01 February 2012

Seven Questions To - Santy

With this interview we wish to inaugurate a monthly date with a contemporary printmaking artist.
February is the turn of Santy, an internationally acclaimed street artist who is also heavily involved in the world of print.
We loved hearing his irriverent and smart point of view on the international printmaking situation, with a particular focus on his home country, Italy.

Santy, born in 1979 in Naples and currently living in Milan, has been involved in art since his teen years; he attended art school and then the Academy Of Fine Arts Of Brera and during those years he began his adventure in the world of writing, becoming one of the protagonists of the italian scene of the nineties.
Besides painting, a subject in which he graduated with honours, and street art, the artist has a preference for printmaking, with particular interest for screen printing and woodcut.
His poetics have roots in italian folklore, modernized and revisited from a fairytale-like and grotesque point of view, and highly influenced by mysticism and its impact on everyday's life.

Work for Italian Roots, solo show at ProjectB Gallery in Milan, 2008.
The link between printmaking and street art is not so obvious.
How and when did you find out you were interested in this form of art?

Since I was a kid I was drawn to the printed image and the meticulousness of the work needed to achieve the desired result.
During my studies at the academy of fine arts I learned how to obtain those effects that I had always admired and I grew fonder of this diversified and extensive world.
The planning stage of the image, the relation with the materials, the seriality of the product, and finally a work that comes alive from the relationship between the drawer/engraver and the printer got me more and more involved in an expressive form that, for the aforementioned reasons, is more articulate than just a drawing.

Are your prints influenced by street art and/or the other way round?
How do you complement the two activities?

They are two aspects of my artistic production and in both cases the approach and the poetics are the same.
I often like to bring the compositional and formal typologies of a field to the other, creating a further effect of commixture.

What are your favourite methods of printmaking?
I find all methods fascinating, but etching and xilography are definitely between my favourite methods.
I wish I had the possibility to work with lithography, technique that I find amazing but that sadly is almost completely gone in Italy.
I always try to mediate between my ideas and the peculiarity of the process, to achieve a graceful result where the choice of the technique makes sense in respect to what it depicts.

What is the aspect that you prefer about printing?
I love everything about this world, from the contact with the materials to the sequential methodology that leads to the result.
I like finding intentionally the linearity and the uniformity in the seriality, however relative may be talking about uniformity in printmaking.
At the same time I am very stimulated by the creation of monotypes and mixed technique works, in which chalcography is combined to collages or painting, involving the matrices too.

What and/or who influences your prints?
As a contemporary artist, free from the need of following the traditional forms of the genre, I gather the inspirations that can stimulate my creative process from several areas, not exclusively the artistic ones.
Many great artists that have loved printmaking and have contributed to its flourish marked the development of my career.
Among them I want to remember Albrecht Dürer, for the care he put in the aspect of the composition, Francisco Goya and Salvator Rosa, for the allegorical characterization of their protagonists, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, for the charm that his arcane style generated in me as a teen, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Emil Nolde, for the instinctiveness of their approach, and Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec, for the ability to subordinate daring chromatic choices to the power of his distinguishing sign.
Among the less known I admire Jim Flora, who, thanks to his experience with xilography, sowed the seeds for the birth of many of the graphic trends of the second part of the nineties, starting before many others to work with his personal style on the relationship between popular image and printmaking.

How do you think printing will evolve?
Difficult to say, the present here in Italy is not too bright.
Dishonest art dealers and episodes of forgery have contributed to make the public fall out of love with this genre of art.
While abroad many young printmakers manage to have a fair success, italian collectors often prefer to buy a drawing than a print, even at much higher prices, as they believe that the non-uniqueness of it may lower its value.
In my opinion, this reasoning is senseless because creating a print is way more complex and meticulous than making a drawing, and also because a print is often the hard work of two people, the engraver and the printer.
Another limiting factor is the low number of print studios in this country.
Additionally, many of these, due to the lack of business activity, keep their rates too high and fail to entice young artists to experiment.
Fortunately, browsing the Internet, one can realize that worldwide printmaking is alive and kicking.
I also believe that the most daring experimentations come from abroad because, even if only subconsciously, Italy is still too tied to the rules of classical printmaking and is skeptical at the thought that a sheet a paper is still able to provoke emotions in the era of sliced animals in formaldehyde.

Can you tell us something about your next printmaking project?
I have some already completed projects that I am not going to reveal yet.
One of them is a folder that comprises more than thirty xylographic prints: sadly, because of the current situation of the italian printmaking scene and the difficult economic moment, its introduction has been postponed, but it will be exhibited soon in a proper context.
I make screen prints, often mixted with collage and painting, on my own, and for what concerns chalcography, I always collaborate with Daniele Upiglio, one of the few italian master printmakers remaining, with whom I am working on a new series of etchings about gambling.

Work for Italian Roots, solo show at ProjectB Gallery in Milan, 2008.

 Work for Italian Roots, solo show at ProjectB Gallery in Milan, 2008.
Desire, drypoint, 2011.
Dimensions: 25  x 35 cm.
Guida In Stato Di Brezza, drypoint, 2011.
Dimensions: 25  x 35 cm.
Life Is Not Easy, drypoint, 2011.
Dimensions: 25  x 35 cm.

 My Generation, acrylic paint, aquatint and etching, 2011.
Dimensions: 80 x 120 cm.

1 comment:

Post a Comment