• Katey Ladika

Another RMU Art Collector in the Making

Throughout Europe, it is common to find various artists with vendor stalls set up in close proximity to popular tourist destination as they try to sell their work to the passerby. The visitor can see 5+ painters set up in front of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence or near the Doge's Palace in Venice, but I'm not the type of person to simply buy from the first artist I came to meet.

I needed the work to "speak to me". A concept that soon became an annoyance to my roommate and best friend, Brittany, because I couldn't just "Pick a painting, already!"

Days had passed and we were nearing the final hours of our time in Florence and I had yet to pick up a piece of artwork. Luckily enough, our final day in Firenze was mostly free, which prompted a spontaneous trip by bus up the side of the mountain to Piazza de Michelangelo... the claimed "Best View of Florence."

Mind you, this was, in fact, one of the best views of Florence which made me, the only photography major of the bunch, extremely excited, but while there I got to meet an amazing artist with whom I would purchase my first piece of artwork from.


Buba's beautiful acrylic on canvas painting of the Florence skyline.

Buba was born in Africa but moved to Florence many years prior to our meeting. While looking at the images of Florence he had created and was for sale at the Piazza, I could see the impact his early life in Africa had played into his current works.

Buba's detailed work was the first piece of "street art" that really had spoken to me. I felt I saw some of the same qualities I used in my work in his. As mention above, his work was incredibly detailed. He painted in each window and blade of plant life with such a gesture that you could feel the atmosphere of Florence jumping off the canvas.

He used a monochromatic color scheme in most of his works. The stylized nature reminded me of what photoshop artists today do to .CR2 files. Buba also mixed perspectives in his image which created a nice flow across the piece. His work was something I hadn't yet seen of the artists of Florence so I knew I had to buy a painting to take home.

Buba relied on gestures in his painting to create beautiful movement across his image.

Another unique thing about Buba was that unlike most artists saw in Italy as a whole, he sold both watercolor and acrylic pieces! I, of course, bought the acrylic because of its vivid beauty, but I would have gladly bought many pieces of both if I had endless funds during this study abroad excursion.

After buying my large painting from Buba, I fell in love with the concept of collecting art as I traveled. As I photographer, I often get stuck seeing a city in my own personal world, but by buying art, I am able to see the world as others do. This revelation created another Art Collector at RMU and I soon began my hunt for my art piece from Venice!

Venice was the city that we spent the least amount of time at, but that made one of the biggest impacts on all of us. I knew I needed a painting from here and I knew, given the fact that Venice was literally built on the water, that I wanted a watercolor painting.

After a few friends of mine and I had finished our gondola ride and were making our way back to the Vaporetto to head home for the night, I spotted an artist beginning to pack up his paintings. I knew his work was exactly what I wanted, so I stopped at the booth and began going through his work...

Alfredo Sacco's watercolor of the Venice canals.

His name was Alfredo Sacco and he was born and raised in Venice. Sacco was a sweet man and kindly allowed me to look through his pieces even though it was "closing" time for his stall. He told me stories of living in Venice and helped me chose the image that really "spoke to me". (A man after my own heart!)

I ended up choosing a beautiful 6x4 inch watercolor painting that was matted on a white board.

It showcased Doge's Palace in the background with a silhouetted gondola in the foreground. The colors were blended in a triad color scheme fading from yellow to blue to pink. The light hand of Sacco as he placed the colors in the desired spots added a dream-like effect to the beautiful Venice landscape.

After I had made my purchase, he gave me a small info card in English telling about his life and work as an artist. One of the paragraphs from his info card that I will hold on to as I see this work is as follows:

"It is in order to reach perfection infusing the colors together, he gives up doing the classic Pencil drawing on some of his watercolors. He takes a risk, for this technique is famous for being unforgiving, but the results is outstanding; shapes finally free from pencil lines, nothing but lights, shadows, and colors, mellow and beautiful as they can be."

It was Alfredo Sacco's free spirit that had spoken to me in his image and that I will always remember when I see his work hanging proudly on my wall. More of his work can be viewed at and he can be contacted by email for any inquiries.

Because of my trip to Italy, I became an Art Collector and I'm excited to find my next piece!


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