Alex Varanese, Pavement Loop: My Life As A Teenage Asymptote
Now, late on a Monday, the entirety of Franz Kafka’s short story The Wish To Be a Red Indian:
If one were only an Indian, instantly alert, and on a racing horse, leaning against the wind, kept on quivering jerkily over the quivering ground, until one shed one’s spurs, for there needed no spurs, threw away the reins, for there needed no reins, and hardly saw that the land before one was smoothly shorn heath when horse’s neck and head would be already gone.
That is all.
Valentine’s Day: Always just around the corner. This 15% off will woo your most wooable wooee.
May I also recommend th W.H. Auden poem O Tell Me The Truth About Love, featuring the great final stanza:
When it comes, will it come without warning
Just as I’m picking my nose?
Will it knock on my door in the morning,
Or tread in the bus on my toes?
Will it come like a change in the weather?
Will its greeting be courteous or rough?
Will it alter my life altogether?
O tell me the truth about love.
Kate Pugsley turned some heads with her Chicago Reader cover last week. It’s got that beautiful, understated styling she’s known for and that layer of introspection that makes all her pieces thoughtful – more than just cute.
I love how her pieces’ compositions balance over the canvas. Shapes and figures never seem quite center, and yet the total effect is of equipoise and equilibrium.
Kate Pugsley, My Buddy
Stefano Zattera, Mushroom Travel
Newest Thumbtack Press artist Stefano Zattera has an oeuvre that includes illustrations, comics, painting, graphic design, sculpture, and fiction. Nothing is out of Stefano’s reach. But aside from managing to put together a large body of work, it’s Stefano’s incisive voice that’s helped him gain respect from the pop surrealist collective he founded in his native Italy to shows with venerable galleries around the world. Satirical and political, sometimes as cynical and despondent as it is hilarious, his work (as we said Monday) will take you deep into a world you only think you recognize.
We’re honored and excited to offer Stefano’s work as the newest Thumbtack Press artist. His prints are available here, starting at $19.99. Stefano took the time to answer some of our questions about his process working in different mediums, Italian pop surrealism, and more. Part one of this interview is here.
Obvious question: Who are your heros/role models?
My influences, in a strictly figurative sense are Rene Magritte, Edward Hopper, Norman Rockwell; but also Michelangelo, Caravaggio, and Goya. Regarding the content of my work, I delve a lot into cinema and literature. I like authors such as Charles Bukowsky, James Elroy, John Landsale and directors like Sergio Leone, Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrik. All authors who deal with strong human themes with the expressive strength of popular language.
Obvious question #2: Future plans or goals? What’re you working on now? What do you want to be working on in 10 years?
I’m working on a new series of paintings of the apocalypse. Within this year I’ll have two exhibitions in important Italian galleries that specialize in pop surrealism, Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea in Milan and Gesthalt Gallery at Pietrasanta. For the next ten years I will be thinking about rearing my kids, thinking ab0ut my work is not so long-term.
Obvious question #3: Can you talk a little bit about your process? How do you get from idea to finished painting? What’s your studio like? What music do you listen to in the studio?
An idea can come in various ways. Sometimes a concept comes to mind that I try to translate to an image. Sometimes it’s an image that starts it off (for example a photo of an explosion) and I construct an idea around it. Usually then I make some sort of sketch or maybe a collage in photoshop with photos shot specially or even from the net. Then I start drawing it onto canvas, finally painting it. My studio is full of all sorts of stuff, it looks like a flea-market. I listen to too many types of music to list them.
A word about the the art itself: Your work definitely has a realist side in the sense of the recognizable objects therein (humans! couches! cities!), but then they’re often combined or flipped or associated in ways that are either physically impossible or unexpected – and that’s when the word “surreal” comes to mind. Yes? No?
Yes, I like to make forced coexistence between discordant elements. Collapse reality by inserting surreal situations. Even if, in my work, that which seems apparently impossible, unreal, in reality wants to be a sort of prophecy of what could be in a next future.
Stefano Zattera, Natural Selection
Some of your work is apocalyptic and funny, but some of it is apocalyptic and depressing. Are you worried about the destiny of humankind?
Yes, I am worried. I don’t have a lot of faith in humanity, considering what it’s managed to achieve so far.
There’s that comic aspect in your work. It verges on the semi-political, too, somewhere in the comical/satire/mockery/social commentary bits. “Satire” vs. “mockery” language games aside, do you intend any of your pieces to convey any agendas, whether they’re political or not?
Without a doubt there is a component of social criticism in my work (in Italy I collaborate with a magazine of political satire). That which I try to represent, in extreme synthesis, is a society that manages to spectacularise and monetise even its autodestruction.
Where do ideas come from, anyway?
Ideas come from the necessity to express my point of view about questions I deem important.
