Around the time I started painting, it became clear that my favorite artists throughout history painted men but my favorite contemporary figurative artists mostly focused on female subjects. Contemporary male portraits seemed reserved for “important” men, that is, conventionally powerful men. I wondered if men could be portrayed with the same vulnerability and intimacy that had been used to such great effect by my contemporaries in their paintings of women. This pondering led to my current body of work.
My models are the beardos, surfers, slicksters, femmes, machos, dandies, and neo-hippies that populate social media, where the ubiquitous selfie has made the painted portrait all the more special. I’m interested in documenting the versions of masculinity these men represent while re-introducing the intimate and the sensual to the contemporary male portrait
From an early age, Canadian-born artist Alessandro Tomassetti acquired a taste for art during summers spent in Rome on family visits. Especially inspired by the Italian Masters of the Renaissance and Baroque eras, such as Caravaggio and Bernini, he studied Fine Art and Art History at McMaster University, specifically focusing on figurative work. He later specialized in Computer Animation, which led him to creating special effects for the movie industry in Los Angeles, California. Dissatisfied with the lack of autonomy involved with film work and eager to explore his interest in fashion, Tomassetti later launched his own menswear label named Filius along with an L.A-based concept store called All Purpose.
Unforeseen circumstances regarding his immigration status drove Tomassetti and his husband to leave the US and travel around the world while they searched for a more welcoming place to settle down. After a year-long journey that offered life-changing experiences, they relocated to Barcelona, Spain, which serendipitously offered up new creative opportunities. While attending a workshop with renowned Spanish realist painter Eloy Morales, Tomassetti rediscovered his affinity for the figure and a new way of expressing that affinity, through oil painting. Sensing a perfect storm moment, where his background and training aligned with possibility and opportunity, Tomassetti jumped into painting full-time and has been dedicated to and humbled by his practice since.