I first saw Mattia’s work was two years ago at Rare Art Festival in Brooklyn — I picked up a card that happened to be made by him. Last year, he and I got connected on Twitter and started chatting about art. And then, I invited him to join one of the panels at the Pop Culture and Blockchain event.
I have never met him, and yet — in a way that I felt I have — through his work. What is interesting about his work is something mysterious and suggested conflict between art and technology. Being a fan of his work, I was delighted when Mattia agreed to talk with me about his career, from how he got started in crypto art to AI, and his upcoming exhibitions.
Please tell me about yourself — what’s your story, and how did you become an artist?
It all started at the end of the 90s when I made my first visual art creations, and I also played keyboards in some local bands. The “visual” part was in support of my music. Then all developed with the first social platforms of the Internet. I started playing around with photocopy machines that I had at work, producing visual pieces using drawings and Xerox copies.
I knew nothing about this technique, but it was somewhat connected to my family history, as my father used to repair photocopiers, and I was fascinated with them.
I began manipulating drawings and images, both digital and analog, reprinting over these visual explorations. After that, I continued experimenting with sound design, and I also began being involved in performance art. Eventually, about two years ago, crypto art began to gain popularity, and this was when I started my path as a crypto artist.
What’s your relationship between you and art / technology?
I always push the limit, using technology as a tool. I found interest in errors and glitches in my way. At this very moment, everybody is doing digital art and crypto art. I do it, in my way, doing pixel art with my rubber stamps, for example. Or I try to trick AI software injecting errors. At last, I think that I’m exploring this relationship even at this very moment. So maybe you’ve to repeat this question every year to find out if I’ve got a proper answer!
Let’s talk about AI. Do you think you give something of yourself as a human to technology like AI and even a copy machine, which might make you less powerful?
I don’t feel in competition with machines. They are like virtual assistants that work with me. So I don’t feel less powerful; instead, I feel more powerful because sometimes we need something “different” in our artistic path, and these tools sometimes help this research.
Do you think blockchain-based art is the new contemporary art?
It’s only a possible output – for me is only one of the possible types of contemporary art. I use to call this “a megaphone for your art.” I still feel some missing connection with real-life artworks. When someone invents something to create, this bridge will be really great and contemporary.
Your work, in many ways, locates extraordinary, mysterious beauty while also suggesting conflict. What was your initial inspiration for creating your first blockchain-based work?
I really want to take people to other places. So far seems that I’ve reached this goal. These conflicts that you see maybe are created between this dialogue that I have with the machines involved during the creative process.
What kind of places? Can you talk more about it?
This is a nice question. I started thinking about this when a friend of mine and an early collector told me that she felt like she was jumping inside my artworks (she was referring to the papercuts). So I don’t know where I want to take people. I only know that these places are different from reality, and this is enough.
What’re you working on right now?
In November 2020, I did my month-long digital residency at Playform, producing 12 new artworks: the Defined Undefined collection. At this very moment, I’m doing a lot of social networking (crypto art is exploded, after that big sale that everybody knows), playing around with generative art, and I’m also exploring 3D and photography, in my way, as always.
Any plans or upcoming exhibitions for 2021?
Yes, I’ve some plans for some virtual things (maybe with Playform one more time, who knows), and also for physical exhibitions, but for the moment is all to be defined. I’m not ready for new collections or art concepts but stay tuned to my social channels, especially Twitter. You’ll be informed soon!
What do you do besides making art?
I watch sci-fi series and movies. I read and inform myself about art and technology. I listen to music, and I’m also trying to restart in that field!
I’m also cooking. In this lockdown year, I’ve been cooking all the time!
If you’re interested in Mattia’s work, please visit his website here.