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Today I'm a contemporary artist, thanks in part to that day, the day I announced I was leaving entertainment, on that stage, at the IAB Forum I think, an event attended by all the business community, ready to invest in influencers, I was on the stage together with two others and I said goodbye, goodbye to entertainment which I had cultivated for years to grow my fanbase, to build an influential position on social media. I said goodbye to turn everything involved in my work, all the people who had followed me, to convert them to my real occupation, which I had kept hidden for years, my work in art. So, Federico Clapis Strategy, I don't know if this operation can be catalogued, if it's catalogable, because there's no rule, there's no rule that you have to do things a certain way and that I had to do things this way. This was my way of responding to a need, the need to be an artist and not knowing how the hell to divulge it one day. At the time when I very clearly felt this need, the YouTube phenomenon was exploding, social media in general, but at the beginning mainly YouTube. I studied it, I worked hard, I learned to produce, I learn to produce videos, to shoot and edit. I made mistakes for years, for a couple of years no one paid me any attention, then the time came when I found a strategy to break out, to succeed in achieving my first important numbers, at first it was with music video clips, a genre I created at the time. From there, I had my first media explosion thanks to YouTube and then it was up and down as I used the social media and grew my position in social media with content that differed completely from one channel to another but it was always entertainment, where usually you tried to look at social issues in an entertaining way, a way that could be successful, because my goal was to reach as many followers as possible over the years, to achieve a fairly high profile which I could then convert to leave that world, to convert my fanbase and do the only thing I was interested in, which is art, today I'm a visual artist, I paint, I sculpt and make art videos. "Did you have this strategy in mind right from the start?" Yes, yes. it was a strategy I had. Well, you could say I had it in mind right from the start, the point is that I couldn't imagine when and how it would happen. So it was like surfing on the wings of life and understanding when the moment came was simply a question of touch, of rhythm. I think it coincided perhaps with a peak I had reached, but who knows what that peak was. It also coincided with a sense of saturation, of no longer wanting to produce that type of content, not so much because the content was a problem, but because that positioning was beginning to constrict me. So I said to myself, you've got nothing to lose. A lot of people think that I gave up who knows what, but that's simply ignorance, because Italians in particular don't know the world of art and don't understand that making a name in art is more important than making a name as an actor or in any other form of entertainment, so they thought I was giving up some sort of multi-million dollar business to go and be a portrait painter in Piazza del Duomo, and they had this idea which, as I said, is more romantic than the reality. When this farewell video came up, it was very interesting to watch people's reactions, because there was a tidal wave of ignorance both positive and negative, but the most enjoyable was positive, in other words everyone saw it as a sacrifice, which it was, but I was perfectly aware of where I was going and it wasn't, it would have been a sacrifice to stay. Whereas the people who said: "Oh, great, he's chucked it all in, he's dead", meaning "Okay, he's lost it, he must be high, so now he's heading in that direction": But in fact it was all much more lucid, aand going in a direction where those people are no longer around and no longer follow what you do is in itself a small achievement, especially when you say it, but that's how it is. "A lot of followers means a lot of money." No, it's not like that. It's not like that, at least, well, while I was creating content to build up a following, a lot of followers means a lot of money no, it wasn't like that, because in any case I was opening a market. I was part of that generation of content creators, the term influencer makes me feel like a fashion model, a Neapolitan fashion blogger, it makes me feel ill, I still hadn't opened a market of business relations, etcetera, etcetera. So I was strapped for cash, even there the myth of what I could have. But now certainly the market is much stronger, but what are we talking about? What sort of numbers, of volumes? Yes, okay, I may be helping a couple of runaways who would otherwise end up on the streets. The world of numbers and influencers has its place. But even so it's always a tip. I can't explain, it's always a tip the world gives you for the extreme compromise you're making. "From a financial viewpoint, compare how it used to be, when you were". - Who, me? But don't you like the fact that you can tell that you're a little like that