Accidental Artist: The Search For Meaning

I meet Chilean artist Jose Romussi at his amazing temporary home and studio in Kreuzberg amongst mismatched furniture, reels of cotton and dilapidated teepees. It feels like a childhood dream, Romussi adding to this illusion by hurrying around excitedly like a playful imp, small pieces of glitter shimmering in his beard. At the time of meeting he is busily preparing for his solo exhibition at Art Connect Berlin, “Life Is Beautiful.”

Unlikely Beginnings

Originally studying landscape design in Chile, Romussi became an artist both by accident and necessity after working in his studied field and finding no satisfaction. He explains how “One of my friends in America asked me if I was an artist, so I said ‘Yes’! They asked to see some of my stuff so I went away for a couple of days and started some collages with things like pandas and photographs of my mother. I showed them and they liked it and asked if I wanted to collaborate with them; it went from there.”

Jose RomussiArtist Jose Romussi, in his Berlin studio, with one of his sculptures. Photo: Chris Phillips

What started as such an impromptu beginning soon started to snowball, and within a few weeks Romussi was already garnering recognition. This was strange for him because “After one month doing work I was doing better than my friends who had been studying art for years.” These friends he refers to often worked with paint, a medium which Romussi enjoys but didn’t feel as though he excelled in. Instead the young artist took to experimenting with different materials and collecting images from flea markets in his hometown and creating a scrapbook from his finds.

Amongst these images was the beginning of his now infamous “Dancer” series, a collection of old found photographs embroidered with colorful threads, alluding to movement and breathing a new life into the old images. He says of these, “I didn’t plan to do this, this series of dancers, but lots of people liked them and so I carried on the series and started actively looking for suitable images.” For me their popularity is not surprising, the delicate aesthetic the series portrays now know worldwide.  

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