Graffiti meet Sculpture.
INSIDE THE METHODS & MIND OF ITALY'S PEETA
How old were you when you were first inspired to start making art? What initially inspired you?
It was 1991. I was 11 when I was first impressed by the huge murals I'd seen during a trip to Barcelona. During the next years, I was going very often to my father's place by train. I discovered other pieces along the train line going from my hometown to his and started taking photographs of them, until I painted my first piece in 1993 at 13.
When did you first start developing your current style?
I started developing it around 2000, before my shapes were more organic.
I was blown away by your work when I stopped in on your show “White Out” that you did along side Alecks Kruz’s “Redemption.” Great stuff. Were you able to make it to Chicago for the exhibit?
No, and I was really sorry about that!
Have you been to Chicago before and if so what stood out?
Yes I have, and I really love the downtown area along Lake Michigan, especially Millennium Park and the "Bean" sculpture.
Your sculptures are outstanding and innovatively break the graffiti fine art line. Due to different sizes and range of detail I’m sure they can take quite a bit of time to execute. Which sculpture has taken you the most time to prepare?
That's difficult to say for several reasons: first, it really depends on the material it is built of and on the method needed to interact with it. Second, I've practiced my skills through the years managing to reduce potential mistakes and to better handle techniques. Also I have collaborators nowadays so I can save a lot of time in respect to some years ago.
I guess the sculpture that took absolutely the longest time was the one I made for Susan Farrel in 2003. It was made with cellulose acetate. My procedure was more or less: first, to draw an orthogonal projection of each piece to perceive the precise cuts of cellulose acetate plates. Following this, the resulting several hundreds of pieces were divided by colour and afterwards joined to each other using acetone.
The entire process was manually executed, using tools such as a hacksaw and file. Also, at that period, being an artist was not my only job. Considering all this, it took me more or less 1 year to complete it. More recently, "Cliquey" PVC sculpture (see picture above) took a really long time. Even if not very big, it is free-standing and absolutely rich in details. In fact, it took more than one month to design and more than four to build it.
What’s the general order of operations when you approach one of your sculpture pieces?
Apart from some rare cases (like the one I've quoted before) when I have been using different materials (like cellulose acetate, bronze, other metals, and resin) I mostly build my sculptures using PVC and following this procedure: I utilize a professional 3-D design program to create my projects. This software allows me to have a 3-D view of the sculpture and, at the same time, virtually cut out all the different surfaces of my sculpture and consider them on a 2-D plane. In this way, I can perfectly understand shapes and sizes of any material that I choose to build my sculpture. Subsequently, I cut the PVC plates and assemble them together. The last step involves coating the PVC surface with a polyester layer to mask imperfections resulting from the building process and to impart singularity to the structure, rather than a collage of components.
You’ve traveled quite a bit inside of your career. What’s an experience or place that really set the mark creatively?
Well, I can't say one but can proclaim a top-three! California in general and the city of Vancouver have both greatly inspired me for their atmosphere, where I really was at ease and so inspired to produce. Also, Paris and its artists have inspired me a lot in the collaborations I've had the chance to establish there.
Your 2-D work is just as subtle and harmoniously chaotic. How do these two relate to one another?
Well...they are two different ways of representing the same thing: one is real and the other fictitious and they are all part of a circle, so one discipline depends on the other and vice-versa. I find paintings are essential to understand shapes that can be reproduced with sculptures; and sculptures are essential to study light and shade effects on volumes to reproduce them on canvas.
With the transition to making art your full time profession, what were some of the obstacles along the way, as well as on the day to day?
Of course to find the right balance between productivity and creativity. Differently from when you do art only for your pleasure, you have to always keep your mind fresh and inspired and sometimes it can be really hard, especially when you are overly busy with other works. Also, business frequently asks you to compromise and sometimes that is difficult to deny for a simple need derived from “self-sustenance.” This is in contrast though with my will to be coherent with my background and my ideas and very often pushes me to reject some benefits in the name of coherence. Additionally, finding the best way to complete what I am asked to, while keeping myself straight with my style and ideology...that is really hard too!
What’s inspired you recently?
Some British graffiti writers who paint pattern pieces inspired by Sacred Geometry and spirituality in general.
Reading any good books at the moment?
Deepak Chopra: SynchroDestiny
Given unlimited funds, what’s one project that you’d enjoy to come to fruition?
Of course to fill the world with big public sculptures.
Who's one artist you’d like to collaborate with, dead or alive, and why?
Joys, from my same Italian crew (http://www.joys.it/). We have painted thousands of times together but I'd like to start a collaboration on sculptures with him and I'd also like to paint a wall with Epokone (http://www.flickr.com/photos/epokone/).
Any big projects your working on or towards at the moment?
At this very moment I am working to produce some works for Scope Art Fair in NY. I'm also preparing some other shows for the upcoming months and several private commissions. One is based on the collaboration with the Italian visual design studio Apparati Effimeri (http://www.apparatieffimeri.com/): with whom I am producing interacting works of art consisting of a piece/canvas/sculpture where three-dimensional visual contents are projected, making the art piece move and live.
Sounds dope! Should we hope to see you back in Chicago anytime soon?
I hope so! I really want to come back.
PEETA's "WHITE OUT" show with ALECKS KRUZ "REDEMPTION" is now on exhibit at MAXWELL COLETTE Gallery from Jan 1st - March 1st. CHECK IT OUT!
by Mike AH Lana
edited by Mark Toriski