Art Cup Project
Artist: Vittorio Natoli
Medium: Digital Print
He is renowned for his achievements not only as a photographer winning multiple state and national awards but also as an entrepreneurial businessman.
We sat down with Vittorio to find out about the man behind the painting and the painting in front of the man.
What’s his coffee order?
Coffee is an art form. You can have a straight black, macchiato, almond milk, soy milk… just like art! I used to have a lot of cappuccinos. I used to order the same coffee repeatedly for years. Until something changed. I like it hot with full cream milk. But I also explore new things like a long black with a bit of milk, a macchiato topped up or straight black or short black or even a corretto, which has a bit of alcohol. Coffee is a form of individuality and creativity–just like art.
Where can you view his work?
Why did you choose this piece of artwork for the cup?
I gave in a few unique pieces, about 3 or 4, and Peter was immediately drawn to this piece as it was outside of his own genre of creativity. What happens to me with my pieces is that I’m drawn to all of them, like most artists are, as they have a relationship with each piece they create. One of the most rewarding parts of being an artist is when other people see and recognise your work and see something out of your pieces that are pleasing to them. Otherwise, it would just be about self-gratification. That interaction with the viewer is where the magic happens.
What is the story behind this piece of art?
I did this piece about 2 1⁄2 years ago before the lockdowns. This is a very interesting piece of art. It’s actually a city skyline, a building in Melbourne on the Yarra River at sunrise. The basis of the shot is the light on the core lines of the 30-story building and then I’ve done some manipulation to the image to make it achieve this look. You wouldn’t know what the source was because you’re probably more likely to be looking at the graphics and how it flows. But, what makes it so interesting are the lines and the shapes and the verticals and horizontals and the way they’re twisted, almost like looking through a kaleidoscope. To take something recognisable that can be mundane and then repurpose it and re-look at it to be something totally new–and that’s what we do. By using vision and thought and creativity, we make something ordinary and known look extraordinary and unique.
What appealed to you about this project?
I was happy for artists and photographers to show their work in a contemporary way so it’s not just a piece of artwork to hang up in an individual’s home or in a gallery but it’s something that can be shared across a community so you can have a wider audience. I also love that through this, you can increase exposure for the artists themselves. So much work gets archived and doesn’t get used, superb work too. The idea of turning an ordinary cup into an art piece and exhibiting art in this way is quite an innovative idea. Because of its good exposure for the artist and also for the drinker of the coffee, the drinker gets to see art displayed where they might never have seen those pieces individually anywhere. Even though it’s a disposable cup, you drink the coffee, and it’s gone. It’s repetition. Repetition to seeing art displayed breeds familiarity. It could stimulate the creative mind–which is what coffee itself does too.
Why is it important to support the arts?
That’s a vital question. It has so many levels. That’s where all new things come from. It’s the self-expression of people. What becomes ordinary may well have been art in the beginning. Art is cutting edge. Art is about allowing people to express and create something that hasn’t yet been created. Promoting art and allowing creativity it allows us to grow. Taking the time and spending money on that area is the future. You want to enable people to be creative because they find joy. Creativity is at the top of the tree. It doesn’t get any higher. Creation is art. For me, it’s a big deal to promote art and promote artists and it needs to be supported, yet is often what’s left behind. It’s left behind in the budget, it’s left behind as far as it’s not something we focus readily on. Our culture can often see it as a misappropriation of funds, time, or energy. Yet, when everything is all distilled and gone, the art pieces remain. Those art pieces become the legacies and identify periods of time. How boring would life be without art? It would just be rinse and repeat, wouldn’t it?