Silvia Blanchi is a 28-year-old artist originally from Pisa Italy, now living in Stockholm. She graduated with a bachelor and an MA in Semiotics in Italy. Silvia does an amazing amount of great projects, from fashion to digital art, installations and publishing. Her boyfriend Ricardo Juarez is her work partner; the couple is behind the art project and tumblr Barriobajero. I interviewed Silvia about her different projects and her wonderful sense of aesthetic. See more;
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Dora Moutot (DM) interviews Silvia Bianchi (SB)
DM: Let’s talk about Shallowww, your online clothing store! Where do you find your design inspirations?
SB: We are actually three people working at Shallowww. I just designed the first sweater, the Internet one which turned fast into a best seller. Then we decided to create a brand out of it. Our inspiration comes from the Internet and its semiology. Our aim is to translate the 2.0 aesthetic and the digital imagination that surround us to textile production. We ironically play with the cold essence of technology making warm sweaters and apparel.
Shallowww Clothing only distributes online and diffuses its products like memes that is pretty consistent. The collection is limited and printed on demand, respecting ethical and local production standards. We only produce in Spain and Italy.
DM: One of your designs is an Arabic typographic print on a t-shirt. It reminds me of an article I wrote about “the muslim trance” tumblr trend. http://www.lagazettedumauvaisgout.com/original/trend-muslim-trance/?lang=en
SB: I read that article and I loved it! We are expanding our symbols research to other alphabets and codes, we are fascinated by our generation trend to take religious symbols and contemporary logos and mix them all together, just caring about how they look and not about what they mean. The funny thing is that the Arabic word on the long sleeve shirt means Logotype but we didn't tell it on the website and we got a lot of emails from people afraid of what it says. It was a nice experiment.
DM: Why do you think this Arabic typography is so appealing right now amongst the Tumblr teenagers? Why did you decide to use it?
SB: Well I think its maybe because of artists like M.I.A, Fatima Al Qadiri or Slavs and Tatars, I was actually preparing a Vj Set for Fatima Al Qadiri when I began to make stuff with Arabics symbols. Trends grow and raise trough images feed nowadays, just think about how social network have changed in the last few years and how Instagram or Tumblr work. Now we just look at images, we get on touch with them trough fast feeds and we get fed up fast with visual inputs. We just look at the signifier but we have no time go to trough the signified, we recognize something as cool because we have seen it before, its a sort of digital memory game. We could define this trends as visual isotopies, basically forms that our brain recognize as redundant and begin to like, I think this is the reason why Tumblr has influenced our imagination that hard.
DM: How do you feel about tumblr trends? Do you think they affect the mainstream fashion world? How do you think the Internet and the digital are going to change fashion?
SB: They already changed fashion world. Jeremy Scott was just the first one who copied what internet artists have been doing during the last years five years and there are loads of brands that like Shallowww are inspired by this baroque 2.0 aestethic. Also art and fashion distribution have changed a lot during the last years, you can make an artwork and diffuse it like a meme all over the world and the same with a sweater or a t-shirt.
DM: Your also create very surrealistic installations. Can you tell us a bit about Caravanart?
SB: Caravanart was an amazing experience. We visited three different cities and had the chance to interact with three completely different landscapes and crowds. Talking about images feeds thay had big influence on my work. I remember that I had a sort of visual obsession for mylar sun shades when I was in Zaragoza, I made this internet reasearch http://advancedimagesearch.tumblr.com/page/12 and then I got one to in a shop. I worked mixing digital video and objects I found in the derelict places I visited.
DM: Your work seems to be quite focused on creating digital textures. We can see it your installations but also in your videos such as One-minute suit, or in the artwork you produced for your own fanzine called “awkward surface”. What is the inspiration for these textures? What kind of software do you use? How do you create them?
SB: I create them with Photoshop mostly, I generally take pictures or video frames and then Photoshop them to get digital/analog textures. Nature and surfaces are my main inspiration. I use water, stones and minerals.
DM: There is an 80’s/90’s kind of feel in your work. Does a particular art movement in time inspire you? Memphis Milano maybe?
SB: Definitely. I'm a such a big fan of Sottsass, Mendini and Du Pasquier. A couple of years ago I made a tribute to their work for the Reggio Emilio Museum “Spazio Gerra”. Memphis has a strong influence on my work when it comes to textures and patterns.
DM: Barriobajero is the project you’re doing with your boyfriend, Ricardo Juarez. What is this project about?
SB: Barriobajero is an art platform and experimental creative collective established in early 2010. We’re dedicated to curating, art direction, design, events and consulting services like fashion stylism. We are currently based in Stockholm, working as resident curators at Revenue S:T 79, a new studio/gallery space/club/ we recently opened in the city center. Our other ongoing projects include Shallowww and the self-publishing event series Stacks.
DM: Favourite blogs?
DM: Artists we should know about?
DM: What are the 3 favourite books/ fanzines/ magazines that you possess?
SB: The Most Expensive Restaurant Ever Built - SHP4
Interview by Dora Moutot for Triangulation Blog - January 2013
Dora Moutot is a young journalist specialized in fashion within the digital culture. She is the founder of La Gazette du Mauvais Gout where she writes about bad taste, eccentric and kitsch trends. www.doramauvaisgout.tumblr.com