too, that there's a human being? "No, I don't like my voice." Because, particularly on economic questions, it's much more interesting if someone else asks me, otherwise it's as though I'm saying to you now I'm filthy rich, you see? "Having followers doesn't necessarily mean having to have money, I'm asking you to explain that now you've created a market for yourself, which, perhaps, before... Another misperception, and I'm saying it here to answer the question you've just asked me, I don't like talking brazenly about money but I know it's always a hot topic so it's much more interesting perhaps than anything else, because it's the energy that carries us along on this strange road of life. There too, people often get the idea when someone wants to subtly disarm me to make a comment, something like that, they say: "Well, the money's finished". While I was working in entertainment, I didn't earn a bean. Hardly anything, because I was opening a market. The only micro money, micro money that I earned came perhaps from the film and then I left straight after that. The money I had I invested in art, in production, in the studio, and from there I started working. Many followers have turned away, they've gone away, others have arrived. The numbers I make on content are lower, obviously. But they're very high for art, and even so, if you want a direct form of productivity, they produce much more money, because they generate a higher profile, collaboration with brands which collaborate with an influencer who, oh dear, works in art, who produces art and for collectors, for public works, for lots of things. So, yes, what you earn is not all directly proportional to the number of followers, absolutely not. There are loads of content creators with low numbers but very high financial profitability. Simply because they address specific niches. Giuseppe Gatti, SpecchioDinamica, a property entrepreneur, has, I don't know, a group of 1,000 followers who bring in upwards of X thousand euro a month. I'm just saying. Or lots of other micro businesses that make millions. "Would it have been more difficult to succeed in the art world without having made a name first in entertainment?" I don't know. I don't know. I can't predict that, I can't go back in time and find out whether it would have been easier to go directly into art without all this business or not. Perhaps the original reason why I did all that, all that entertainment, was probably the fear of finding myself in the stereotypical adventure of the artist, which seems impossible. That fear was what drove me along that road. So whether it is true or not that fear is always negative, I don't know. So far, it's all been going fairly well, so it's okay. Perhaps if I'd tried in a different way, I'd have made it anyhow, or perhaps not. And in any case, talking about success is always relative, for everyone, with anything. (Today, what sort of relationship do you have with social media?) I work mainly with Instagram, on Facebook there are only my key works, I post very little. But on Instagram I post a lot, I have a good relationship with users. Let's say that with Instagram, over this last year, Instagram has generated a great relationship with users that previously had never been so continuous and deep. Almost every day, users employ the works I make available, encouraging them, inviting them to take action on this specific thing, as a tool for introspection, a tool for self-analysis. So it has a useful purpose for the user and it's an interesting conversation, much more affection between the user and me now. Perhaps because I'm more in tune too, I do myself less harm by giving in to fewer compromises and fears, perhaps. "So what was one of the fundamental reasons why you left the entertainment world?" I think both from a numerical point of view, although I don't have a way of knowing if that's true, and from an emotional point of view. I felt the time had come to leave, I simply felt it was time. I can spin you a story. Even though I'm a strategist, unfortunately, because in life it doesn't let you have a really easy time of it, I'm lucky in that I follow my instinct a lot. A lot, so much so that often my strategies then change dramatically and they're just background. So when I left entertainment, it was because I felt the time had come to leave entertainment. I can't unpack it for you in terms of inner motives, but that time had come, I felt the time was ripe, that I was maturing as an artist that I could no longer repress it. So, that's the reason. (Since you've left your old life, what exactly has changed?) Everytime someone says to me when you abandoned your old life, it sounds like the story of a homeless person, someone who's left a bossy rich wife and gone to live in a railway station. I have to do an interview with a longer beard, if only I'd known, and beer cans. What's changed, really everything has changed, everything has changed. Over time everything has changed. I used to live in a state of anxiety, a state of anxiety. I lived in a state of performance anxiety, of relationship anxiety with management who perhaps hadn't understood me completely. The