Stefano Zattera, Super Bureaucrat
Newest Thumbtack Press artist Stefano Zattera has an oeuvre that includes illustrations, comics, painting, graphic design, sculpture, and fiction. Nothing is out of Stefano’s reach. But aside from managing to put together a large body of work, it’s Stefano’s incisive voice that’s helped him gain respect from the pop surrealist collective he founded in his native Italy to shows with venerable galleries around the world. Satirical and political, sometimes as cynical and despondent as it is hilarious, his work (as we said yesterday) will take you deep into a world you only think you recognize.
We’re honored and excited to offer Stefano’s work as the newest Thumbtack Press artist. His prints are available here, starting at $19.99. Stefano took the time to answer some of our questions about his process working in different mediums, Italian pop surrealism, and more. Part two of this interview is here.
TTP: How was your holiday with your family? Is it a time to clear your head, or see sites, or get away from work?
Stefano: A holiday with two little children is like a double job! But every night, while they slept, I was continuing to write my next novel.
Yeah you work in a number of different mediums! From visual ones (ink, acrylic, watercolor, etc.) to short stories and longer fiction. Some artists say that ideas come to them particularly for specific mediums – can you relate?
I like to use varied mediums as means of expression. These days, apart from painting I illustrate and write. In the past I’ve done comics, photos, videos – generally, the ideas that take form in my head are already linked to their medium.
Stefano Zattera, Cernoshima Park
I don’t know if pop surrealist veteran is a term, but you’ve been active in the pop surrealist world for a while. How has it developed or changed since you got into it?
I started doing pop surrealist painting in the mid-nineties, when this movement was relatively unknown in Italy and very very few galleries understood it. We were just ten or so artists doing it and it was very difficult to get work exhibited. Nowadays the galleries have opened up to this genre but the artists are so many that it’s just as difficult as ever.
Is there anything unique about the Italian pop surrealist scene compared to its companion movements around the world?
In Italy the new pop surrealist scene tangentially reflects what is happening in America and internationally. A lot of attention is being paid to technique within a wide variety of styles but the contents, or substance if you like, tends toward being a little lightweight.
Stefano Zattera, Lunatic Asylum
In all the time Stefano Zattera has been producing paintings, drawings, sculptures, novels, comics, illustrations, and doing graphic design, he’s been nothing short of ultra productive. We’re very excited to welcome him to Thumbtack Press and to have the opportunity to offer prints of some of his huge stock of work.
Stefano Zattera, Invasion
A native of Italy, Stefano has exhibited in some of the biggest comics events in the world and in fine art galleries from Japan to L.A., not to mention publishing numerous books and comics (and books of comics), curating shows, and starting a collective called Delirio House that features work from artists similar to himself, “suffering from a still unknown disease which manifests as a symptom rather curious: the irrepressible urge to produce,” and who show all over the place too.
We could do run-on sentence after run-on sentence about him. His work gets weird, colorful, and detailed right off the bat, and takes you deep into a world you only think you recognize.
Stefano Zattera, Serenity
We’ve got a chat coming up this week, plus a closer look at what he’s putting up on the site, so stay tuned. Welcome to Thumbtack Press, Stefano!
Matthew Woodson, The Bat
Following Raudiel Sañudo’s new works we talked about on Monday, we have this new piece from another one of Thumbtack Press’s most beloved artists.
Matthew Woodson – who you know from album covers, illustrations, and pieces like Eingya, Xi, etc. - just added The Bat. As he sometimes does on his Tumblr, Matthew gave some looks at his process, and you can see a bit of how The Bat came to be. Por ejemplo:
Image via Matthew’s Tumblr
If there is one thing that I have gotten really good at over the years, it is drawing grids on body parts. Which of course is almost absolutely useless in every application I can even think of.
And no, this is absolutely not a drawing of Batman. I have no idea why you would even think that.
More on this tomorrow, but until then, you can get this print and others – starting at $19.99 – at Matthew Woodson’s Thumbtack Press artist page.
Raudiel Sañudo, Bat Collector
Graphic designer/illustrator/painter Raudiel Sañudo is champion of the creatures that occupy the dreams and imaginations of people who have inexorable dreams and imaginations. Take the little carbon particle Soot, really a vicious looking carbon particle, but one who appears in many shapes, sizes, and ice cream cones. He is mean and fuzzy and, as Raudiel told us, engaged to be married.
But anyway so here we have two new pieces – Bat Collector (above) and Owl Collector (below) – that Raudiel just added to his TTP collection. Bright, funny, a bit scary, packed and layered to the very border of the print – they’re classic Raudiel.
You can get these pieces and other ones – starting at $19.99 – at Raudiel’s TTP page.
Raudiel Sañudo, Owl Collector