Luca “Yety” Battaglia, when I saw his bizarre but interesting middle name, instantly, I knew there was something unique about him. Looking at his artwork, I sensed his anarchic/punk spirit along with deeper messages that each subject would have. A crow, wolf, six-pointed star and geometrical shape, all these mysterious symbols reminiscent of an encyclopedia, seem like keys that decipher his visual expression. To decode the hidden messages, I had an interview with him.
Photo: Cecilia Bianchi
First of all, your name is Luca “Yety” Battaglia. That’s quite a different and unique middle name. (Yety defines its meaning as a “abominable snowman”, according to an English dictionary.) Did you get this name on your own? Why?
The name “Yety” relates to my first fanzine “Yety Society Threat” that was about punk/hardcore/metal, teen rage, night skating, squats, wild creatures, shapes of axes, horns, alcohol and smiles. Also, my life was like an abominable snowman as I was living in a cavern. This name is not a street art or tagging name.
Please introduce yourself and tell us about your background briefly.
I grew up in a family where both of my parents were architects. So, it happened naturally to me, becoming interested in geometrical and architectural structures. And it became an essential form of my artwork. In addition, I learned how interesting the illustration work can be through them. I have been influenced by architecture, astronomy, mathematics, ancient oriental crafts, and esoteric and pagan symbols as well. Especially, all the skillful craftsmen and artists’ work have always inspired me. I really like studying in depth about the methods and consistency of how all the masters made their work so beautifully. Additionally, I have strong interests in contemporary art from illustration to conceptual works.
Over the years, I have been having a very strong passion for the visual aspects of music from the tunes I played and listened to. So, I’ve started to design album covers, posters and T-shirts for my band and other bands by using my screen-printing technique. Recently, I’ve found the connection between my art and music, so that I’ve tried to focus on creating my illustrations based on my inspiration from the music. Lastly, I like seeing the ocean and fantasizing about death. Chaos and order co-exist in my mind.
Your artwork is mainly drawn in black and white colors. Are there any significant meanings for that? Also, you’ve started using more colors recently, why?
My predilection to use black and white colors comes from the influences of the German expressionism, 80’s hardcore music flyers, Russian criminal tattoos and old encyclopedic drawings. Also, these colors make it possible to create bold lines and shapes that give the powerful impression into my artwork. When I develop the image in my mind, it always appears in black and white, so I don’t use other colors. I haven’t changed this style, but recently, I began painting with water and acrylic colors and experimenting with something new.
Could you describe the process of creating a piece?
Each piece of my work has a story and I always try to find the best way to convey it through my work. I start brainstorming from the sources that catch my attention while reading and seeing things, after that, I edit them through my filter. When an idea comes to me and becomes a crucial concept, then I begin to research the images, symbols and shapes and also try to find other relevant images that will help to develop my concept. This process is the most difficult part and takes time.
Your drawing subjects are very unique and exceptional. For instance, a deer, crow and skull and other organic objects as well as geometrical and symbolic shapes and patterns. Are there any underlying theme or concept for those subjects?
To me, there is no difference between geometrical and organic shapes. Although they are different visually, they are both natural form that are consisted of minerals, constellations, chemical structure of trees etc… they all have an incredible complex geometry. And, I use animals as a secret symbol since each of them has a special meaning and relates to an interesting story behind it. For example, in one of my art pieces called “Onniscienza”, I drew a crow as it has the meaning of putrefaction in alchemy. (It’s called Nigredo.)
What/Where do you get inspirations for your creation?
My inspiration comes when I’m walking in an old town and I see the details of the entrance of each house or in a cemetery where I can see the funerary architecture. Also, an idea arises while I’m reading books about legends, folklorist stories, pagan rites or scientific discovery.
You are in the band playing a drum. Does your music and art inspire each other? (Does your music influence your artwork in any way?)
I play the drums in a music band called Vulturum. I always enjoy creating the band’s artworks. Music always helps me to get in the right mood. (I get good vibrations from it). Yet, when it comes to playing the music and creating my personal artwork, I’d rather work separately.
Having looked at your latest works, one that is a drawing on a triangle shaped canvas and the other is a live painting on the surface of cardboard boxes. Is that your new style?
The three triangular canvases seemed to be a small preview of my new work. The live painting was not my usual style; it just came to me and I have fun with it.
What is your future plan? Any upcoming shows?
I’m working on an exhibition that will be coming in November. The main concept is about three beggars. Well, in the future, I’ll work more seriously and deliberately on my art piece and as a freelance illustrator/graphic designer, I’d love to collaborate with fashion brands and publishing companies.
Luca Yety Battaglia “THE THREE BEGGARS”
Date: November 3rd – December 3rd, 2010
Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 14:00-20:00
Opening party: November 3rd, 19:00
Place: TIK TAK TA2 (Tattoo Studio / Art Gallery)
Address: via Ariberto 4/B, Cantù (CO), Italy
Tel: +39 031 4132686
Text: Yukiko Oyama