. It gave me a new perspective, a new way of seeing creativity and art. Alberto’s personality loomed over the large pieces of paper, in that vast space, and so it was that I began searching for calm, patience and my signature brush stroke.
But then, it was in my workshop that I experienced true freedom with my “brush stroke,” which, as Alberto says, represents the real digital footprint of painting, even though it can often appear different on each piece.