A conversation with Skygolpe

Aug 23, 2022 3:40PM

For the #08 NFT Archeology cover of The NFT Magazine, Eleonora Brizi interviewed Skygolpe. Check out the issue: https://www.thenftmag.io/08-issue-nft-archeology/

Soft shell, 2022

Digital Art. What does it even mean? We could debate this forever, and still, we couldn't find a unanimous definition.

Is it art created with digital tools? Is the final product a digital file? Is it embedded in technology? Does it have a specific aesthetic appearance?

Too many questions with no satisfying answers. And when the debate becomes complicated, the mainstream response is usually very simplified and standardized solutions: it needs to be flashy, shiny, moving, animated, and augmented, in this bright color palette.

But truly, what does it mean to be digital today? Where is the real crossroad between art and technology?

Hopefully, for every mainstream, there is an unconventional, a subculture.

And then, there is Skygolpe.

Skygolpe’s creative process has been evolving over time. He is a street artist, he is a painter, he is a digital artist, and he uses photography in his practice. Therefore, how do you put all these labels in one single box? So now you know: tags don’t work with Skygolpe’s art.

It is always risky to talk about artists’ “blue periods.” Artists are always in a new period, and so is he.

Lately, Skygolpe’s portraits have started to be even more disorienting. We look at a digital painting while having the feeling of staring at a physical piece. The artist also decided to stop using animations, which are too evident and too predictable for someone who knows they will experience digital art. We look at static, and paradoxically, with the non-use of the expected digital escamotage, the digital medium itself becomes stronger. We feel like looking at a painting while enjoying it on a screen.

His works manifest and exist in a hybrid territory, where the line between the physical and the digital is blurry. In this way, Skygolpe offers us one of the most significant opportunities of our lives: to look at the art. To leave discussions and perceptions about techniques and frills behind us.

So how do we have this sense of physical when our brain recognizes digital elements used by the artist to trick us by inserting them into the work? And how do we see pigment if the image was created in digital and then printed? Is he painting on digital prints?

With a closer look at the portrait, we catch some photography in certain parts of the face. Maybe it’s the photo he took of an abandoned factory, and maybe it’s a door on the street. But it’s not a simple picture anymore; it’s a complimentary digital component. Maybe the neck is the photo of a real canvas, a neck that used to be hand-painted, with brush-created textures, and now the digital representation of its physical soul.

Are we in the middle of a sensorial short circuit?

Yes, we are; and in this malfunction, technology with its violence is not the protagonist anymore. Art is. We will never be grateful enough to Skygolpe for re-establishing our focus, somehow lost between technique exercises and bright vivid augmented visual exuberance. The tool is never the goal. The means is not the art.

Skygolpe’s portraits make the invisible visible, revealing what’s behind a face and investigating the emotions and the psychological status of the characters.

While he hides the technology to make it invisible, he extracts hidden feelings to make them visible. Someone talks of him as the Modigliani of crypto art. Modigliani’s eyes are empty; they are the vacuum, the introspection, the research into the infinite tunnel of the human soul.

Skygolpe’s faces are full of stories, information, and visuals. They are the fullness; they energize us. That is not to say that these two artists are opposite.

Aren’t love and hate, light and darkness, emptiness and fullness the two sides of one single coin?

Eleonora Brizi