I studied abroad in Rome in 2016 and at the time I was a marketing major at the University of Denver in Colorado. My intention before coming abroad was to someday become a marketing guru after graduation. I still ended-up graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree Marketing in 2018. I did not however, become a marketing executive like I originally thought. I became an entrepreneur. I now run my own studio, Dominique Italiano Studios. The course, Sketching Rome with Fabio Barilari was both the catalyst and inspiration that changed the course of my future.
I remember signing up for Sketching Rome with Fabio because I have always loved art. I assumed at the time it would be a classroom-based course. While there were lessons about art history, Fabio brought our small group into the city and showed us how art is so much more than what’s in the museums of Rome. From the people to the buildings, hidden corners, markets and everything in-between, he taught us that art lies in everything you see.
When we went to a new place in Rome and I opened my sketchbook, the world around me opened up too. I didn’t just sit and see, I could smell, hear and feel everything around me. I fell so in love with the practice of bringing my art supplies out into the public, that I spent a good amount of my free time walking around Rome and drawing anything where I could find a place to sit down. Total strangers would stop and sit with me as I drew and I ended up making wonderful new friends that I still talk to today.
I’ve heard people say that the biggest culture shock when returning from abroad is seeing how your ordinary life feels compared to your experience. I found that was especially true for me. I found myself continually daydreaming about my time in Rome.
Upon graduating school, I started a job selling art in an art gallery in downtown Denver. Yet I longed for the feeling and freedom of drawing and creating that I had in Rome. Therefore I quit my job and opened my own studio where I create and sell original and commissioned artworks.
Fabio was the best art professor and most influential teacher I ever had. He taught me how to see life as art and how to capture it at any moment. I still carry a pen and drawing pad with me every where I go. Sketching Rome connected me to my surroundings, and opened-up for me a whole new perspective and way of life.