The interview was conducted as part of the SR exhibition “Motion Design, NFTs, and Art.”
The exhibition features Gavin Shapiro, aeforia, beyondbola, Blake Kathryn, Sasha Katz, Adam Priester, Steven Baltay, James Owen, smeccea, Esteban Diacono, Alessio De Vecchi, and Render Fruit (click links to view interviews)
Alessio was born in Italy and graduated from Istituto Europeo di Design. After starting his career as an industrial designer in Milan, he moved to New York in 2006. He has been working as an art director and cg artist in New York, Milan, Tokyo with clients like Adidas, Ford, LG, H&M, Margiela. His creations have earned positive attention from Vogue, ID Magazine, The Creators Project among others. He’s currently residing in Tokyo, finalizing his debut short movie as a director.
I’d say that curators would be the inevitable answer: I don’t see any other way to educate the market. Without curators, it would be just the hype and the entity of the bids determining the actual curation.
As a community we have grown and learnt together through the last 2 decades in which 3d has become particularly prominent. We have attempted the same techniques and used a lot of the same assets, so we’re pretty much familiar with everything that has happened on the scene. However for collectors it’s proven to be an impossible task. I’d say that curators would be the inevitable answer: I don’t see any other way to educate the market. Without curators, it would be just the hype and the entity of the bids determining the actual curation.
Implementing techniques learnt following tutorials is absolutely legitimate, as is using pre-made assets. However, an artist should be able to contextualize and articulate them. Else, his artistic mission has failed, in my opinion.
I don’t think it’s my place to say what’s good as that’s really up to individual taste. However 3d is so vast and collectors could use some guidance in order to understand what’s original and what is just a copy or a mere technical exercise.
What kind of motion design do you think is worth collecting, what should people look for when determining the value?
I think that collectors often look for a consistent style, recognizability of the artworks. I never had a style, nor I looked for one. I think it’s legitimate to let the themes dictate the aesthetics. Art is a journey, the aesthetics evolve and I find it odd if throughout the years there’s none or little change. I think what’s of ultimate value is the artistic discourse on themes that are dear to the artist.
How do you develop your own signature styles?
Again, I wouldn’t know what to answer. My style is the selection of themes, rather than aesthetics.
What tools do you use?
Cinema 4d, Houdini, Octane render, Substance, Speed Tree, Marvelous Designer, Adobe suite.
I often wondered about the meaning of existence, the concept of mortality, impermanence. I feel that morbid themes will always be persistent in my work. Now accompanied by a thorough investigation of mental illness and existential void.
What themes/subject matter/topics do you often address in your work?
When I started publishing personal experiments on Instagram I didn’t really have the necessary skills to address specific themes. In fact I was guided by the necessity to learn/develop a specific technique. Once I started feeling confident about my skills I started to tackle the themes that I have been obsessed with since a young age. Even as a child, I often wondered about the meaning of existence, the concept of mortality, impermanence. I feel that morbid themes will always be persistent in my work. Now accompanied by a thorough investigation of mental illness and existential void.
Can motion designs become a fine art genre and enter the mainstream art market through cryptoart?
I don’t think that cryptoart in particular is going to be the gateway towards fine arts for motion designers. I think it’s happening as a natural evolution of the discipline.
Think of the work of Fredrik Heyman (Instagram). He’s truly elevating the genre to an impossibly high status.
How to define motion design (characteristics etc.)?
No idea! You should ask a proper motion designer 😉 Photoshop in motion + sorcery + cheats?
Motion designs’ role in contemporary culture?
I don’t think it has a specific role. Just like any other form of expression, it can earn its place among the finer arts. I am trying to use my pieces to investigate social issues in a way that is visually impactful. However, I had to write a proper short film to effectively go deeper into it. Making a full CG movie would have been too daunting.
The role of social media in your art career?
I owe everything to social media. Instagram, in particular. I wouldn’t have had such a successful freelance experience if I didn’t create an audience on IG. Still today, years later, most of my new clients get acquainted with my work through Instagram. Fun fact. One of the biggest following bumps was triggered by Katy Perry following me. Thank you Katy! 😀
Should motion design be considered as art or design? What’s the difference between art and design in your opinion?
I grew up in Milan, the design capital of the world. My BA is in industrial design. I have never thought of design as non-art, despite the two having very different roles in society. I think it’s hard to talk about very significant themes through design. At least in this historical moment.
We had – in Italy – design movements that tackled interesting social issues in the 60s and early 70s. The message got lost in translation. Design, at least as principle, is supposed to be ‘for everyone’. Useful, to an extent. Art doesn’t have a practical utility, hence it’s a luxury, but that also determines an extended degree of conceptual freedom, without having to worry of who gets offended or finds it indigestible or disturbing. I want to close this question with a hot quote from composer Arnold Schoenberg, who would have probably not agreed with me about design being art 🙂 “If it is art, it is not for all, and if it is for all, it is not art”.
Why do you think motion designs are on average highly valued in the crypto art market?
Mostly because if you’re not familiar with it, it looks magic. The audience being completely unaware of how it’s done is the key for its success.
What are the differences between the crypto art world and your original background? What are the differences between being a crypto artist and a motion designer?
None. On social media I have always published just personal work, never commercial. So it’s fair to say that I have always been a ‘crypto artist’, since before it was a thing. Nothing changed.
What value has crypto art added to this motion designer community? What do you think of the team up between motion designers & cryptoart?
It added remuneration for personal artworks. This is the right way forward.
What do you hate about cryptoart? What aspect of it should be improved/corrected?
When money comes into play, people show their true colors. That pushed many artists to focus more on marketing themselves rather than producing new art or bettering themselves. The greed I have witnessed is unprecedented. There’s a complete lack of integrity and I think it’s detrimental to chances of the space to succeed.
What has been your cryptoart experience by far?
Flattering, remunerative. Mentally exhausting, energy depleting. Schizophrenic. Fucked up.