When did your career start off?
|It’s hard for me to pinpoint when and how I became an artist painter, all I say is that I agree with the notion that an artist painter is born and not made. I was born to a family of artists. My father, the late Agostino Camilleri was the well-known sculptor, mostly renowned for statues in papier-mache and sculptures in stone. Such sculptures may be admired at Ta Pinu Sanctuary, which contain around 1800 different designs including also the apostle group in stone.|
|I am a member of a family full of artistic talents. One can mention my brothers Alfred and Michael, who are sculptors and statuarians, and Mario who is an established gilder.|
|In my early years at the Primary School and later at the Gozo Seminary, I used to sketch all over my copybooks. Schoolmates used to ask me to paint their village saint for them, in exchange for their Mathematics homework. I still remember a Mr Galea from Gharb, the first teacher who asked us to add colour to some geometric shapes on the blackboard. I was also encouraged to have lessons in music. This was partly on insistence of my mother Francesca, who was a music-lover herself. I was taken to Mro Anton Meilaq, who was well versed in lacework design. Actually , I was more fascinated by his designs rather than with his music instructions. All this took place before reaching the age of fourteen. Throughout all this time, I also spent hours helping my father in his studio and also doing some of my own paintings.|
|My artistic talents got a boost when the Italian artist painter Profs. Gian Battista Conti was busy painting the dome and vault of St George’s Basilica in Victoria in the 1950s. I used to find time to go and watch him at work in a room on the first floor of the Sacristy, which he had converted into a studio. Once he asked me to fetch him the short stick with which he sometimes used to support his hand while painting. Those were the very first words he spoke to me and the beginning of a very fruitful apprenticeship under his guidance. At one point my lessons were shifted to Room No.1 at the Duke of Edinburgh Hotel where he lodged while in Gozo.|
|Some time later I was introduced to another church artist painter, Profs Giuseppe Briffa from Birkirkara. My father helped Briffa get the commission to do some work in Kercem parish church. I also got a lot of encouragement and inspiration from this painter. Later on I also studied under the tuition of Giuseppe Caruana and Toussaints Busuttil.|
|In 1960 I got the Diploma from the Press Art School (London). I proceeded to further my studies at the Accademia di Belle Arti Pietru Vannucci of Perugia, whereby I was instructed in a number of artistic branches under the guidance of established and renowned Italian artist, amongst whom Profs. Gerardo Dottori. While studying in Perugia, I also travelled along to Rome to get lessons in art at the studio of the artist Paolo Citraro.|
|Upon finishing my studies in Italy, I was posted as an art teacher in the Education Department. Eventually I offered my resignation from the Education Department due to the numerous commissions for private entities. This was a step towards the continuation of the number of commissions of artworks started way back two decades before which have never ceased till today.|
|What is your preferred medium?|
|Since I studied all media in art I do not stick to any particular medium. I continually experiment with different media with the result that sometimes a painting would be composed of mixed media.|
|Is there any particular time during which you paint?|
|Daylight is the usual time for my work, however my time is dictated by the load of work.|
|What can you say on the subject “the artist and the money??|
|Art belongs to the artist’s individual self. Money is more objective. Hence, both art and money are incompatible, although ironically artists’ self expression is developed by means acquired by money.|
|Are there any contemporary Maltese artists whom you admire?|
|Artists can never be compared with one another. Each artist expresses his own style. Like history art can never be developed to its maximum because it evolves as the artist grows older.
Hence, each artist belongs to his own domain and his works are always subject to different interpretations.