anxiety of lowering the cost of something for which the market wasn't ready yet, and I had to make a living. "How long have you been working in the art field?" Well, my grandfather, who is a great enthusiast, a lover of art, has one of my first sculptures, which I will show one day. Apart from anything else I really like it, I did it when I was 10 and honestly, it's much better than many of the sculptures I do now, with little tricks, with marble I'd found who knows where, and when I was small I made a lot of small sculptures. Then I lost my way for a while and expressed my creativity in other ways. Then when I was about 20 or 21, after a series of pretty intense personal experiences, I had a surge of creativity and a powerful desire to express it with my hands on canvas, with objects. And from there I began my new exploration. My first pieces were "matter eaters", I worked with these teaspoons, which liquified matter, I'm embarrassed when I look at them now, unlike the sculpture I created at the age of 8 which is a great piece, when I was 20 my pieces were rubbish in my opinion. After that I matured until the Actors on canvas, which I think were a turning point in my life. I think the desire to create I'd had since I was a child, also, not only, but it has an almost meditative purpose, for a mind that even as a child tended to go off the rails. And when I create something physical, I'm really focused, I don't allow my mind to take over. Then, if a sense of composition, of aesthetics, helps to take the thing forward, sometimes, as with that sculpture when I was a child, then it's an added bonus, and perhaps a sense of visual poetry, so that it's not just a meditative act in order not to think and not to go mad, it's also for the purpose of transcending the negative and creating something beautiful, I think this was already true at that time. Have you ever thought of going back to your old life? No, well, in the early years, the first year and a half, two years, after I left entertainment, every so often I wanted to create some content, for the fun of doing it. But the sake of consistency, I had an editorial line, I thought, well, why not? I didn't do it. And I can tell you I'm glad I didn't. Also because it's great when you have an idea, but developing it is a real pain. If ideas could be transmitted with a VR and my brain could go to the users, it would be great, I'd go on producing content but producing content means producing content, not thinking up content. So I've often thought about being a writer, I've often done that for things you don't know about, for fun, for YouTube and artists where you don't even know if there is a tie, because I enjoy it, but without putting my name on it and having all the hassle But every so often I still do it, like a child sticking their finger into the jampot and no one ever catches me. Because creativity moves in countless directions, for example, sometimes I miss producing, creativity in musical terms. And with some people sometimes I've let myself go, behind the scenes. That's what I miss, people say about the brain, for example, if you play music you activate a particular area, if you write you activate a different area, in terms of creativity. And sometimes I have areas of my brain that are hungry and sometimes I give them something to eat anonymously. "What's a typical day for you? Tell me about it, explain it." That's difficult, I don't have a typical day. Anyway, inside, schematically I'm divided in two, completely divided in two. The artistic, poetic, introspective part, the exorcising part, which is expressed through my pieces, and the pragmatic and managerial part, which simply makes me an entrepreneur and manager of myself. Which is almost a political activity, for the positioning of an artist. I don't know why, but it doesn't bother me, this thing doesn't bother me, everyone thinks it's a sacrifice for me, but there are days when I wake up and I'm glued to my emails, phone calls, things that seem to be boring but it doesn't bother me. I don't get huge pleasure out of email, I think I'd have to reach a state of beatitude to get huge pleasure out of email, but I don't disklike it and then there are times when I get huge pleasure, which is when I create. But in fact I know that one complements the other, and, for goodness sake, this is what artists have to realise, that you have no choice but to come to terms with the earth, given that you were born on the earth. "Tell me about your creative process. Describe it to me. As if we were showing it to someone. Show it to me." My creative process? (Your creative process.) Well, my creative process is like joining up dots, in my head. It's difficult, because you think: "Ah, I've seen a lamp-post, I've seen a butterfly", and then you understand. No, it's as if, both conceptually and in the use of materials, and in a specific image you might have in your head, it's as if, today I think of a dot, okay, I leave it there. I carry on doing other things, the things I do every day. Pak, another dot. Another dot, another dot. Perhaps it's 99% complete, the drawing of that idea, and then perhaps 3 years later, there