(The following is an English translation of the original Italian interview.)
LC: You live and work in Basilicata, but you are of Neapolitan origin, is that right? In what town were you born?
RB: I live and work in Basilicata, and in Basilicata I was born. On November 22, 1971, in Ferrandina, a very beautiful Renaissance town lying on a hill of the Materano*, my very sweet mother brought me into the world. I am not of Neapolitan origin, but to Naples I am very tied. It was in that warm, colorful place that I got my degree in architecture, and it was there that I began my artistic journey. The poems in dialect that I have written are an homage to Naples. For about 9 years I have lived and worked in Episcopia (province of Potenza), a stupendous Medieval hamlet in the middle of the Pollino National Park.
LC: Tell us something about your childhood.
RB: Mine was a serene childhood. I was a very shy, reserved child, but I was always surrounded by friends. I grew up in the love of a family that was humble but incredibly rich in feelings. I was the third of four children; my father was a blue-collar worker, my mother a housewife. Without question it was my father who transmitted to me my passion for travel and for art. He was an outstanding carver; with a piece of wood he could create anything. Unfortunately he passed away this year, leaving an unfillable void.
LC: That you are an artistic person is a very obvious fact. When did you become aware of your artistic potential? Or is it an awareness that you had from the beginning?
RB: Frankly, I never considered myself an artist. Painting and poetry for me are “attimi di sfogo” (“moments of release”**). They allow me to unleash all of my tensions, my torments, my anger, my love; they are a concentration of all of my emotions. If art is all that, then I am an artist.
LC: Of the three arts in which you are expert — painting, poetry, and architecture — which of the three manifested itself first?
RB: “Expert” is too big a word; it doesn’t represent me. Perhaps it would be better to say “interested.” I have written poetry and painted out of passion since adolescence. Architecture followed later.
LC: Which of the three do you feel most strongly? Are you “more of a painter,” “more of a poet,” or “more of an architect”? Which of the three do you feel that in your soul you truly are?
RB: In painting and poetry I don’t have to answer to anyone. Therefore I can give free sfogo to my imagination and my unconditional feelings. Through poetry and painting, I interpret and represent that which is around me from my totally personal point of view. I don’t think I can expend all of this to my work. I work in architecture and internal design. In my work I interpret and try to represent, with my every intervention, the point of view of the client. My motto in architecture is, “La materia prende forma dall’anima di chi dovrà viverla.” (“The material takes its form in the soul of the person who will have to live it.”)
LC: “Materia” in the sense of the physical materials, or “materia” in the sense of the philosophical concept?
RB: By materia I mean the object, the house, the furniture, and the form that they will have to assume or become. Obviously, the form that the materials take should mirror the soul and the desires of the person who will have to use them, therefore live them.
LC: Tell us a little about your current activities.
RB: I think one has already figured out from my previous responses that I occupy myself with architecture for work and for passion, and with painting and poetry for passion only. I have showcased my paintings in Italy and beyond continuously since 2008, with some success. Also in 2008 I decided to publish my poetry on the website Scrivere. I had some success, and I had a means of meeting other people who share this passion of mine, which materialized in the publication, together with other authors, of two books: “San Valentino 2009,” published in 2009, and “Addio Alda,” published in 2010. In 2009 I participated with one of my poems in the compilation of the anthology, “Una poesia per l’Abruzzo.” The proceeds of the book were donated as a benefit to an orphanage in L’Aquila. In 2012 I participated, again with other authors, in the compilation of another anthology, “Poeti di ...Versi (Vol. 2).” In 2013 I published some of my poems, together with other authors, in the book, “Viaggi Di Versi,” which was reviewed by Elio Pecora.
LC: You one said, “La mia idea di architettura è molto simile a quella di un poeta, di un artista, di uno scrittore.” (“My idea of architecture is very similar to that of a poet, of an artist, of a writer.”) Can you give us an example of your approach to an architectural problem that you would confront in a different manner than a “normal architect” who doesn’t have the same artistic sensibilities?
RB: My idea of architecture, like I said earlier, is like that of a poet or artist, the difference being that the artist represents his or her own world from a personal point of view. The architect should represent and interpret the point of view of the customer (within the boundaries of decency). The architect’s skill lies precisely in her ability to understand the taste and the desire of the client who stands before her. This is what renders my participation different from that of someone else. Probably this is what makes me different from my colleagues.
* = The Materano is a regional park in Basilicata. The full name is Parco archeologico storico-naturale delle Chiese rupestri del Materano, but it is also called Parco della Murgia Materana. (L.C.)
** = Sfogo is a wonderful, untranslateable word. It means a venting, a letting off of steam, an outburst or eruption. In this case, naturally, it refers to the release of pent-up creative energy. (L.C.)