Marco La Fratta talks about his art career in view of his upcoming solo show "Diagonal Scenes" with Gallery 1064.
Let’s start with a small introduction. Who is Marco La Fratta
I'm Marco La Fratta, a curious explorer, passionate about human creative expressions in every form. I take energy from nature and inspiration from everyday things and simplicity.
You mention in your website that you are passionate about sustainable design. Can you tell us more about the roots of that passion?
I think it's a combination of factors: my sensibility to nature, inherited from my parents and developed in my childhood, the will to act along with the environment and not against it, the realization that also digital products and services has a physicality (in servers, devices, ...) and also an impact to the changing climate... All these factors lead me to the path of sustainability in web design (my daily job), researching and learning about what can we do to optimize the digital environment to have a softer footprint in the real one.
Tell us about your art, both as a photographer and filmmaker. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes mainly from my curiosity, the will to explore and try new things; but also, I started to use photography and filmmaking to express and shape my ideas. I started to think about all the stories, situations and even compositions or images that crowded my mind and translate them into photography projects, videos or animations. I don't define myself as a "pure photographer/ filmmaker" because I don't want to restrain myself to a single way to convey messages and ideas, but surely those two gave me a lot of possibilities.
How do you start your art journey and what kept you going on this path?
I like the idea that every human (and every creature too) makes art every time they do something "useless", taking a divergent path. I can make a PowerPoint presentation using the default slides, fonts and colours or I can change it, adjust it, find harmonies and make it my own. That's art. And art is what remains in our lives, more than other experiences.
I'm making (and I'm surrounded by) art since I was a kid. I don't remember what I ate every single day of my life, it was just food at the end, but I remember the extraordinary taste of my grandma's pasta, I don't remember every school exercise but I remember the ones that I resolve in a creative way or the ones that I totally skip, finding other ways around.
I remember the pleasure of trying oil paint when I was eleven; the smells of paints and vinyl glue that I enjoyed while crafting little crazy sculptures. The sound of the shutter when my father let me use his film camera to take photos at ibexes on the alps. The wonder of those moments is what keeps me going on the divergent path and trying very different things, trying art in every form possible.
How did you come out with the idea behind Diagonal Scenes?
At first, it was a challenge with myself: I had an Instagram account and I want to create something special with my feed, some repeating pattern that could be endless and every photo communicates with the others. Geometry helps me on this: the diagonal pattern can create unique but simple shapes. And also was an easy starting point for this experimentation with photography: I can create something unique while practising this new method.
The artwork plays with symmetries. Their modular aspect allow a collector to create and play too with the art, given the possibility to create different types of symmetry, transactional, reflective or even rotational. Was that intentional, or was it driven purely by intuition?
It was THE intention! Of course, at that time the pleasure of creating some interesting shapes with the photos was only for me because I wasn't thinking about printing and giving them to collectors. But I'm more than happy now: everyone could play around with my shots, change positions when they like, find new ways of arranging them. And of course, everyone could try and create their own diagonal scenes.
Another striking aspect of the collection is that despite the harsh geometrics that make the larger composition, each individual frame is often comprised of much softer elements, portraying images of intimate everyday life. Tell us more on your deliberation in both taking the individual shots and composing them to create a larger geometry.
That was imperative for me: every picture has to represent something not only a black-and-white diagonal. I'm more satisfied with some photos than others but yes, the overall composition is only the first layer of the scene: each image is a scene in itself. Some of them are transitional urban spaces, like buildings, parks, public transportations while others are more personal spaces such as a bed, a carpet, windows and other objects. Treating them in the same way, with the same approach, eradicates the differences between places and make them a totally unique environment.
Why did you use black and white photography for this project?.
I appreciate black and white photography in its simplicity, immediacy and also because let us concentrate better on forms, lights and shadows. We are not distracted by colours. And that's why a chose to use black and white in this particular project: to enhance the contrasts, the diagonal composition and to emphasize the separation between lighter and darker areas.
What do you want to communicate with this work?
Even if the project was more instinctive at the first stage (I wasn't searching for something clever or special to communicate), I can see now something dear to me in this work: the simplicity, the revaluation of something transitory, ordinary that changes with the shift in the point of view. Every moment could become a special moment if we make it one. And even if it's normal, is part of the overall composition and there is where the magic happens. I don't know, maybe is a little cheesy but, as I said, there was not a big intention behind it: it was a way to change something ordinary into something else.
What role does science play in your everyday work or in your personal life?
Science is part of my path of growth, especially the scientific approach to hypothesis and ideas: the continuous questioning and searching for answers, facts, the observation, the logical thinking and the building and experimenting over personal and others' knowledge, reliably channel my creative side. Design and science could be very similar: data-based knowledge on which experiment and test if is all good.
How does this collection relate to science?
After a few photos, I felt like a researcher: I wasn't looking at the world as I do normally, I was constantly analysing every environment searching for diagonal to frame. I was thoughtfully observing the world and recording with photos my observations. And the result of my research and exploration is a geometric pattern that creates diverse images and shapes depending on the order, position and rotation.
What is "Il Mecenate Povero"?
Mecenate Povero is a project of cultural dissemination about independent comic books and graphic novels, especially from Italy but we are trying to interact also with similar entities internationally to expand our knowledge.
Independent comic books in Italy are not well seen and, due to our national legislation and regulations (Italian bureaucracy is a mess), comics book artists cannot easily (and totally legally) sell those comics and live from their work. And we are talking about thousands of artists. Mecenate Povero (literally "The poor patron") talks about them and their incredible creations.
You are also dreaming of opening an online gallery. What is the story behind that?
Due to some personal issue, the project is slightly delayed but yes! I'm designing as well an online gallery with the intention to give voice and a virtual space to all those little crazy things that are not considered Art with a capital A but "inferior arts" (from what point of view? Who decide what is Art and what is "inferior"?).
So yes, that's the plan. I'm hoping to create something before the summer but we'll see.
What are you currently working on? What the next exciting thing on the horizon?
I'm the producer and editor of a podcast about tea culture (In Viaggio col Tè) and for the second season, I'm interviewing people from all over the world which is exciting and challenging at the same time.
I'm thinking about another podcast to speak about uncomfortable topics (and I will call it "Sgabello" - Stool -).
I have some other ideas like trying sculpting or engraving something with natural elements but we'll see.