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Gianluca Traina | Contemporary Artist


We discussed the work and creative practice of contemporary artist and designer Gianluca Traina, whose works explore the synergies between art, fashion, and technology, existing at the intersection of tradition and innovation. His work is characterized by the convergence of various techniques, ranging from photography to sculpture, weaving to the innovative use of artificial intelligence in fashion creation.

Who is Gianluca Traina? Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am Gianluca Traina, an artist and designer born in Palermo, Italy, in 1984. After studying Fashion Design at Polimoda in Florence and winning a scholarship from the National Chamber of Italian Fashion in Milan, I graduated in Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo. I have developed an artistic path that combines fashion, art, and design. I am known for my ability to integrate traditional techniques with new technologies, creating works that explore themes such as identity, human perception, and the intersection between the analog and digital worlds. Among my most well-known projects is "PORTRAIT 360," a series of sculptures that combines photography, weaving, and sculpture to represent human faces in an innovative and captivating way. My passion for art and fashion has driven me to continuously explore new creative frontiers, participating in events like AI Fashion Week and collaborating with various international galleries and institutions.

Can you tell us a bit about your creative process that combines fashion, design, and art? What drew you to these disciplines?

My creative process is a fusion of fashion, design, and art, born from the desire to explore new forms of expression and connection between these worlds. Each project starts with an idea or concept I want to explore, often inspired by architectures, cultures, and stories I encounter during my travels or studies. Fashion attracts me for its ability to transform abstract ideas into tangible objects that can be worn and experienced daily. Design fascinates me for its attention to detail, functionality, and aesthetics, while art offers me the freedom to express deep and personal concepts without constraints.

When working on a project, I combine traditional techniques like drawing and physical modeling with advanced digital tools. I use 3D modeling software such as Cinema 4D and AI tools like MidJourney, Stable Diffusion, ComfyUI, and Fooocus to create virtual prototypes and visualize the final result. This approach allows me to experiment with shapes, textures, and colors in ways that would be impossible with traditional methods alone. My background in Fashion Design, combined with my passion for art, enables me to create works that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also tell a story or convey an emotion. This combination of disciplines allows me to constantly explore and innovate, creating works that challenge traditional boundaries and offer new perspectives. What draws me to fashion, design, and art is their ability to connect people through aesthetics, functionality, and emotion. My creative process reflects this integration, using a variety of techniques and tools to create unique and meaningful works.

When working on the aesthetics of the human body with new technologies, how do you explore the boundaries between the analog and digital worlds? What tools and methods do you use in this process?

In my practice, I explore concepts such as dematerialization and immateriality. These concepts allow me to shift the focus from the physicality of the artistic object, often a human body, to its digital potential, creating works that exist in both the physical and virtual worlds. Another fundamental aspect is the humanization of digital technology. I strive to enrich the digital aesthetic experience with human elements, making the digital tangible and sensory through the combination of analog and digital techniques. My work aims to find a balance between tradition and innovation, exploring how new technologies can enrich our understanding and perception of the human body, creating artworks that are both material and immaterial.

Which work has excited you the most in terms of the design process and final product?

Definitely "PORTRAIT 360°". In this project, I photograph anonymous faces, rendering them pixelated. Then I cut the images into strips and weave them using a traditional weaving technique called "warp and weft". This process creates three-dimensional busts that challenge visual perception, playing on the ambiguity between the initial two-dimensional image and the final three-dimensional structure. The combination of photography and weaving not only challenges traditional conventions of portraiture but also creates a dynamic interaction between art and the viewer, inviting the latter to explore the work. The idea behind "PORTRAIT 360°" is influenced by the concept of pixels and mosaics. Growing up in the '80s, an era characterized by low-bit and pixelated images, shaped my perception of the nature of the image in its essential unit: the pixel. Each woven strip represents a pixel, an essential unit of the digital image, and together they form a complex mosaic that reconstructs the face in a new dimension. This approach not only recalls the roots of my generation but also explores the nature of the image and its construction from elementary units.

Another project that particularly engaged me is "Corpo 360°". In this work, I used panoramic imaging technology to create a 360-degree view of the human body. The idea was to represent the human body as a complete unit, visible from all angles simultaneously. This was achieved through the three-dimensional modeling of virtual bodies, captured from every angle, and then digitally reassembled to create a "corpography". The final result is a detailed and scientific image of the human body, devoid of modesty and non-sexualized, representing the body as an objective fact. This project not only explores the possibilities of digital technology but also challenges traditional conventions of human body representation, offering a new perspective on its complexity and diversity. "PORTRAIT 360°" and "Corpo 360°" represent my vision of an art that challenges and redefines the boundaries between the analog and digital worlds, creating works that are both material and immaterial.

What important trends and movements do you think will determine the relationship between artificial intelligence and art and the digital art sector in the coming years?

