The powerful drama-filled paintings of Jules Maidoff adorn the walls of private and public art collections worldwide. A foreign local, Jules grew up in the Bronx, and moved to Florence, Italy in 1973, to pursue his passion for art. He is the co-founder of SACI, Studio Arts College International, and has held over 60 solo exhibitions throughout Europe. At the age of 86, he continues a prolific artistic career as a painter and acclaimed patron of the arts.

“Florence changed my life.”

In his painting studio at home we chat about art, inspiration and his current musings. Surrounded by paintings archived chronologically from the 1950’s to the present, Jules sits reflectively on a swivel chair, chewing on an unlit Cuban cigar, in front of his latest work “The Last Leap”.

What inspires you to create? The delightful thing about living in Europe is the totally diverse culture, language, architecture, food and the traditional way of doing things. It’s always stimulating. Eighty percent of what inspires me comes from before I was an adult—the elderly, cousins, how we formed and tested friendships, growing up in NY, my father… My father urged me to draw when I was five. He gave me a big pile of yellow paper and I thought art was a very natural way of spending my time.

What attracted you to your studio? The space was inside and outside. I’ve always had a studio where I live. 

What are your workspace essentials? Classical music on the radio, the right chair and my easel. An iron-maker made the easel I designed. I have two, so if I have a big picture I can use both. 

How many pictures do you work on at a time? Typically 3 to 4 pictures. 

What’s on your Instagram? Pictures of my granddaughter, pictures of my paintings, things from my house and an occasional video. 

What’s on your nightstand? Pens, medicine boxes, Vicks VapoRub, scissors, comb, eyeglasses, radio and a Sicilian sculpture. 

Which artwork do you most value? “The Embrace” I painted it in 1980, it opened up new years of discovery. 

What object do you most value? A crazy Asian god that I bought somewhere from South East Asia when I was 23 maybe 25. 

What are you reading? “The Complete Works of Arthur Conan Doyle” 

A favourite place to visit in Florence? Museo Marino Marini

What was your last online purchase? A pair of white sneakers.

PS: Thank you Jules for sharing your passion for art!