AmAzzing Art: From video games to Versace
TEO Magazine Issue 8 // Aug 2015
Words by Melanie Burton
Adelaide based artist and designer Azzurro started his business in 2014 with his psychedelic designs – producing posters, art, t-shirts and phone cases. Now, his business has taken off and his products range from mugs to shower curtains, cocktail dresses and duvet covers (just to name a few!) His career all started after Azz was in a dark place in his life, and he was looking to turn it around. Only a year later, he is living his dream of making art and music. We chat with Azz about his style, collaborations, upcoming work...and his Crash Bandicoot obsessions.
TEO: How did Azzurro Arts begin?
Azz: I was in a dark place and just decided to turn my world around. Now it’s turned into a design house representing all art cultures, with big plans for a positive future.
When did you know your passion was in art and design?
I’ve always loved drawing on everything, but didn’t discover art until I was in high school. I still don’t know any of the rules. I’m just turning what I feel into what I see, and I know that it is my passion because I love it, and I get to see other people feel it too.
Describe your style in five words.
Dark Intergalactic Crash Bandicoot Wonderland.
How was this unique style developed?
In my last year of high school I just totally disappeared into my art subject, studied some total legends of art, music and design history (Bowie, Yoko, Warhol, Lichtenstein, Gaga) and the stuff I was doodling in my other schoolbooks mid-lesson slowly began to change. I love disappearing into other lands and so my childhood wonderland, Wonka, and Crash obsessions turned into designs on hundreds of products that I sell on my website.
What process do you go through when designing and producing your products?
I just pump some funky music and feel it out, usually with heaps of food and a few selfies.
What inspires you? Who are your favourite artists/designers?
I’m obsessed with Gianni and Donatella Versace. The fashion industry and Anna Wintour also inspire me to take an aggressively, expansive and productive approach to my art business. My inspiration mostly comes from musicians, since I work so closely to music. Daft Punk, Shpongle, Placebo, old school PlayStation games, Crash, Spyro and Oddworld have all inspired me. I locked myself in my apartment for three months to play a disturbing Alice in Wonderland game, and I considered it a business investment. Because I make art so often it tends to warp into whatever I’m vibing off of at the time.
Your style is so diverse. Where do you get your ideas on what pieces to design next?
I try not to plan it at all. I also love so many different types of art. Experiments with new styles always spiral into new designs.
You have such a range of products on the market, from coffee mugs to shower curtains. How do you decide what products you want to sell?
I never stop hunting for new products that I can print on and sell. I’m continually amazed at what’s available. Right now I’m doing full print tees, onesies, tights, cocktail dresses, gaming console and controller skins, clocks and electric car chargers. I’ve sold so many mugs and duvet covers. There would be hundreds of products out there with my art on them, and it makes me feel surreal to know people are enjoying them every day.
What companies have you designed for so far, or would like to collaborate with in the future?
I designed a full-blown art menu for Spats Café, a wicked little late night dessert lounge in Adelaide. I’ve also done a design for Headspace in Noarlunga, South Australia, which will be sold on jumpers this winter, with proceeds going to youth mental health services. I just wrapped up my own art show, I’m finishing some work on a swimwear line and I am about to get into some animation and app development.
What is the best piece of advice that you have ever been given?
I watched a TED talk with Alex Grey about the evolution of consciousness through art and it blew my mind. “Every creative act empowers every other creative act…The great uplifting of humanity beyond its self-destruction is the redemptive mission of art.” That was the most inspiring advice I’ve heard.
What do you love most about your job?
Rolling out of bed and grabbing a coffee and sketchbook, and never feeling like I am working a day in my life, ever.
What is your favourite piece that you have created?
I love Artlands and Psychedelic Sunset, because they were some of my first pieces and they are so raw
to me. Artlands is a plan-infested, warped take on the real street layout of Adelaide, South Australia. Psychedelic Sunset is an illustrated continuous stream of consciousness and basically the first piece of art I ever created.
Is there anything exciting that you are working on at the moment?
We’re working on a million things at the moment. From an EP, to designing an app for empowering creatives, creating an all ages colouring in book, fashion explorations, a crowd funded community garden project, fashionable solar powered accessories glorifying glamorous eco living and a gift service where people send in unloved items and we turn them into insane works of art and send them back.
What advice do you have for other young designers wanting to get their work out there?
You can conjure whatever beautiful image you want into existence, with a laptop and tablet. You just need to be proactive enough to get your art to the people. If you can change one person’s day with your art, you’ve succeeded. You have to give up all doubt and take a massive leap of faith, because life always comes through with the goods.