Be the voice of your curiosity.
Jan. 16, 2023

#4 - Mia Santarelli: Art, Creativity, and Learning From a Famous Photographer

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Mia Santarelli is a creative, a photographer, and an art historian expert. While attending The Savannah College of Art and Design, she traveled to Italy to visit and learn from the late and great Italian photographer, Piergiorgio Branzi. She is a thoughtful creative who builds a great case on the Talk to People Podcast for the importance of self-expression. Support the podcast below:

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This podcast is a collection of conversations that I have had with a variety of people. Some deal with love, pain, ups and downs, or simply a passion that is unique to them. The goal of the show is to create a space where we can explore the nuances of being human and have some fun while we’re at it.

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and that means we're officially live so welcome to your very first podcast thank
you sir do you think that the energy changes now that you know we're officially alive
a little bit yeah but in a good way yeah yeah in a good
way it's it's stage time it's I remember whenever we were setting up the microphones the first time I brought
them back from Oklahoma and it took me so long to try and figure out even how it worked but once I
finally figured out the Audio I had been around the equipment for like four hours by then but once I hit record I was like
oh my gosh even though I had been around the audio equipment so long um so I still get that and I see like
the big podcasters who have been doing like Joe Rogan just dropped his 1800th
episode oh no way yeah so I think of 1800 different times where he's clicked
record and he's probably done more than that that didn't get released sure uh and I'm like I'm curious if he still
gets nervous you know yeah that anticipatory anxiety
because the beauty of the human interaction is that it's unpredictable totally right
and you can probably uh empathize with that right like that's where we get that
anxiety of not knowing exactly what's going to happen totally um but this is your first podcast so now you get to
check out the list absolutely uh and you can say well never doing that again
what a better way to kick it off than with my brother-in-law you know truly not everybody gets that opportunity so
so when was the first time you heard me talking about a podcast
I want to say maybe nine months ago I feel like you've been talking about it
for a long time nine months to a year you'd mentioned it kind of slowly throughout time and then I felt like
you were speaking about it in more of a serious way probably around that time from what I remember however could be
further back than that but yeah yeah so 9 to 12 months and then what's your uh
history of podcasts do you listen to podcasts I love less
your favorite podcast you'll find necessarily favorite I like a lot of different types
of podcasts I like listening to comedians a lot but lately I've been listening to a BBC podcast called in our
time so essentially it breaks down different different philosophers I ideologies and things
like that so that's been really interesting to listen to especially kind of getting different people's
perspectives on one thing yeah yeah trying to enrich my brain brain health
you know brain camp and that's a lot different than the comedians because you're listening to like Sebastian
Maniscalco totally mindless in a good way yeah yeah yeah but now you're listening to
Augustus yeah history podcasts as well been really deep into the ancient Roman
history ancient Egyptian that overlap so Augustus was the first what Roman Emperor
well that I don't know that I don't know
I'm more right now into Cleopatra and Mark Anthony kind of those relationships and Mark Anthony's previous wives how
many did he have um he had three total I think okay so fulvia Octavia and then
Cleopatra obviously wow so and I've heard of Octavia too yeah and she I
believe Octavia is one that had her brother was Octavius and he was a
bit of a troublemaker from what I've been hearing in these podcasts so oh boy yeah he was quite
young I think when he came into leadership I think he was like 19. Wow consort or something so wow so I was
watching this video and it talked about artists and one thing I didn't know is that
back in the day apparently it's not as much this case but back in the day a lot
of these really big pieces of art they were funded by like a patron and the
artist had a Creative Vision right but even more so was the patrons Creative Vision and saying like this is what I
want and they'd have a contract for it um and Augustus whenever he was Emperor
he had all of his like sculpture pieces make him look like he's in his 20s even
though he's like 60 70 you know uh because it was like Youth and the Vigor uh so it makes me think about that was
happening back in the mm-hmm what Greco-Roman area when they were making art with the patrons having the um
artwork so I'm thinking of all the brilliant artists who are like oh I want to make this but instead they made all
these other things because that's where the money was totally yeah yeah I feel like that is more commonplace and then
and even still now it carries through throughout history I think and it is interesting to see how the
that that imagery of that idealistic youthful representation of a leader
really they wanted to instill in the people that were following them like this this is who I am this is who I will
