Mattia Sommovigo


“My goal is to reach a state of mystical ordinariness”

AT: Where are you from and how/why did you start engaging with art?

MS: I grew up in La Spezia, a small city in the North West of Italy. My grandfather was a painter and I used to watch him while he was drawing. I remember that I was very fascinated by him, but it was not until I moved to London in 2006 that I really started creating my first projects. London played a crucial role in my development as an artist. I was lucky enough to be there during the Street Art golden age. I used to work and hang around with incredible individuals such as Stik, Nathan Bowen and many more. At that time, all the street art artists where into figurative styles whereas I experimented a conceptual approach to my work. It was a very exciting time.


AT: When did it become serious?

MS: It all started with my first works in London. I have always felt the urge to be “all in” during the creative process. Focus and awareness were extremely important for my works in the streets.


AT: Are there any persons who has been significant in your breakthrough as an artist?

MS: Many people that I met during that time were very significant. Especially my dear friend David who was an unconventional poet. He really pushed me to believe in pursuing my inner aspirations.


AT: What is your first approach to the work? How would you describe your practice?

MS: It has a lot do with the idea of suspending rational processing. I often walk with no specific destination to obtain the ideal state of mind to start perceiving things differently. That’s when my subjects manifest. Sometimes instead I am suddenly captured by visual elements that I need to portray. It’s a transposition of my inner dimension into physical objects. I am obsessed with the relationship between meaning and context. I think that we are aware only through subjectiveness. My work is an attempt to challenge my cognition.

untitled, 2020, Blueback print on canvas, 190×140 cm

AT: What do you aim to reach with your work?

MS: My work revolves around the idea of ​​representing waste as an element of extreme interest. What I try to achieve in my works is a state of balance between subject and perception, evidence and abstraction. I try to act on each element by carrying out a sort of transition.  The poorest materials, the scraps and the textures mix create an image that is apparently very simple, but in reality it is the result of various tests and study. My goal is to reach a state of “mystical ordinariness”.


AT: What are your favourite tools and materials for working?

MS: Of course I am very addicted to my camera but I often use my mobile phone too. I also love working with different softwares and printers. I always had a conceptual approach towards my work and technology really helps me to translate complexity into simplicity.


AT: What do you feel while you work? Do you usually think about the final outcome beforehand?

MS: I try to experience my work flow almost as a ritual. The creative process is the most fulfilling part for me, that’s when I feel free somehow. I don’t think about the final outcome, I simply try to create the best conditions for me to be in an ideal state of mind. The final product is just a snapshot of that experience.


AT: How do you understand that a work is finished?

MS: When my capability to destroy certainty becomes inoffensive

untitled, 2020, Blueback print on canvas, 190×140 cm
untitled, 2020, Blueback print on canvas, 190×140 cm

AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from?

MS: My inspiration comes mainly from philosophy. The way that we process our thoughts  leads to different inputs and outputs. You need to understand something in order to use it. Inspiration is  a natural reflection of our decisions.


AT: Are there any artists who influenced your works? Why?

MS: I never really had any role models. It of course happens that single works from different background artists can have a sudden impact when I am in a specific frame of mind and in a specific moment.


AT: How important is the role of social media for you?

MS: I use social media quite regularly. If used properly they can be a powerful tool for expression and communication. However, as anything involved in mass adoption they can be really disruptive.

untitled, 2020, Blueback print on canvas, 190×140 cm
untitled, 2020, Blueback print on canvas, 190×140 cm

AT: As an artist, what is your point of view about the contemporary art system?

MS: Today the system is too influenced by the market. The name of a gallery and the results at an auction end up playing a major role. With this scenario  artists can perceive it as a restraining system. We should start reconsidering the value of a work of art for its evocative essence  not only for being another exchange commodity.


AT: What do you find to be the most challenging or daunting thing about pursuing art? What is the most rewarding part of working as an artist?

MS: In my experience, making art deeply can be really alienating. The risk is to find your own dimension too absorbing to leave it. However I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. It is highly fulfilling. When I was younger I was struggling because I couldn’t relate to any logical attempt to frame existence. Art can constantly contradict itself without losing its core meaning.


AT: What do you do besides art?

MS: My partner is a Fashion designer so I often work with her too. I love reading and listening to music.


AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?

MS: I generally set short time goals, even daily ones. I truly believe in the dimension of “here” and “now” as a necessary state of the mind for creation.

Installation view, Mattia Sommovigo, 2020.
Mattia Sommovigo (b. 1986) is an Italian visual artist currently living and working in London, United Kingdom.

He stands out for his conceptual work with the fragile tape signed with the pseudonym of “Son Of Recession”. From 2007 to 2010 he works constantly in the streets of London, collaborating with artists such as Stik. In 2013 he is included in the encyclopaedia “The New Street Art” by Claude Crommelin. Moved back to Italy in 2012 he shifts his focus on street conceptual photography. The relationship between meaning and subject becomes the core of his constant quest. In 2017 independent Brazilian publisher “Sometimes Always” releases a book about his work titled “No Art”. These are the words chosen from the artist as a manifesto to all his photographic work. With this statement he intends to highlight the fultily of objectiveness related to art.