The young emerging contemporary American Italian artist Massimo Agostinelli who’s been dubbed the next ‘Ed Ruscha’ shares his insights with FAD Magazine as we take a look at his thriving art practice including large scale commissioned works for collectors in New York, London and South Africa.
Massimo Agostinelli grew up in New York, lives in Switzerland but was born in London, where he began his career working as an apprentice printmaker and type setter, soon after he launched the ‘Palindromes Series, 2014’ at 10 Hanover which sold out on the opening night. Spears Magazine
Agostinelli then released his ‘Anagrams Series, 2015’ in New York which was hosted by 3x Grammy Winner Maxwell. Observer Magazine
Your work seems to be based on your apprenticeships in typesetting and typography how do you feel your practice has grown from this beginning?
It’s always evolving but my core fascination with ‘text’ is something that has stuck with me for as long as I can remember. Communication is everything, without it we are lost and text is a natural extension of our language. Living through a digital era like no other has definitely impacted my practice, especially with some of my more recent work.
What is the point of what you do? What are you trying to say / achieve?
I observe and study things no one else pays attention to, therefore I humbly feel compelled to make a series of worthy commentaries. With the eventual hope that a like-minded individual(s) will take note and carry the light on to future generations. If all else fails, at least I’ll have known that I was able to invoke a positive emotion, which I believe has an eternal ripple effect.
Is it important to you that your art practice is self-sustaining?
Yes, of course, but not if it compromises the integrity of the initial thought and overall process. It’s about finding a healthy balance whereby creation avoids destruction unless that’s the intention!
Why do you need words in your work? Most artists have abandoned them.
Just as there is no way to say which is more important, ‘numbers’ or ‘letters’. The same is true in art, each component has unparalleled uniquely independent value. Aesthetic variations impact emotions just like wearing coloured lens glasses can alter one’s mood. But, I believe if “a picture speaks a thousand words then a word speaks a thousand pictures.” Take for example the word ‘LIFE’, I guarantee you the visual images streaming through your mind are very different from mine. Interpretation is expressed subjectively by each viewer’s personal experiences and other social attributes through experiential understanding and to me words help connect fiction with reality or vice versa, it’s a portal to another dimension in one’s imagination not too dissimilar to the way poetry works.
Extremely important but nothing is more paramount than the idea itself. Truth prevails irrespective of material. Although I will say, I do take framing very seriously which is why I work with John Jones.
When did you realize you had to make art?
It’s hard to pinpoint a specific moment in time because it’s something that was always inherently linked to who I am. Fundamentally, ‘art made me’ and when I realized this I had to give back and let it take over.
When will people be able to see your work and where?
I’ll soon be exhibiting the ‘Signs Series, 2016’ at Beers Gallery in London.