Dispelling the discomfort of reality through metaphysical visions – Interview with Charlie Davoli
Conveying “the emancipation of dissonance” through his surreal artworks, Charlie Davoli is a half-Italian and half-Singaporean digital artist. Started from scratch, his practice aims at keeping the viewer distant from routine and repetitive reality.
Sleeping in the clouds, nature invading the subway, swimming in a city street covered by water are some of the dreamlike situations becoming real through Charlie Davoli’s artworks. Born in Singapore, the digital artist is currently based in Casarano (Lecce, Italy) and combines these two halves into his vision, his acts and the strong sense of balance of his compositions.
In his process and practice, he takes inspiration from avant-garde painting, corresponding with Surrealism and Metaphysics, and from Bauhaus’ rationalist geometry. In 2016, he was nominated as Photoshop’s artist of the month and, his experience includes participating in exhibitions, receiving awards, working for influential clients and being featured in several media channels.
Eager to dive in his imagination and creativity, DesignWanted had the opportunity to interview Charlie Davoli, discovering more about his journey, creation process, relation with social media and future plans.
Who is Charlie Davoli? How did your journey as a digital artist begin?
Charlie Davoli: “Charlie Davoli is basically made of halves: half Italian and half Singaporean. Like also half photographer and half graphic designer, in both cases a self-taught who loves to blend paradoxes with reality.
The journey started for fun quite a bit ago, it happened around 2011 when a friend of mine talked to me about a new app for mobile phones, dealing with photography and social drifts, at the time I just got my first iPhone and the app was called Instagram.
At the first stage, I started my Instagram feed with ordinary photos which I began very quickly to get bored of, I then started experimenting a new approach with photography trying to insert little interferences into ordinary compositions, making them look a bit more interesting.“
Why focus on photography and digital art?
Charlie Davoli: “The reason why I started was basically due to the urge of expressing self creativity in a somehow, no matter what, and no matter how, as long something comes out from myself in order to satisfy my inner needs.
No career was predicted, as well as no goals, the only purpose was just satisfying my pleasure of playing with creativity. Initially, my only concern was just having fun with these photo experiments, I realized later that this inner urge was a sort of cathartic process that helped me to focus on my life, getting rid of all the negative experiences that happened to me up to then.”
With your photographic work, you create fantastic atmospheres that are disconnected from reality. Can you describe the general process of your creations?
Charlie Davoli: “I have always loved to be ironic by catching the discomfort that is often and willingly perceived in external reality; I already did it as a boy when I started playing on clichés in conversations. I do this game to exorcise the discomfort even today by translating it into images, it is easier for me than with words.
This is how my visual compositions are born, which I make truthful by inserting, in a continuous search for balance and harmony, those dissonant elements that lead the viewer towards unreal worlds.”
Charlie Davoli: “What makes a good illusion effective is its credibility and verisimilitude, in the sense that any disturbing element that I am going to insert in any scene must necessarily restore the idea of the plausible, and be harmonically credible in its overall vision.
In most of my works, nature is the protagonist together with human beings. Nature would exist without humans and not vice versa. We often tend to confuse roles, with the belief that we can manage it. But we don’t own anything, we are only passing through.”
You have been working with renowned brands, studios and magazines throughout your career. How do you choose the type of client or project to work on?
Charlie Davoli: “My business contacts have always arrived randomly, without me looking for them. And on top of that the singular thing is that all the collaborations received were aligned with the poetic in my works: this kind of alignment allowed me on the one hand to work with extreme serenity and on the other to obtain a high level of satisfaction from the client side.”
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What is your relationship with social media? What is the impact of social media on your work as compared to the “real” world?
Charlie Davoli: “In my case I have to credit 100% to social media for having spread all my works on a large scale. Probably without Instagram I would never ever have been able to make my compositions known worldwide. I must also say that rules in social media have drastically changed during these past years.
The early Instagram was different from the current one, I still remember it with a little nostalgia. Initially those who used it were mostly passionate about photography and they created real communities of reference. I started from scratch but over time a pool of relationships has been created around my work that from local has become macro very quickly, with a very fervent exchange of views.“
What is your approach towards the main trends & future directions within digital art?
Charlie Davoli: “The world of art has been able to grasp the change brought by social media; art curators today scan them to find out what is happening in the world. Entire new artistic generations enter the scene in this way and for them social networks are a real springboard. The important thing to me, when approaching it, is to remain consistent, positive and have an honest message to convey.“
What is next for Charlie Davoli?
Charlie Davoli: “During this last year two important exhibitions to which I was going to attend were unfortunately cancelled and postponed for obvious reasons that we all know. I hope that in the next year we can follow up on what was planned.
Whilst regarding my works, I am dealing with a new project, which is still in an embryonic state: I can only anticipate by saying that, despite the final result, the process I will be going through will be a path completely opposite compared to what I have done up to now.”
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