Italian artist Marco Gallotta made his Miami debut with his “Sea” series installation at Kimpton Angler’s Hotel South Beach. We caught up with him recently as he walked the streets of New York to talk about his incredible pieces. Here are some highlights from our conversation.
You did a live-art demonstration of your work at Kimpton Angler’s Minnow Bar. Do you ever get nervous creating your pieces in front of other people?
“No, I don’t get nervous because…when I work I kinda like zone out. Whenever I’m doing my work, I’m [concentrating so much that] I don’t even see what’s going on around me, but then I step out. So, I would pause and talk to somebody, showing them what I was doing. Also, my technique, it’s very I would say dangerous to get distracted because I use a scalpel, like to cut into paper so it’s kind of like you don’t want to get distracted. And I’ve done it other times. I’ve done events with brands like Chanel or ‘Vogue’ where they had me do like a live demo during some of their events. So, it’s always fun. Actually, I love being around people. So, I don’t mind it at all.”
How would you describe your particular style? It’s got a very fluid, liquidy feel to it.
“Fluid is definitely [a word] that I would use to describe my style. I’m inspired by nature so in this particular case, as with all the pieces that are at the hotel, they’re all inspired by water so that’s why the lines are very organic, very fluidy. And like I said, I use a knife. It’s almost like I’m drawing with the knife so whatever comes out in that moment, I do. So, it’s fun.”
Red Diver, Sea series
Besides the scalpel, what other tools and assets do you like to use?
“So, I use a lot of other elements especially when I’m in my studio. I use colors. I use a lot of inks. I also work on photographs. Most of them are photographs that I take. I work on recycled paper, like old books or magazines and also, I work with [beeswax]. So, like I melt the wax and I cover like parts of my works and then I layer them. The wax gives the layers and the paper a different texture. It almost has a leather feeling to it so I love it because it gives it like a three-dimensional quality which then, when you layer it, it looks really like deep. The pieces have a depth that I love.”
How many layers are usually in your pieces?
“It depends. Some are just one layer and then probably the one with the most layers probably has five or six layers and those are the really intricate ones. So, what I do sometimes, I start with the cuts that are really wide so you have a lot of open spaces, like negative spaces, and then they become gradually smaller so that the top layers are really fine cuts. You can see that in the back there’s more space.”
Divers, Sea series
Creating art is a very physical labor. How do you prepare yourself physically for your craft because I would imagine you’d get tired at some point with your specific style?
“My technique definitely involves a lot of arm strength because when I cut, [there’s] also the repetitive movements. I do physical therapy just for my art because one time my shoulder was really hurting and so I went to see a doctor and basically it was because I was doing the wrong movements so I keep going and I find myself finding the right posture. Also, sometimes I work with materials that are thicker, so it takes more strength. I’m experimenting with leather… I’m probably going to need a lot of physical therapy after that.”
I notice that your work is not just limited to art galleries, but you also have a wood flooring line with DELBASSO Parquet. Is the idea to expand your work into the home design space as well?
“Yes, I do a lot of collaborations with brands. With DELBASSO [it] was the first time I actually created a product because I’ve worked with other brands but it was mostly for events, like for shows and for other things but never for an actual product that goes out to the consumer. And so yes, that’s the idea. I would love to create more of those collaborations and get more into the design world.”
Do you actually use any of these types of products in your own home?
“Yes, the parquet that you just mentioned, I’m gonna install that probably like after the summer [since] we’re going to Italy this summer. We’re gonna pick the new finish and we’re gonna install it September or October.”
So, do you have a home in Italy as well?
“Yes, I have a home and a studio there where I spend my summer with the family.”
Both New York and Italy are very big art hubs. Is there any reason why you decided to live in New York versus pursuing your career full time in Italy?
“So, the reason why I came to New York [is] because I fell in love. My wife, she’s a New Yorker. We met in Italy and so I came to basically be with her, but I have to say I love New York. That’s the thing, I love Italy and New York but different ways. I love the energy in New York, it gives me a lot of inspiration for my work, a lot of opportunities for what I do. In Italy, it’s different. I love to go there just to enjoy the summer and be with friends and family and to get time to create more pieces there in a different setting with different, like, inspirations. But New York is New York. There’s no other city like New York.”
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