For some, X marks the spot. For Nicolas Denino, the X is a circle, and the colour is blue. “Blue represents a flow of energy that becomes tangible in different shapes and forms,” says the 37-year-old contemporary artist. “This fluidity represents a vibrant and changing energy, a spiritual energy flowing on.”
The style of an artist is influenced by their philosophy, and Denino credits Zygmunt Bauman for shaping his beliefs. “My work stems from my research and the desire to represent the liquidity of the modern world as Bauman theorized,” he says. The concept of “liquid modernity” was coined by the sociologist to describe the constant change in contemporary society, with insecurity, uncertainty, and individualism as dominant players.
The blue circle is Denino’s signature, emblematic of living beings floating without relating to each other. “I feel that we are unable to connect with others as each of us is our own protagonist,” he says. In his early work, a series called Liquid – 1, Denino painted on the pages of books, “to enhance the antithesis between the printed word and the ambivalence of human relationships.”
Denino was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, and left South America for Barcelona before moving to Italy. While in Milan working in fashion, “I had this constant pull to communicate myself through art.” And so he quit his high-flying job in 2014, and painting became his passion. “I had saved enough money to live two or three years without working,” the self-taught painter explains.
The colour blue is personal for Denino, one he has carried with him since childhood, as his parents had a water bottling company in South America. “For me, blue is synonymous with liquid,” he says. Denino’s blue is particularly vibrant, one he mixes himself. The base is ultramarine to which he adds lapis lazuli raw powder to intensify the hue.
While private commissions continue to be the bulk of Denino’s work, the corporate world has taken notice with Louis Vuitton, Aspesi, and Tod’s requesting artworks for their respective boutiques. Denino’s art can also be spotted at Sorrento’s Maison La Minervetta hotel.
Denino has come to be known as “il ragazzo dei cerchi blu” (the boy of blue circles), and he is constantly sent messages of blue circles from people around the world. “Seems I have canonized the circle and at times, I do feel somewhat trapped, but a simple form like the circle has created a dialogue on a social scale.”