The relationship between artificial intelligence and digital art is set to evolve rapidly in the coming years, with several key trends shaping this sector. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies are becoming increasingly accessible and powerful, allowing artists to create immersive environments that blur the lines between the real and digital worlds. Viewers can interact with artworks in new and engaging ways, becoming active participants who influence and shape the artistic narrative. This trend is set to grow, with an increase in art installations and performances that leverage AR and VR to offer unique experiences. Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing how art is created. Artists are using AI algorithms to generate unique compositions, complex patterns, and even entire artworks. These tools not only speed up the creative process but also offer new perspectives and possibilities for experimentation. 2024 will see an increase in collaborations between artists and intelligent machines, exploring unconventional styles and techniques. The convergence of AI and AR represents a new artistic frontier. This integration allows for the creation of real-time interactive experiences, where artworks can adapt to viewer interactions, environmental cues, or even emotional responses. This fusion promises to redefine how the public experiences and interacts with art, creating personalized and multisensory encounters. The future of digital art will be profoundly influenced by technological innovations, with artificial intelligence and immersive technologies driving the transformation. However, it is crucial that these advances are used ethically and sustainably to ensure that art remains inclusive, transparent, and respectful of the rights and dignity of individuals.

Can you tell us a bit about the sources of inspiration behind your work? Who are the names you follow with curiosity in this field or in other disciplines?

The sources of inspiration behind my work are varied and often come from a combination of personal experiences, cultural influences, and technological innovations. My artistic approach is deeply rooted in my training in fashion design, painting, and sculpture but has evolved to embrace the possibilities offered by new technologies such as artificial intelligence and augmented reality. I follow with interest the work of several established artists and contemporary movements that explore similar intersections between art and technology.

Orlan and Stelarc: Both are pioneers in the art of the technological body. Orlan uses her body as a means to explore themes of identity and otherness, while Stelarc pushes the boundaries of the human body through the use of prosthetics and technology. Their works inspire me to consider the human body as a canvas for technological innovation.

Anthony Gormley: His approach to sculpture and the representation of the human body has influenced my view of art as a means to explore the human experience in relation to space and the surrounding environment.

Clement Valla: His "Surface Proxy" series has deeply influenced me. Valla uses technology to create objects that are wrapped in their own representation, exploring the relationships between material and immaterial. This approach reflects my interest in the fusion between digital technology and traditional craftsmanship. I follow with great interest the developments in generative art and the applications of artificial intelligence in art. Artists like Mario Klingemann and Ian Cheng are exploring new frontiers of creativity through the use of algorithms and AI, offering unique perspectives that challenge traditional art conventions.

Are you excited about the future? What are your plans?

I am extremely excited about the future and have several projects in the pipeline. One of my most recent projects is "subCORPI", which uses sensors to capture involuntary movements and impulses of the human body, transforming them into visual and tangible expressions through codes. This methodology not only explores the relationship between body and technology but also allows for the spontaneous and unique creation of art, capturing the essence of the individual who becomes an involuntary artist. I appreciate the ambiguity regarding the authorship, redefining the very concept of creator and artist. I do not follow technological progress out of necessity but out of passion. Even though I was born in the '80s, I already had a computer with MS-DOS at the age of five. The digital version of the contemporary world has always been a part of me. This drives me to constantly explore new technologies and integrate them into my creative process. My childhood immersed in technology has shaped my vision and approach to art, making the use of digital tools a natural way for me to express myself. Virtual reality offers the possibility to create completely new worlds in which viewers can immerse themselves, explore, and interact with artworks in innovative ways. This technology allows me to push the boundaries of perception and artistic experience, providing new modes of creation. I imagine that soon methods and processes will develop that will allow for the creation of physical objects through the use of VR, operating remotely, simultaneously in multiple locations, and in a shared manner. This would represent an important step forward, uniting the digital and physical worlds. If in the past digital artistic expression was often diminished due to the perception of the technological medium as a machine, in VR every physical gesture of mine corresponds to a digital action that produces a tangible result. For an artist, this means being able to personalize their touch, marking the work with their imprint, almost like Piero Manzoni. The authenticity of the work resides in the creation process and the action of having executed or at least touched the work. This opens art to its technical reproducibility, as actions can be recorded and reproduced again. The possibility of documenting and replicating the creative process in VR means that each iteration of the work can maintain the artist's imprint, ensuring authenticity and uniqueness even through technical reproduction. This concept of technical reproducibility further enriches the dialogue between the artist and their audience, allowing for greater dissemination and accessibility of art. My goal is to continue pushing beyond boundaries, unconcerned with definitions such as artist, designer, or creative. I want to explore how these fields can enrich our understanding as human beings and how we perceive art and objects, offering experiences that are both profound and accessible. By integrating technologies such as virtual reality and AI, I hope to create works that not only surprise and inspire but also promote a dialogue about the future of art and creativity in the contemporary world.


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