Renowned Italian Artist Maria Grazia Repetto Moves To Area
by Janet Grella
Everyone who knows me knows that I’m studying Italian and that I love all things Italian. So when I heard that native Italian artist Maria Grazia Repetto had moved to the area, I just had to meet her and hopefully talk a little Italiano with her.
My husband Michael joined us for dinner at Osteria da Primo, where Carlo and Lindsay made a fellow Italiana feel welcomed. Fortunately Michael was with us, as he served as translator part of the evening (my Italiano has barely made it past Buona Serra, Bongiorno Buona Notte and Ciao!).
Having just returned from two years of painting frescoes for homeowners and businesses in Arizona, Maria settled with a friend in Normandy Park. She joined us for dinner on a recent Tuesday night.
Her journey to our area began 12 years ago when she visited her college-aged son in Seattle. She loved the lushness, beauty and summer weather here.
“I could live here,” she thought.
So she went back to Milano, collected her 12-year old son, procured a visa and moved to Seattle. She spoke no English, and relied on connections with Italian speakers and her young sons to help her open a shop, begin a business and began working her art. Maria Grazia’s training is in the fine work of murals, frescoes, reliefs, stuccoes, oils on canvas, acrylics, watercolors, sketches and portraits. She quickly found herself accepting commissions in Seattle, and soon Boca Raton, and finally Arizona.
One of her fondest memories of a commissioned fresco was with Hedges Winery in Richland.
“I painted a beautiful view of the red mountains with vineyards and orchards and gold colored soft rounded hills of the desert,” she said. “It was painted in a private apartment above the chateau and can be seen by invitation only.”
She spent four months alone in the chateau, “creating, creating and creating.”
“It is sometimes very lonely when you paint frescoes,” Maria Grazia told BTB over prosciutto e melone and carcioffi fritti at Primo.
Another totally modern fresco (which she prefers over rennaisance style) was “The Tower” which includes partial view of Qwest Field in the background (see photo at left).
Here’s a video showing her in action, along with the progression of her work on “The Tower“:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpMZEKyrZps
“It looks completely weird, and I love it.”
She added that she was taught the art of fresco with a ‘modern’ take.
Maria Garcia proudly told us that every woman in her family is an artist, including her mother and sister who live in Italy, a sister in Brazil and another sister in France, plus two nieces. I guess you could call them the “Painting Repetto Women.”
Maria Grazia began the study of frescoes when she was 15.
“At the time I was studying, women were only expected to become secretaries, maids, shopworkers or wives and mothers” (can we infer, like many women of a certain age, Maria Grazia became a feminist?).
After our double espresso and sorbet de limone we did a passegiatta (walk about) of Burien and B/ IAS. Maria Grazia found our notorius ‘naked woman‘ sculpture “very beautiful and it looks like a real woman.” On the other hand, like many Burien-ites she is still trying to figure out ‘The Passage’ and the torn up grounds around it.
Her young sons are now grown into young men, aged 35 and 25 respectfully. Her oldest is with the FAA and his wife is a pilot for Horizon Airlines. Her youngest just graduated from the UW in Physics.
What’s next for our new resident italiana artist? She is shopping for a studio in the area.
“The medium I prefer is olio (oils). But I can’t do olio at home due to the smell.”
She’s currently working in acrylics in her Normandy Park home.
Here are some more videos that showcase her work:
To find out more about Maria Grazia Repetto and see her masterpieces click here.