Vittorio Ciccarelli is an Italian artist, born in Naples in 1980, who currently lives and works in Aversa. His projects range from unusual to spectacular, always involving multiple layers. Ciccarelli enjoys playing with everyday objects such as paper, books, bubble wrap and pill wraps, decontextualizing them and offering them a new vision.
His first project ‘Bookmark’ is intended to be slightly ironic, combining two different eras: old and new. In that sense bubble wrap is juxtaposed over a picture of an old Renaissance painting. There is a playful twist on the hidden identity of the woman in the tableau, almost as if she were to attend a bal masqué, with a modern pill package over her eyes instead of the traditional feathered mask. The underlying theme of identity is explored throughout the series as she keeps hiding herself under a butter knife, bubble wrap or even a patterned window that only allow for colours and shapes to emerge out of a blurry vision.
Ciccarelli’s second project, ‘Amabili Resti’, is slightly more deep, visualizing the ‘sense of beautiful things, lost or forgotten, and later found’. Only fragments of portraits are shown, such as a torn picture or a square which represents an eye. Again, themes of lost identity and beauty resurface through Ciccarelli’s projects, reflecting on what needs to be seen and what needs to remain hidden from the public eye; an accurate portrayal of beauty back in the time.
Kevin Corrado is a fine art photographer from Connecticut. For his latest project ‘Transfer’, he dips his hand in paint and places it in front of a landscape, creating interesting and beautiful visual lines. The project began as a playful idea of the ocean being a giant sea of blue paint rather than water. By subverting our pre-conceived ideas on nature, such as the blue sea, Corrado is making a playful comment on the intense connection between landscapes and colours. Corrado takes simple landscapes and simple ideas that were instilled in us during our elementary days -the sea is blue, yet the water isn’t even blue, it’s transparent…) and makes them complex, layered and textured. By doing so, he also explores his role as an artist and the choices he must make. He argues, for example, that ‘a painter is given the task to paint a tree, but that painter must choose to use green paint’. Corrado must, therefore, choose a colour, which is ironic since it is not something that a photographer (his medium of choice) would normally do.
The unique quality of Corrado’s work lies in its intricate mixture between surrealism and lyricism, embracing nature yet distorting it to make it eerie, beautiful. Corrado’s background is initially one of graphic design, so a lot of his work seems to hold on to qualities of design. He himself states that during his studies, one question that always came up was ‘why’?. Now that he has completed his design studies, he finds that his work constantly forces him to remain completely conscious over every decision he makes when creating art.
Yola Fatoush’s self-titled EP, released through Parlour Records in June earlier this year, introduces the duo’s emphatic cascade of sound, which washes over the listener and sees them deserving the appellations of “immersive” and “transcendental” given to them by their label.
From the synthesised bells on the track The Premises, mixed in with discordant and droning bass patterns, to the choral arrangements on Usher in Spring, it’s clear that the band draws in tonal pallets from a variety of influences.
Leading the EP, however, is the engaging track Celine which has yelps and staccato synth bleeps and chords jarring throughout the verses; these open up to a woozy chorus that melts all the punch in the former part of the song into an “immersive” and melodic haze.
The pitched down ‘R’n’B’ samples on tracks like Circle of Pain are indebted to ‘R’n’B influences; the group cite as Chicago’s DJ Nate and producer Jeremih as experimental artists they feel connected to.
Amidst the leftfield electronic influence there is perceptible pop sensibility that informs an ear for melody and song craft Grimes would be proud of.
The attraction of the band, having said all this, is the combination of influence and technique in what is a very listenable pop style. Look out for the band as they tour in the next couple of weeks, particularly at the Oxjam Festival at The Bowery in Sheffield.
I found about Laura J Martin and her unique brand of ethereal, psychedelic-folk just over a year ago now, in the glorious settings of Wales’ own Green Man festival. Petite and softly spoken when she’s not playing, this Liverpudlian lass creates quite a noise for a small woman alone on stage but for her instruments, her voice and a loop pedal.
Laura is a multi-instrumentalist, proficient in piano, flute and mandolin, all of which she utilises in her music to stunning effect. She plays all with vigour, and when performing seems possessed simultaneously with a fiery energy and a gentle endearing quality that makes her presence and her music all the more compelling. Her musical style is somewhat difficult to pin down, and others may dub it differently, but for me she errs on the side of an otherworldly folkishness, somewhat primal beats (I am thinking especially of her track “Fire Horse” here) mixing with soaring flute melodies and haunting, breathy vocals expounding strange, mythical lyrics.
Recently, I was lucky enough to catch Laura live again, this time in the stunning setting of the Sheffield Cathedral as part of the city’s annual Tramlines festival. The acoustics of this historic building suited the ethereal quality of her music perfectly, and her quirky harmonies rang out through the rafters with a wonderful clarity and grace. I was struck again with the sense of awe that she has, as an individual, an awesome quality that allows her to captivate such a large space and to produce such a large and complex sound.
Laura released her latest record, ‘The Hangman Tree’ in January 2012 on Static Caravan. If you want to experience something beautiful yet unpredictable, strange yet charming, then I strongly recommend you give it a listen. To find out more about her, visit her website.