Andrea Bonaceto was born in Pisa, grew up in Viareggio and then moved to London to pursue a master’s degree in finance, he has been living there for seven years. His economic background, perceived as cold, made him question the truth about the world and led him to undertake a creative path of knowledge of reality and of himself. The artist’s life is characterized precisely by this duality between technology, being a founding partner of Eterna Capital (an investment company operating in the field of blockchain) and art, as a member of the Royal Academy of Arts and an artistic experimenter.
His works of arte are rich in colors and place a particular emphasis on the human soul, on its core. The human, however, is not everything. So he decided to contact the creators of a being who is neither fully digital nor fully human, Sophia the robot. The collaboration with Sophia led to the creation of digital works of art linked to a unique “token” which have been sold on the main NFT art market. We decided to meet him to ask him about his story.
When was your passion for art born?
Andrea Bonaceto: «There hasn’t been a precise moment, I’ve always felt the strong need to express myself and live in a fluid way. This then led to various entrepreneurial ventures, playing the guitar around London and drawing. I started drawing compulsively after reading a book by Kandinsky two years ago. I was thirty, the same age the artist was when he started painting. From that moment, in fact, I began to completely devote myself to painting, experimenting with all kinds of materials.
I’ve never considered it as a job, I’ve never done it as a job. I am against society that identifies people in terms of work, I would like this trend to be overcome. The productivity achieved thanks to technology has led to the creation of a lot of capital and I believe that people by the mere fact of existing must have an economic basis that allows them to be free to express themselves as they are.
We live in a world where you are the job you do, when you lose your job, you loose your identity too».
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How would you define your creative process?
Andrea Bonaceto: «My creation process consists in me become myself. It seems revolutionary, but this should be the norm, it is right for people to range. The times when society evolved the most, such as ancient Greece, for example, were fluid periods. Nowadays you are put in a box that does not allow you to develop your real potential.
I don’t want to do anything as a job, I just want to be myself».
What do you want to express through the colors you use?
Andrea Bonaceto: «Another important thing is the goal, I’ve never had goals, my idea is to ask questions. I would like people to ask themselves questions without necessarily giving them answers. The colors I use are the result of a creative research that led me to regress to my childhood. I happened to review some drawings I made as a child and I found many common characteristics. I didn’t do it with a specific intention, I lowered my personality towards my nature. I wanted to seek the naivety of the purity of the creative act itself. I didn’t ask myself the question of how I could communicate something with colors… What happens doesn’t always make sense».
How does your economic/financial background fit in with your passion?
Andrea Bonaceto: «It was a process, and it wasn’t painless, it was difficult. At one point I looked at myself as if I were both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The important thing is that when I decided to open up to the world, the world opened up to me in turn. Many people in those colder environments appreciated my artistic expression, they have understood it… Even if they live in a false society where they interact following automatic mechanisms. Now, for me this is an opportunity to amplify the message and to be myself».
Who are the subjects of your works?
Andrea Bonaceto: «I don’t just make portraits, but also works representing more abstract landscapes. I try to overcome reality. Eugenio Montale in his poem: Ho sceso, dandoti il braccio, almeno un milione di scale (I went down, giving you my arm, at least one million of stair) was about who believe that that reality is what you see – I am certainly not among them.
The world is always filtered by our senses which are always subjective, it is all a perception. I started off doing 33 portraits of family and friends in acrylic and I realized that I gave a lot of importance to the eyes. Only later did I realize that I was trying to portray people for who they really are. I try to convey the essence of the person. The more I know a person, the more detailed the portrait is. Furthermore, each person can be represented by a color. I portrayed a friend of mine who was definitely orange».
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Then I made acrylic portraits of artists, poets, painters that I respect. Nietzsche, Ezra Pound and Montale had a great impact on my intellectual formation. I also made portraits of people who I think have a positive impact on society».
What fascinates you most about the human face?
Andrea Bonaceto: «The face is only a frame for the eyes. I have the ability to understand people immediately, I can get a lot about them from their face. In this world, which is very false, when you talk to people their facial expressions say a lot more than their words do. This still gives me a little hope that the world will change. People should have the opportunity to be consistent with themselves, it’s crazy that 90% of people do a job they don’t like. To date, the company would have the resources to make things change».
Are dreams important for you?
Andrea Bonaceto: «I have recurring dreams that are quite impressive. Sometimes I dream of opera concerts with brand new music I’ve never listened to. I don’t have a real musical background, even if I compose and play, yet it has often happened to me. It is as if I had this very complex concept in my mind which is expressed by means of instruments that I’m not familiar with. As for painting, however, what I paint often draws inspiration from some dream. I once dreamed of a big red caterpillar which I immediately drew because I didn’t want to forget it. When I dream of something with impact, I like to draw it… The landscapes and abstract drawings I make are inspired by the dream dimension».
How did you meet Sophia?
Andrea Bonaceto: «I learned about the Sophia project from its very beginning. Marcello Mari, a friend of mine, was working on a project related to its creation. I was very fascinated by it, I also met her in Malta three years ago. The idea of this project came about as Marcello found my portraits extremely suggestive and asked me to portray him. When I showed him the portrait, I asked him if I could get in touch with Sophia and her creators to make portraits of them too and start a creative collaboration with Sophia. This is how the project was born, we were lucky… it was launched at the right moment. Over the course of this project, I have had many opportunities to interact and speak with Sophia. It was a suggestive experience.
Sophia is herself a work of art, the creator is a genius and an artist, it was an honor to work with them. Sophia’s is an advanced intelligence, which will increasingly be able to empathize with human subjects… she looks human! The leather is made of a Hanson Robotics patented material which is truly amazing. Moreover, her facial expressions really look like those of a human being. I believe this is the beginning of a new phase that will take us into the future. Sophia will be a robot that will support our life, in our life cycle we will have the opportunity to collaborate with robots, and it will seem more and more normal to us».