“Linguaccia” by Mennato Tedesco and “The Awakening Process 2” by Aurelia Mertens

Artists Spotlight: Mennato Tedesco and Aurelia Mertens

María Escalona January 11 2022


Both sharing a passion for painting and human portrait, Tedesco and Mertens are talented European up-and-coming artists that you should take a look at.

Mennato Tedesco is an Italian artist working primarily in-between the line of figurative portraits and surrealist bodies. In an interview with Bidgala, he shared his ongoing journey as an artist.

Tedesco, who has been painting since an early age, made his first oil painting at the age of 10. “It was my puppy's portrait”, he mentions. That’s when his interest in portraiture started, and he hasn’t stopped since.

For him, “creativity has become a refuge to cultivate and follow ideas. As for many artists, [his] studio is a special place (even if a little messy) where [he] can follow [his] thoughts and see them transform into something real.” Starting “from an image, an old photograph, or from the web”, his “paintings are first painted in [his] mind, and that is the most beautiful moment of the whole process.”

“Sospensioni 1” by Mennato Tedesco

The artist’s “pictorial inspiration is mostly the postmodernist art movement of Neo-expressionism", which is known for its intense use of color and figurative subject matter. This international (mostly Europe) art movement made its debut in the late 1970s but Tedesco is now taking it to the 21st century. His paintings often explore and express the human figure and its limits beyond a two dimensional canvas because he is “fascinated by social dynamics.”

During the pandemic, Tedesco started a new series of paintings which started with “Smart Working”, a “contemporary view of a human worker during covid lock down.” The series, which is still in progress, depicts portraits of characters who amplify a marked irreverence towards the behaviors induced by consumerism and contemporaneity. To emphasize his concepts Tedesco likes “to intervene on the canvas by adding various materials such as plastic, adhesive tape, fabrics etc.”

“Smart Working” by Mennato Tedesco

When talking about his experience being an artist in the modern world, where the industry is competitive and harsh, Tedesco comments:

“Promoting my work takes a good chunk of time, but it is necessary to improve the business side to facilitate commissions or sales. The internet and art markets like Bidgala help us offer visibility and connect art lovers, collectors, and homeowners from all over the world, especially when the layout and design are as attractive as on Bidgala! That allows artists to save time to devote to creativity, which is always important and fundamental!”

Lastly, Tedesco offers some advice for emerging artists:

“It is wonderful to follow your inspiration and start from a blank canvas. Let the creative process transform it through the colors. Painting for me is a personal and special moment, like telling stories and living them all and then seeing the result of your thinking. Certainly, it needs practice and experience but you learn the technique. The important thing is to find your own style and cultivate your ideas by trying to create something that carries a message that can reach the viewer. That's what I'm trying to convey with my artworks.”

Mennato Tedesco’s artworks can be found on Bidgala.

Aurelia Mertens

Aurelia Mertens in her studio

“I want to show my soul.”

Performer, painter, and sculptor Aurelia Mertens creates art with a sensible spirit, loving soul, and multidisciplinary approach. She shares her journey as an independent artist with Bidgala.

At 25 years of age and living in Stuttgart, Germany, Mertens has been dedicated to her art for a few years now. Her practice is a mix of disciplines and mediums that result in a magical and unique style that is only hers. She expresses her love for life, nature, emotions, the human figure, and more through surrealist and dynamic paintings, sculptures, videos, performances, and photographs.

Untitled digital collage and original sculpture

Even though she always knew that she was creative and passionate, Mertens never considered herself an artist. Her artistic journey started when she was invited to collaborate and learn with a known artist that specialized in realistic sculptures. With him, she learned to listen to the materials and observe. The process of turning terracotta into perfect human busts was magical for her. It requires absolute concentration and technique, but also patience and sensibility. From then on, Mertens was hooked. She “fell in love with the magic of creating a beautiful thing”, and said to herself “that’s how I want to spend my life.”

After finishing her bachelor in Business Psychology, she kept practicing and learning new techniques like painting and collage and developing her style. She filled her apartment with terracotta pieces, and since then her home has always been filled with art and life.

“La biancheria - Calore siciliano” by Aurelia Mertens

Her style, themes, and medium have changed since she started with sculpture. She went from a realistic and perfectionist style of painting and sculpting, to surrealist imagery to abstract photography and painting, to performance art. Her current body of work is deeply inspired by emotions and the human body. She explains: “I want to paint strong emotions in my way and how I perceive them, what I see. I have this strong will to express the beauty in souls, in people, in objects, what’s inside but through the materials and mediums.” And what better medium than the body?

“With the human body you can express emotions. Emotions that we want, like peace, calm, happiness, and mostly love. I love showing loving souls! But also those that we don’t wish for, like stress, or anger. I want to explore how to manage those emotions: what is like getting back into the flow? Into yourself?”

Mertens’ art wants to express strong emotions

And that is how Mertens started to do performance art. She loves improvisation, dancing, singing, and staying active. As she was posing as the main subject of some of her paintings, she took self-portraits with the help of a camera and used these to create dynamic and sometimes abstract compositions on the canvas. But then, posing became very exciting also: “it’s the most intuitive thing I’m doing right now. It reflects my being, my dynamism, fills up my soul, makes me feel alive. With an audience, a resonance, a strong connection is made that cannot be made with video or with painting or sculpture. In a performance, you create connections with yourself and with the others. In one of her most recent pieces, "Torno a me", Mertens performs on a beach in Sicily inspired by the emotions of hearing the news of a whale dying on a coast in Italy.

In regard to her new style, the artist adds “while I was researching how to develop my performance practice, I felt the need to try new things without any judgment. So I had to set myself free from any rules and conventions.”

“I learned from Alexander von Schlieffen that writing is a manual transformation of one’s mind or thoughts, like a bridge to comprehending, and this gave me the idea to start with an empty canvas, and allow myself to do anything, starting by writing” explains Mertens.

“Even though during that process I was full of doubts and insecurities about what I was doing, I discovered a way of written-painting that I visually really liked. This new technique works with different layers in high contrast colors, made with a spoon and writing with a marker on these layers whatever comes to my mind. The textures can then get very profound, and dynamic. An artist, and friend, Fabrice Ottou saw these abstract pieces and asked me to paint him in this style. The combination of painted realism with an intuitive process that leaves room to freedom resulted in personalized pieces with multiple layers of emotion, and the thoughts I get about the person during the painting session. For me, it’s very interesting to watch a finished piece for a while, because it allows me to understand something new. For example, I already made an interactive performance painting where I involved passersby, and included thoughts and wishes of them into the painting. This painting process is a performance in itself. I am very curious how it will develop and which variations will come up.”

In her last words of love from this interview, Mertens wants to remind readers of the importance of art, and one of its jobs: “to create conversations and connect with one another. We are all out of the same world. I want to show with my artwork that we all belong to the same place and that we all come from the same place. Imagination is the only way to get closer to each other.”

Aurelia Mertens’ artworks can be found on Bidgala.


1. “Neo-expressionism” in My Modern Met. https://mymodernmet.com/neo-expressionism/. Consulted on January 6th, 2022.

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christinamarando21432 replied 3 days, 9 hours ago Really talented artists! Was so interesting to hear more about their work. Love it!
wlande199925 replied 2 weeks, 3 days ago Artists Spotlight!! Even better artists!!!