Proposal Summary for Rome Prize Fellowship

Raphael Collazo, 1988

It is not just that, living in Rome, I will experience an ancient, horizontal city as opposed to the modern, vertical one, New York, in which I have lived all my life; although that is an important part of it. Most important, however, is that Rome seems an appropriate setting for my particular cast of mind, to further develop my means of expressing it. The things I think a painting should achieve, in my era, or in any era, are in the Italian masters, from Cimabue to de Chirico, in Giotto, in Giorgione, Bellini, etc.

This conviction has deepened in the year since I last applied for the Rome fellowship. I have been intent upon expanding my paintings' images, synthesizing diverse elements of my previous techniques and becoming, at the same time, freer and more skillful. For me, economy is not an object. I want to put everything in my paintings: constantly invent new forms, employ every color and shade I can concoct, vary my surface, create new textures and use collage, or rather appliqué elements I make myself.

Thus, I mean to touch some deeper reaction source, achieve excitement, beautiful excitement, painting excitement, the excitement of paint, as opposed to the numbing excitements of violence and disorder that is our everyday and TV experience.

My paintings have a landscape basis, with foreground, middle distance and sky. Aggregations of forms are like gatherings in a crowd, open areas in between, air passing through. Within this space I try to make something happen that will give the viewer, and myself, a whole and satisfying experience, lifting us out of everyday life by symbolizing something wonderful, a memory, or an expectation of what can be: Drama and anticipation, conveyed with paint, color, form.

[Mis pinturas reflejan un sentido paisajístico, con un primer plano, ámbito central distante y cielo. Los conjuntos multiformes integrados son como los apretujamientos en una muchedumbre que, entre sus espacios libres, permiten el correr del aire. En el contexto de este ámbito, yo genero un acontecer que le proporcione al observador, y a mí, una experiencia plena y agradable, que nos eleve por encima de lo cotidiano por representar algo maravilloso, un recuerdo, una expectación del porvenir. En fin, gracias al color y la forma, busco revelar con mi pintura la anticipación y el drama.]

That's what I think the Italian masters did. I want to see how, first hand.


Proposal summary for Rome Prize Fellowship, New York, November 1988.