A Crusade of Art

Born in the quiet village of Mtarfa at The Royal Air Force Hospital on the 14th of October 1975, to Anthony Salerno serving in the Royal Air force at that time and his humble housewife Carmen Salerno is the talented artist ARTHUR SALERNO.

From a very young age, Arthur started to develop a love for the arts. He was inclined to
draw cartoon characters and making them come to life with his brilliant natural born artist hands.

Soon his peers started making sweet requests which he delivered, feeding the now growing hunger inside him to draw and create as he slowly emerged into a promising artist.

When asked when did he truly discovered his talent, Arthur told us that this happened at the tender age of nine, when he came across a box of clay and he instantly started creating. His first sculpture is The Horse Head, which he says is his all-time favourite accomplishment. This made his parents realize the artistic abilities hidden in their son and they encouraged him to develop more ideas making him express himself in a series of paintings which was quite outstanding for a nine- year-old boy.

In the absence of Internet at the time, Arthur started getting all kinds of artistic inspirations from all the books he could lay his hands on. Michelangelo Buonarroti, Leonardo Da Vinci, Raffaello Sanzio, Botticelli and all the Art Genius making up the beautiful era of the Renaissance, but his greatest attraction was Michelangelo. This also led him on to experiment with charcoal, red chalk, water s, acrylics and oils.

When Arthur was at the critical age of 13, tragedy struck him and his family. His beloved mother lost her battle with Leukemia leaving him and his little sister so prematurely in life. At this time, his love for Art was interrupted by extreme pain and grief…not sure if he could understand death as he felt the only aspect that made his heart beat, slowly drift away into total darkness. From that sad day on his life was never the same and even he thought that the love for Art had left him…but he soon discovered it was only sleeping in his now numb subconscious being.

The absence of wanting to paint and create lasted three long difficult years. He goes on to explain how this was a very difficult time for him entering adolescence without his mother and his true companion, his beloved Art.

It all resumed when he enrolled at the Tarġa Gap Art School known today as MCAST where he met his teacher Mr Anton Calleja, the nephew of the Maltese renowned sculptor Anton Agius. This was Arthur’s resurgence as he instantly developed a good relationship with his tutor to which he was greatly inspired and awakening his life-long passion for Art. Arthur recalls how Mr Calleja re-ignited his love of Art as he watched with great admiration the artist working on model sculpture. It was then that he began his journey into sculpture leading him to choose one of the most studied topics in history, The Human Anatomy. He then started studying scaling and casting and all the steps to create a beautiful sculpture and bringing it to life with every dent and scale.

Three years into this, Arthur was admitted to the School of Art in Valletta and also took one- to-one lessons with his tutor in Mtarfa, where he found it was possible to specify his attraction to the Anatomy of the Human body.

As time went by, he also developed an attraction for the Baroque Era, making frequent visits to Malta’s majestic Cathedral of St John and the beautiful works of Mattia Preti adorning the Baroque churches of Malta. Arthur recalls that at that time his youth was immersed in a world where nothing else mattered but his adoration for this great passion. Mesmerised with the Caravaggio masterpiece which needs no introduction, his mind could not get enough of all the beauty lying in the Fine Arts Museum of the Maltese Islands.

Arthur’s highlight and dream came true with the birth of his adorable son who he named after two of his idols, Michelangelo Buonarroti and Michelangelo Merisi. Michelangelo is now 5

years old and he is a new inspiration to his dad. Arthur has also created lovely paintings making his precious little son a live jewel in his paintings which he tells us will last forever.

Arthur is also very well-known for his work on the ‘living canvas’ as he calls it, for he is now an established Tattoo Artist and has been doing this for twenty years.

When asked what his artistic future plans are, Arthur told us that he is currently working on some interesting pieces which will be displayed in an exhibition portraying his undying love for the Baroque Era and also Modern Art .

From innocent ful cartoons to beautiful pieces of sculpture and an array of paintings coming out from a different important era to everything else that lets him express himself as a true artist and a human being.

This article is dedicated with great fondness to his adorable son Michelangelo Salerno Seguna.

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