Cristian Grossi lives in Italy, where he works on a plethora of art, design and fashion projects. He studied computer science and his bold graphic style is influenced by modernism, art nouveau, a love of nature and magical folk stories. Ver Sacrum was inspired by a night spent in hospital, when Cristian began to relate the behaviour of the human body to the Turing Machine. He imagined two demiurges implanting apparatus to combine with body parts, the unknown becoming part of the known in our flesh.
Your image was inspired by a night spent in hospital, how has its creation helped you heal? About a month ago I was in the hospital, my dad had very delicate surgery. I thought about how fallacious the body is, and the perfection of the mathematical modeling of the inorganic systems that I studied at the university. Take for example the Turing Machine, it’s complete. My demiurges mysteriously assemble a perfect body, a system that is in balance. Maybe they are creating the perfect body for my dad.
How long did it take to put together and what elements does it contain? The image is made of more than 300 anatomical drawings showing human body organs and membranes (among them pancreas, lungs, brain, testicles and yet the liver, intestine, bone and fetuses). I am celebrating the Jugendstil (art nouveaux) style, affected with contemporary digital contaminations. 33 working days were required to develop my allegory for the creation of human beings. Ver Sacrum features two female demiurges putting together a newborn.
What is your working process? I start my drawings using pencil and Chinese ink on paper, then add elaborations to them on the computer. I believe that the transition to digital is a mandatory step for all contemporary designers because scanning images is a key step to fix ideas.
What is your favourite subject matter and why? I’m attracted to all that is kitsch. The surplus has always attracted me, and I think that is part of my Jugendstil nature. The strange thing is that I’m passionate about everything that goes beyond, and all that’s missing: the moment before death, of a sneeze, the cavities of the times in the dialogues of a conversation. I believe that the completeness is not interesting.
You have recently had an exhibition – can you share some of this work and explain what it was about?
Yes, I have just had an exhibition of video art and textiles. I design fabrics for some Italian fashion brands and themes always stretch into other artistic projects such as video art, books and installations. The latest project is a study of the roots of the Liberty style typical of my city, Salsomaggiore Terme, with an attempt on my part to recover and re-elaborate the details in a new artistic language.
You are a very busy designer: what other jobs have you completed recently, and what are you most looking forward to working on in the coming months?
Yes, I am very busy. This Christmas around 18,000 Italian families will receive my ball which has been illustrated for a non-profit, so I’m very excited. In a few months my new collection of scarfs and bags for a big fashion brand will be released, and I have been involved in mood boards, ideas and stylistic direction. I have also designed a series of posters to promote art exhibitions in Italian museums and festivals and a series of limited edition stationery.
Where are the best places to go for creative inspiration online in Italy?
Italian creativity is very special. Fashion, architecture and design are born in Milan, and it is there that these are processed. But Milan is a city sad and cynical, so I think the source of true creativity is in the provinces. The typical is very genuine, if you can hang out for the provinces to discover new enzymes, you understand the genuineness of color, flavor and shape. So if you want to take a shower of true creativity Italian go to festivals in Emilia, eats local food, meet local people. Check out online projects such as gnambox which covers food that is typical of the Italian tradition, or weloooooveit (www.weloooooveit.com) which celebrates all that is cool of Italy, or Dolce & Gabbana’s Swide, which offers the best of “la dolce vita”.
See the entire interview here.