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Interview with artist Damiano Fasso

Damiano Fasso was born in 1976 near Vicenza (Italy). After graduating in 1999 in Literature at the Università Cattolica in Brescia, he got a second degree in 2011 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice. He lives and works in Treviso (Italy). He works with several media, mainly with painting, photography and video-art, but considering every technique useful to his projects.

His artworks deal with the idea of uncertainty, danger and precariousness that pervade contemporary society: his paintings are often made of dangerous or uncommon, industrial materials, such as gunpowder, poisonous chemicals, plastic; the subjects are reminiscent of pop and japanese funny icons, such as dinosaurs, skulls, astronauts, but then convey ambiguous messages through their materials and through the japanese/chinese scripts, while the surfaces look like videogame screens. We had a conversation with Damiano.



Damiano:  What brought you to my art?

There is a japanese copy/text used on your art. 



Damiano: What did strike you most?

It gave an impression because it is abstract in fusion combination, made people question what your message is about. Recency of the subject in the art is important. The recent use is low definition human (mostly shapes) with hollow eyes, viruses and guns, pills and symbols of death.

Yet the foreign characters just gets someone guessing. You seems to be attempting some kind of 'hide and seek' with the viewer.



“Yes, I use Chinese/Japanese scripts in my artworks; they seem to fluctuate as if they were on a screen, because I get my inspiration from videogames, manga and advertising scripts; I also paint on transparent plastic surfaces, instead of the more common canvas, so those texts really seem to float on a videogame screen. In western contemporary imagery, character texts are often used for commercial purposes, and they possess an aura of technological modernity. 

Oriental writings have a double -very powerful- impact on the observer, because they convey messages and at the same time they are pictorial, decorative symbols. In my artworks I use those texts to create a strong contrast with the subjects; these are inspired by pop culture, icons and shapes, and their positive messages, while the texts reveal another point of view, through negative messages about fear, danger, mortality: what comes out is a puzzling and somehow ironical contrast, that leads the viewer to reflect on this ambiguity, and on the ambiguity of modern life as a whole. It is a complex system, in which the paintings can be viewed at different levels of reading : a funny and merry pop imagery, the unusual materials (industrial such as plusch or polyethylene, even dangerous such as gunpowder or toxic chemicals) and the ambiguity of their writings. In a certain sense, my paintings question about the meaning of pop culture itself”.”


The Crazy Mind: Why are you creating works that focus both paintings and digital artworks?

“Whatever technique I use it doesn’t make a big difference to me. I mean that every medium can be suitable for my purposes, depending on the project i want to develop and the effect it can have on the viewers. Painting and photography are the most recognizable and direct mediums, but I also create videos and multimedia installations. Digital techniques are just one out of many tools, and I use them even for paintings, while going through the creative process. I feel the need to express myself in many ways.” 


When did you start to create digital artwork? What is your process? Do you take a long time to complete?

“Digital artworks came quite early to my attention; my first digital video was released in 2001, and after that I have always kept alternating the pictorial practice and the digital techniques. Digital photography was the latest to be used, as my first photographic studies date back to 2010. In 2017 and 2018 I worked on a series “Another Lonesome Pop Death”, that tried to reflect on the idea of death in our consumerist society and on the status of photography itself. It had great success, so I am now back with a new series, “Another world”, still in progress. 

My starting process is the same for both photography and paintings, that is, I have a whole vision of the finished artwork. I get a strong impression of its colors, shapes and the characters it can involve; then I start to work on it, and for digital artworks this means to choose their subjects: I love shooting robots and small toys, they recall our childhood, but are also powerful symbols for human beings. I often create actual sets, like on a miniature movie: small tools, guns, small hearts or flowers, or everyday objects. After the shooting phase, there is the post-production step, in which I digitally add the scripts and choose the format and the support. The time it takes strongly depends on the project: in some cases it's very quick, in some others it can take a very long time, especially if shooting a video.” 


How do you know you're ready (or your artwork is finished)?

“I simply feel it: when it gives me the same impression and emotions I felt in my initial vision, then I know it's ready. It happened very seldom to me to revise a previously completed artwork.”

Do you incorporate feedback or comments given to your art? 

Of course, a good artist should always listen to his audience’s feedback, in order to improve communication. I usually don’t say too much about my artworks, preferring to listen to people’s opinions instead: everyone can see a particular aspect, because everyone has its own personal experiences. What matters, is that the power of communicating remains intact: a good artwork is the one that says something (whatever it may be) to the audience.


A lot of people say "life will never be the same again". As an artist, do you think COVID19 will change anything (at all)?

For sure, Covid-19 will change a lot. In history, there are moments that mark an epoch, so to say. It happened on September 11th and it’s happening now. This moment led us all to reflect on what is really important for us, and on the reliability of information (the problem of “fake news” affects our possibilities of knowledge).
As for the art world, this will maybe lead to rethink the whole system, starting from our ways of seeing exhibitions, and reconsidering what artworks are here to stay and what are not.

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Interview with artist Damiano Fasso Reviewed by JaamZIN on 7:03:00 AM Rating: 5
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