Edoardo Monti is founder of the dynamic artist residency, Palazzo Monti, in Brescia, Italy. Hosting an orchestra of painters, sculptors, photographers, designers, chefs, and many more creatives, the Palazzo has become a unique space to celebrate creativity and art. Housing creatives for month-long residencies, and leaving a physical trace of their presence with a piece once completed, the Palazzo has become a showcase for the most unique and fresh talent with this non-for profit community project.
We spoke to Edoardo on the unique Palazzo Monti space, inspirations, and empowering creatives.
You have been deeply immersed in the art world through Palazzo Monti. How has your connection to art changed over recent years?
It has evolved from a passive to a definitely active, front line approach. What used to be a topic I’d study, research and travel for, it has also transformed into what I live and breath every day. Getting to know and live with artists all year round has allowed me to approach the contemporary world in a new, more focused and thorough way.
How did the residency come about and what does it offer artists?
When Palazzo Monti was launched, I was living in NYC and working at Stella McCartney’s communications office. I loved my life, yet felt I had to work on my own project, and when the opportunity to come up with a concept to make the most of our family palazzo in Brescia, I knew an artist residency would be the best way to go. The goal was to create, support and nourish a community of creatives, from all over the world. With over 180 artists in less than 5 years, I think we have definitely reached our goal! We offer free stay in the palazzo, where each artists enjoys a private studio and bedroom, and a series of events, dinner and shows to introduce each artist to our network.
Who, or what, inspires you?
Leo Castelli, the NY-based Italian gallerist that created in the XX century a new system in support of artists and the whole art system, is definitely a mentor!
Which artwork has had the biggest impact on you?
Visiting Brancusi’s Atelier in Paris, with all of his completed and work-in-progress sculptures, was a life changing experience. I was in Paris for work and managed to sneak out of the office with a colleague for a few minutes, yet it felt like I had spent hours in that room. It’s a few steps from the Centre Pompidou, yet it’s quiet, calm and with very few people. I knew right there and then that I wanted to live in a space that would somehow resemble that atelier, and I am pleased to say that somehow I managed to create my own massive atelier, lived in by dozens of artists every year.
What are your tips for someone who is standing in front of a blank canvas? How do you choose the right direction for you?
Research, travel and friends are my best suggestions. Researching will provide the best ground on top of which you can build anything: you’ll know what has happened and failed or succeeded in the past, and that is key to know how to take your first steps onto any enterprise. Traveling allows you to put your research into practice, checking out how people in other cities or countries do what you’d like to start doing. Friends are the most important element though: I always had friends that were creative and passionate about anything to do with the Arts, and it’s important to have a good group of people around you to bounce off ideas and get quick feedbacks on big or small decisions.
You empower others through the cultural centre Palazzo Monti. What are the most significant challenges you have felt whilst creating this space? And what have you learned from them?
The biggest challenge is to be able to improve on a daily basis, providing day by day a better experience to both residents and visitors. We a non-profit that runs on very little funds, and we invest every single cent back into the Palazzo. We have changed so much in the past years, and I can only feel excitement thinking where and how we will be in the next 5 years. Definitely the most important lesson is that independence can only bring quality: I’d rather work harder and with less means yet achieving what I have in mind, than having to take a direction that I don’t feel mine just to please whoever provides funding and support.
I have a few simple questions. You can reply with just a word or a couple of words.
If I say blue, what comes to your mind?
Grandmas and grandpas