When Fabio Dal Boni became inspired to create art in 2017, he set out in search of the perfect surface — a surface that would help recapture the extraordinary experience he says he had in the afterlife.
Paper didn’t work for him, and neither did marble or bronze, but finally he found that aluminum offered something closer to the “incredible” reds, blues, yellows, greens and more, all merging into white, he hoped to discover again.
After Dal Boni’s heart stopped beating in 2015, he says, he was reunited with his father, Sergio Dal Boni, living out his father's life of adventure and meeting his heroes, before coming away with a newfound appreciation of life and the beauty around him each day.
After that, he began growing a collection at AlexArt International Art Gallery Sarasota, which was founded by his wife, Alexa Scanziani, in 2016 after the couple came to Sarasota from Milan, Italy.
Yet it wasn’t until August 2023 that he decided to go public with his story through a book, “An Extra Life: 8 Minutes in Heaven with My Father.”
In the book, Dal Boni recounts how he lived his life believing he was “invincible” and a “superman,” until a widowmaker heart attack led to him being rushed to the hospital.
A tearful Scanziani recalled watching as the graph representing his heart activity grew flat and she was led from the room. She calls what happened next, when the cardiologist returned and told her he was OK, “a miracle.”
Since then, Scanziani said, Dal Boni has been seeking to recapture what he saw during that time.
"He's very happy that he found this medium with aluminum, and people love what he does," she said.
Dal Boni’s works begin as photographs. Using measurements from the images, he will create a painting on aluminum, infusing the paint onto the metal at a high temperature so that the metal retains the image.
His images frequently feature scenes of the outdoors and the natural world, one being a view of light filtering down from the top of Antelope Canyon in Arizona. He says the place helps capture the energy that defined his experience with his father.
“The communication was all energy and spiritual, no movement, no sound, nothing, in this white light; all serenity and celestial happiness,” he said.
He says this sense of serenity gave him a newfound understanding of the value of time: that it includes appreciation of sights like the movement of the tide, clouds and sun on the beach.
“We live our life maybe looking for something extraordinary. … We are focusing on the details of every single day we have in front,” he said. “If you don't have the clear mind to see what kind of beauty is in all the ordinary stuff, you miss the value of the time.”
Ian Swaby is the Sarasota neighbors writer for the Observer. Ian is a Florida State University graduate of Editing, Writing, and Media and previously worked in the publishing industry in the Cayman Islands.