Modern Reality, according to Federico Clapis

Discover the world of contemporary artist Federico Clapis, an eclectic creator with an unconventional background: from social media sensation to internationally recognized artist, his sculptural works explore the complex relationship between reality and technology and the condition of the human soul in the modern society.

​Federico Clapis was born in Milan in 1987, and began diving into visual arts by producing viral videos on social media platforms. At the height of his media popularity, he then decided to convert his online presence into a platform to showcase his art.

This unique approach to the world of contemporary art tightly linked Clapis to the theme of technology in the modern age: his own life experience with media and innovation has influenced his most famous artworks, where technology itself is conceived as a metaphor for the contemporary in order to explore the human condition. Pieces such as Babydrone and The Connection strongly feature digital artifacts like drones and smartphone, incinting a deep reflection in the viewer about the current state of reality.

Using traditional materials like bronze, resin and cement, his works are a blend of artisanal techniques and forward-thinking vision: explore in our interview how Federico Clapis translates his introspection and intentions into beautifully crafted sculptures and drawings.

Tell us your story. How did you begin your artistic journey?

I started my journey into the art world eleven years ago, when I realized that I needed to express my inner state of being by creating something with my hands. Not knowing exactly how to go about this, I started exploring the web and social media and, after two years of observations, I figured that producing videos - and changing directions entirely towards a different type of content - could be a way that in time would grant me enough visibility to one day return to art. Over the course of the first five years, I managed to build an online presence with satirical videos entirely produced, written, and starred by me. After reaching the peak of fame on social media, I decided to officially bid farewell and announce that, from that moment on, all my online channels would be a platform to share my artwork. For the last four years now, I have dedicated myself exclusively to my art and, thanks mainly to social media, I succeeded in making this my job in which I continue to grow.

Can you describe the main steps in the creation of your pieces?

The steps are very different depending on the artwork. Some are more instinctive, born from recycled materials I might accumulate for months or years before finding their purpose and then, almost by magic, suddenly combine with other elements to reveal a part of my inner being that must emerge into an artistic form. Other works involve more planning and require several steps, from 3D-modeling to scans of my body, to develop a digital file from which basic models are created using five-axis robots: they serve to create rubber and fiberglass casts into which bronze, cement, or resin can be poured to craft the sculptures.

Where do you take inspiration from?

There is no specific inspiration. Rather, it’s a continuous stream of consciousness triggered by the need to express myself - whether it is sparked by something within me or something that, unbeknownst to me, I observe in people around me - that I am able to translate into an image only through art.

Your work clearly illustrates how technology is an essential part of new generations. How important is technology for you and your work?

Digital innovation is crucial for the realization of some of my works, but it is also a source of enthusiasm which nourishes me every time I am exposed to new technologies, new implementations, new softwares, new algorithms to learn and master in order to create small works of art. For example, I have created an Instagram filter which has a built-in virtual reality feature that lets you place one of my sculptures in any chosen city square. These small technological innovations allow me to express the ideas I’ve been envisioning for a long time.

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