Stefano Furlani’s original stones have made him famous all over the world as “the artist of the stones”, the one who creates his paintings using the pebble he collects on the beach. Stones that smell of salt. Stones smoothed by the waves of the sea and by time. Apparently formless and worthless stones which Stefano assembles, with skill and creativity, making them real masterpieces. His artistic compositions, with attention to the smallest details, have a soul. By observing them, the gaze loses far beyond the visible. Because Stefano’s works leave room for dreams, speak of life, freedom, sensitivity and poetry, and give a sense of movement. With skill and delicacy, the artist manages to give his stones an idea of lightness and space, which give the imagination wings to fly beyond that sky and the sea that often form the backdrop to his works.
Stefano Furlani: everything comes from a key stone
A carpenter and restorer from Fano, in the Marche region, Stefano started to create his mosaics as a game. It all started on the beach of Saxony, when his son Davide, just three and a half years old, having fun collecting stones of the most disparate shapes, placed them on his father’s bed and united them to give them a shape. Initially, abstract works resulted, which Stefano photographed, but then left on the beach, at the mercy of the sea and passersby.
Then, realizing the originality of his works, he decided to make them immortal, making them paintings. He therefore began to glue the stones on a previously painted wooden base. Whenever he creates, Stefano always starts from a key-stone. That is, what gives him the right inspiration, thanks to which, slowly, the whole creation takes shape.
Original stones, the article on “The Sun”
His works are inspired by different themes: mainly marine landscapes, religion, women, animals. There are also those who reproduce famous paitings such as “Munch’s The Scream”, and those depicting well-known characters such as Gianluigi Buffon, Antonello Venditti, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Sharon Stone. But also others born from the imagination of directors and cartoonists such as the Pink Panther, King Kong and Snoopy. The originality of his compositions has attracted the attention of the famous British tabloid “The Sun”, which has dedicated a large space to the online and paper editions of some of his works.
Stefano Furlani’s exhibitions
Appreciated everywhere, Stefano’s creations haven’t only toured Italy, but have come to Europe and America. In September last year the “original stones” were exhibited for the second time in Matera, known worldwide as the city of stones and designated, in 2019, the European capital of culture. His paintings have also been admired in Germany, France and the United States, at the Joby Potter and Gallery in Truro, Massachusetts. Today we can say that from the beach of Saxony, the “author stones” have come a long way and will continue to go on. It’s the same author who told us he wants to bring his art all over the world,together with his son, with whom everything was born for fun. Let’s get to know him better in this interview.
Stefano, what is your relationship with the sea?
Who, like me, was born in a city like Fano, lives a symbiotic relationship with the sea. I love it, it has always given me a lot, even nice surprises like discovering an art.
What was your first work?
Since when, together with my son, I decided to transform the mosaics that we made on the beach into paintings, I started by bringing home “the Indian chief”, the latest work created on the beach sunbed. It was the first in a long series. From there a real passion was born, which later became a form of art, with the trademark “original stones”.
What is that make your stones special?
Maybe the fact that I can give them a soul, a movement, an idea of lightness. It seems like a paradox, because stones are a static and heavy matter, but it is so.
What do your works tell?
They tell many things. In one of my latest compositions, for example, we see two people turned from the back: a dying man in a hospital bed with a nurse with angel wings next to him. It’s an image inspired by the Coronavirus emergency. A painful experience that I experienced firsthand, because it took my father away.
In an increasingly homologated society, like ours, how important is it to be creative?
In an increasingly social, multimedia world, I like to support the importance of creativity. It’s not necessary to have the latest model of mobile phone or video game to have fun creating something beautiful. Nature itself offers us innumerable ideas to do it. Just look around to find inspiration and also make a difference. My son and I are proof of this.
You have also brought your stones to Matera, which were your emotions?
Matera è una città magica. Ci sono ritornato l’anno scorso, dopo averci esposto per la prima volta nel 2015. È la città dei sassi e non potevano certo mancare i miei “sassi d’autore”. Matera is a magic city. I went back there last year, after having exhibited for the first time in 2015. It’s the city of stones and certainly my “original stones” must be there.
Are you thinking of a new exhibition?
Yes, I am preparing one that I will inaugurate in late August in Sirolo, in the province of Ancona.
“The Sun” dedicated you two pages. What has changed in your life since then?
The article published in “The Sun” was taken up by CNN. This aroused the interest of an American art lover who contacted me and invited me to bring my works to the United States, to his family gallery, where some of my paintings are still on display. I was there sixteen days with my son. Every time I think about it, I repeat that my story looks like a fairy tale: it started as a game on the beach and arrived in America.
Is there a particular place in the world where you would like to bring your art?
Life has already given me a lot, but I don’t set limits. I’d like to take my stones everywhere, continuing to travel the world with my son.
(Images from Stefano Furlani “Sassi d’autore” Official Site)