Name: Stefano Bonazzi
Birthday: 10 June
College: degree in communication sciences
Favorite Color: Black
Favorite Book: The Road – Cormac McCarthy
Favorite Movie: Requiem for a Dream
Favorite Food: Pasta with Pesto
Favorite Quote: we can not fight the pain, we can only learn to live with it
Why are you an artist, and when did you first become one?
I started as a commercial artist. All the skills that I’ve learned about Photoshop and the use of various graphic tools I need every day to do my job. The idea of using these capabilities to create completely different images than those that I create for commercial purposes came only later.
Can we talk a bit about your process at the beginning of a project? How do you conceive of it? How do you build it in your mind before you start?
I try to imagine the full picture in my mind. It is also based on photographic materials often this process that I have available at the time. More than a photographer I considered me a “collage composer”. Sometimes I also do a sketch on paper to be able to have more clear proportions and spaces who will have the final image.
What’s the best advice anyone gave you?
Go ahead, always. Ignoring the disappointments, problems or obstacles.
Do you suffer for your art?
Yeah. I suffer a lot when I can not get the picture that I had initially imagined. I do not have all the materials need me always available and often seek them can take a long time and a lot of adaptation work in post-production (I use much Photoshop and graphic tablet).
How would you define yourself as an artist?
More than an artist I would call me a dreamer or a creative. I do not have a self-taught training and often my search path is rough and uneven. A complete artist usually manages to make his art his work, I unfortunately have not yet achieved this goal.
What inspires you to work?
Everything that surrounds me. Urban landscapes and nature. I love reading books, comics, art films and I like to stay on the sidelines watching the people and the way they relate to one another. I am very attracted by human behavior. My second passion is writing and in fact everything I write is centered precisely on social relations.
You seem to use a lot of symbols in your work. Do your works tell stories or are they simply decorative elements of the project?
Symbols are very important to me and often use the same symbols in multiple images. One of my traits is the absence of faces. I like to think that the observer can sense the emotions of my characters even without seeing the eyes or mouth. Often the mask is an extension or a sort of “implant” of the same face. I cover all the faces of my characters, this is the main thread that ties all my images but there are also many other elements that repeat themselves: for example in the series “Silent Places” there are stars in the sky hung with sharp stone or in the series “the Last Day on Earth” often the characters are holding the objects that belong to their previous world.
What famous artists have influenced you, and how?
I feel very close to visual search and sick visions of the short films of David Lynch, to the surrealism of Magritte and Dali, the constant sense of anxiety which is reflected in huge young faces of Gottfried Helnwein, the human distress of the protagonists in the shots of Nan Goldin or the early claustrophobic video of Floria Sigismondi, plus many other artists who, although with different means of expression, investigate constantly on the individual as the ongoing research projects of Marina AbramovicÌ? or Sophie Calle.
What other interests do you have outside of art?
I write books and stories. I have some already finished waiting to be published novels and numerous short stories and often disturbing and surreal, just like my images.
You seem to be very aware of the history of works. Where do you see films, photo exhibitions, art perfomances today?
I love to attend exhibitions and cultural events. Often are places where you can get to know other artists and collaborations with galleries. Italy is very rich of this initiatives: Arte Fiera in Bologna, La Biennale D’Art in Venice, The Affordable Art Fair in Milan are important occasions, also every weekend I dedicate a few days to research and to the vision of exhibitions they can be in line with my artistic research.
How would your life change if you were no longer allowed to create art?
I think I would look for another way to communicate my thoughts and my emotions. Already the writing is another art form that gives me a lot of satisfaction. I also love movies and music, I’m interested in the idea of creating a small short film. If we had not allowed me to create anything … well ‘then it would be quite a problem. I think I’ll become a serial killer.
What are your next projects?
I’m working on a new series focused only on “portraits” from the waist up. There will be no environmental backgrounds but only subject in the foreground. Obviously the faces will still all covered, but I will cover them for the more complex masks using pieces of very particular clothes and objects.