Bridging art and science: A conversation with artist Giuseppe lo Schiavo
Interview with artist Guiseppe lo Schiavo
Giuseppe Lo Schiavo is an award-winning visual artist based between London and Milan. His research is aiming to create a bridge between art and science. Using AI and machine learning, virtual reality, infrared systems, or microorganisms in the lab, the artist’s research often focuses on opposing elements: creation-destruction, past-future, analog-digital, real-virtual
What was your path to doing what you’re doing now?
I studied architecture in Rome in Italy and I have been working as a creative director and as an artist for 10 years now. It is interesting to mention that my first ever series Levitation was made entirely in CGI. Back then, there was no appreciation or a real platform for digital art. Yet, in 2012 the director of Saatchi gallery in London decided to include Levitation in exhibition that year. So I started my career path with digital art but the blockchain was not there yet.
When you were growing up, was creativity part of your life, and how did you decide to focus on visual arts?
I started using the analogue camera of my father at the age of 14. I was using it without a film inside, just walking around and looking at the world from the viewfinder. Creating video and images in my mind is something that comes naturally; I am a visual thinker.
Did you feel different at the time you realised yourself as an artist?
I did not feel different but I do feel lucky to be an artist. Art gives me the superpower to analyse the world from an external point of view, like an alien that arrived on a new planet and wants to question everything.
You took the first award in 2012 for Young At Art at MACA Museum. Was it a breaking point in your career? How does it influence your way of doing work now?
This was the first award I received and it gave me the confidence to change my priorities and invest more in my art career. Recognition in the early stages of your career is definitely beneficial; it inspires and propels you to have big ambitions.
Do you collaborate with other artists?
In the physical art world, artist collaborations are not common. However, in the NFT space this is more frequent. In my first NFT I already collaborated with an award winning music composer, so this is something that I definitely see myself pursuing more in the future
As a creative person, do you ever have those moments where you feel like everything you create is just shit?
All the time. I think it’s a healthy part of the process. It’s the only way to become a better artist. I always think that my best artwork is my next one.
Have you taken any big risks to move forward?
Being an artist already entails lots of risks and uncertainties. Adding to that, my determination to not conform in a linear artistic path, didn’t always make things easier. However, in the end this risk paid off.
Are your family and friends supportive of what you do? Who has encouraged you the most?
I have been fortunate enough to receive support from all the people around me, on every single step of my career. The biggest satisfaction is to be able to share my accomplishments with the people I care about.
Did you have a mentor? Who was it and how did they inspire you?
I wouldn’t say that I have mentors in the art space. Most of the people that have inspired and transformed my artistic vision, come from other disciplines. I would say the evolutionary biologist Robert Dawkins had a cathartic impact on the way I see the word today.
Wind Sculptures, Etna
Is it important to you to be a part of a creative community of people?
It’s very important. In London, in the building where I have my artist studio we have a great artist community. For crypto art on the other hand, it is impressive to see that there is a vibrant online artist community that supports each other.
You’re already a successful and well established artist, what made you pursue NFT art as a medium?
I am not new in the digital art world; the contrary I would say. I started everything thanks to digital art. Therefore creating NFT art was a very natural path for my career. NFT art allows me to expand my visual horizons and to create stories with a freedom that is frequently impossible to recreate in the physical world
What inspired the work in your NFT drop “ROBOTICA”? How did it become a part of the exhibition Dystopian Visions curated by Serena Tabacchi for CAMBI?
ROBOTICA is a 58 seconds digital animation artwork inspired by contemporary experimental theatre and combining elements from ancient greek culture, robotics, and NFT art. Despite robotic figures, the video is all about projecting humanity through technology. The performance is divided into three main scenes and they all manifest a particular feature of human socialization. Serena Tabacchi, the curator of the exhibition, asked me to create a piece inspired by a dystopian vision of the future and I think this artwork was perfect to convey this message.
I have created an entire page with all the references and inspiration boards on my website:
What are your short plans for the next NFT drop?
I am already working on a big project and it is a very exciting one! It’s inspired by a research published in Nature magazine this year where neuroscientists used a deep neural network (DNN) to reproduce images from human brain waves. Stay tuned!
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Don’t focus only on the aesthetics, find your uniqueness, try to innovate and don’t rush it. Quality takes time.
If you could go back and do one thing differently, what would it be?
I wouldn’t change a thing actually. Even the darkest times of my life are an important part of who I am today.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
I will be working with the Museum of Science of Trento, one of the top science museums in Europe on a project between art and synthetic biology. Can’t wait to share it with the world!
Arseny Vesnin (Twitter: @designercollector), founder of Designcollector Network (2003) and curator of the Digital Decade initiatives, exhibitions and online collaborations. Interdisciplinary mediator guiding artists and communicating the future of art. Based in St.Petersburg, Russia.
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