are pieces coming out now, which I'm finishing now, where a dot might have come to me now, but the entire composition of the other dots began 3 years ago, 4, 5 years ago. So, when this one is completed, in the meantime there are the others and there are infinite drawings, like an immense Settimana Enigmistica puzzle, with that join-the-dots game I used to do on the loo at my grandmother's, which you continue composing in blocks. Each one is the creation of a piece. With others, I prepare all the material convinced I've got all my dots, I put them there, then, vrooom, they turn completely upside down and something else happens. There are so many different scenarios, but I think this dot metaphor is the best way of describing it. (What school did you go to?) What school did I go to? No, I didn't carry on with school. I began working at 14, I left school at 16 and I began working as an organiser for kids' events. Discos and clubs, events on Saturday afternoon, in discotheques, with kids. I had a monopoly for an entire movement, for years, thousands of PR, things like that. So I left school, then there was this stream, a single stream of consciousness until I got to where I am now. The best time of my life was when I left school, every time it's difficult to beat. It's really difficult to beat, I ought to be a footballer and win the World Cup, what other sort of intense orgasm could I reach, what other sort of liberation Do you know when I feel the sense of liberation I felt when I left school? When for a time I have a companion and then sometimes I somehow manage, with some fantastic excuse, to let go, I experience that liberation I felt when I left school. That thing when you say: "I can conquer the world." That feeling. So no, my education was private, I studied in my own way, life, history, art. What I needed, I studied what I needed, by myself, it was one of the events that changed my life. Then I discovered an introspection into matter, so there was a period when I faced a fear I'd had for many years, sleep paralysis, that whole world, and I discovered that it was a gateway to introspection, to enter a more subtle dimension. And I began travelling in that dimension. From there I made some videos years later, and now lots of people ask me for advice, even though I've already said everything and no longer want to talk about it. But that was what brought the radical change that led me to start doing art physically, at the age of 21. Whereas at the social level, leaving entertainment was simply a thing that objectively changed my life. Leaving school, all the goodbyes. The hello afterwards is always a bit more worrying than the goodbye. A great liberation with a pinch of fear, more than a pinch, of not knowing what will happen. But I continually have lots of little goodbyes, from a few months and hours ago, and all those little goodbyes generate small fears, micro leaps into the void, that's only a metaphor micro leaps into the void which I do all the time. Even just by pushing myself to the limit, often pushing myself to the financial limit, too. What I do is expensive and you have production costs. The machine works, but it works in a strange way, it's not as if I've set up a company. It's something else, so I put myself on the line, I jump into the void, I put myself on the line, I jump into the void, and so far life has always rewarded me, but always with an underlying sense of anxiety, I can't deny it. Although it's concealed, because I'm distracted, because I'm always on the move, underlying it all is a certain anxiety-inducing element. Almost imperceptible, but enough that I know it's there. How do you mean, what type of art do I do? "What type of art, there are various types of art." Let's say that a common factor in all my pieces is that they express inner feelings both my own and feelings channeled from other people around me or from society itself. Technology is a recurring theme, both in its use, as a tool in terms of its creation, and sometimes as a metaphor, to illustrate our present times. So, especially as regards sculpture, all these pieces have this ultimate fil rouge of technology, but they also talk about other things. Motherhood, for example. Motherhood is a theme I work on a lot. Because it fascinates me, because I feel an ancestral and direct connection with my being in one way rather than in another, with its traumas, its advantages, everything to do with the prenatal state and the natal state, partly of the father, but mainly the mother is something that is fairly decisive, so I often examine it. People think I want to leave a message, but I want to give them a tool, not a message. I don't claim to have a message I believe is an absolute truth. I would have a very limited vision if that were the case. I want to give people a tool so that they can see their own life, which any case takes everyone to the same root, basically, we all share the same stories.

Video Details

Duration: 21 minutes and 12 seconds
Language: Italian
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 17
Posted by: gabriella61 on Jan 16, 2019


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