Gjergj Kola: expressive portrait painter

Photography, advertising and photoshop have given a new perspective to reality in the picture, but some artists like Gjergj Kola maintain unchanged the desire and the need to grasp the emotions and the essence of the people.

Basically “the human figure is the most excellent creature that God has created, and for millennia was the first subject for each artist, from the time of primitive cave paintings,” said Gjergj when we met him in an art exhibition of Transfigurative and Transconcettual at the Alexander Hotel Museum Pesaro.

Gjergj Kola is Albanian by birth but has lived most of his life between Greece and Italy finding the time to participate in exhibitions in the Balkans, Italy and the United States. When he speaks he never knows which language to use but this wealth of experience has allowed him to learn to read people beyond words. He grasps with the brush and portrays their life on the canvas. In his strokes he captures vitality and an uncommon joy.

What is the picture for you, what do you feel?

At first I feel concerned about the interpretation of the human figure as the most complicated, interesting and beautiful creature in this world. On the one hand the aesthetics of delicacy, beauty and freshness but on the other, intelligence, sufferings and joys. All these factors are brought together forming the complex of the person, and that must be revealed in the painting.

Art is expressed with the figure of a portrait, in which I have to be able to transmit the character and strength using the richness of materials and colors, and this is not an easy challenge. I’m always looking for a new high level of interpretation that can convey the individualities of each person.

Gjergi Kola, you enter into a relationship with the person you portray. What do you see in them?

I wish for people who I portray to all be wonderful. When I have a person in front of me for a portrait, I must take a photograph but not try to give an artistic interpretation. We are seeking a world where the two personalities harmonize: one of the model and the other of the creator, coming from two different universes.

Seeking harmony and aesthetic balance to grasp the most positive aspects: I always try to put people in their best essence.

I have seen many pictures of the Albanian, Greek or Turkish culture and folklore. What sentiments do they inspire in you?

Even in this case I compare with the human figure because folklore is clearly a human appearance. Popular culture is created by people in a certain place with certain natural conditions, both geographical and historical. These are values that are transmitted from father to son and are a great heritage of humanity.

I am just one of these artists and try to transmit these values and, since I was born and raised in Albania, I know best the culture and heritage of my country and the Balkans, and interpret it.

I left Albania when I was 24 and I spent another 24 years away from my land. When you live far away you develop a longing and a greater respect, you concentrate and analyze more values and positive aspects. This is why I try not to consider politics and corruption but, by my works, often return to the cultural values and folkloric traditions that are still poorly understood outside of Albania.