always be that perpetuity that presence of perpetuity even though they're they're mortal beings they're not
Immortal they tried to portray themselves in that way and that's really fascinating because especially sculpture
those types of things were in in public right so you're walking through the streets and you're seeing these things
you're being reminded that this is where you are and this is who you should be following kind of a
thing um so yeah do you find that interesting yeah I'm imagining like if that were the case now like imagine Donald Trump but
there's a sculpture of him and he's like 22. you know what I mean and he's like jacked and it's in front of the White
House it's like Photoshop before Photoshop existed right like the Instagram filter uh that's what Augustus
was doing back in the day and imagine showing up and you finally get to meet the emperor uh and you've seen this 20
year old ripped guy you know you're all alive and then you walk in there and it's this
old man who's like scratching his back like am I being punked yeah it's really
cool but before you came around here I watched a 30 minute video of art history oh wow did they Zoom you through just
everything yeah so I was trying to learn a little bit because I know that you
um studied art history for a little bit right but I was curious because you had like six or seven different majors in
underground laughs indeed right
so like I how did you actually end up with the final one
kind of by accident I from from the jump I was in journalism and because of that
program you had to take a foreign language well since I had already taken many years of Italian I thought
I'm just going to continue with that because I'm not only interested in the language but also the culture and
just kind of learning more about the history of the development of that country
so I started taking Italian courses at KU and through that course I
was introduced to an art history teacher who was teaching an Italian Renaissance
Art and Architectural history class and that's kind of where I came to find
that it was a pairing of things that I really enjoy history and visual art and
from there I just continued taking those courses and
um yeah and then how'd you end up as scad we were coming from a road trip
from the southern part of Florida back on and we drove through Atlanta
campus in Atlanta and my mom said why don't you check it
out and at the time I wasn't really quite sure what I was going to do it was a senior year it was yes right before
the end of my senior year so I think it was fall that fall time
um yeah and so I checked it out and they had a really great art history program and it just so happened that that
program was in Savannah Georgia and that's also an incredibly historic
place as many people know really rich in history so I felt like it was a perfect place to be to study that yeah and to be
in a creative space as well all the people that that attend that that school are there for a reason
um so there's a lot of you know interaction between different disciplines yeah that's cool it's like
you want to be at a important place that you're studying like meteorology in
Oklahoma is Big right because yeah the weather's so unpredictable there yeah so you get to live there and be there you
have this equipment it's like noisy um you end up studying our history at
scad so you're going to grad school there was this uh a surprise to you that you're studying
our history yes I would not consider myself very academic and in the sense that
we study art history are pumping out these articles and papers and stuff all the time right I never really considered
myself that I really just have a passion for learning about people
through the history of imagery and that's what art history is it's really learning about people in the way
that they've been represented and just learning different stories as well so yeah I did not expect to be doing
that and in this setting that I was in because Scott is a very you know very well respected school and I thought oh
gosh there's just maybe a 10 chance that they take somebody like me you know so
grateful that they did because it was a very time of growth and um yeah
challenge what did little Mia want to be oh boy other than Michael Jordan right
yeah I had a huge thing for Michael Jordan my email address still has this is 23 in it uh you know I felt like I
always really liked to create things even my sister and I Annie you know we
would go in the basement and we would pretend like we worked in our dad's office and we would create these little
sheets so just even things like that I always really liked being in a creative
space and really liked helping people as well
so I don't really know that I had a specific thing that I wanted to be some people have this idea I want to be a
doctor right or I want to be a nurse I want to be a teacher I don't really know that I ever had that moment as a kid
right yeah was there anything you didn't want to be oh yeah a lot of things
probably yeah yeah it was like process of elimination I feel like right that's how it's been with me I remember
whenever I was little I always wanted to be a professional soccer player if that makes sense yeah I love soccer that was
it I loved it so much and as I got older one of the things I thought about is from being a
professional soccer player was I wanted to do like the post-game interviews [Laughter]
which is so weird but like that's great yeah but like that's whenever I also developed like an appreciation for
talking and particularly with questions right like answering questions I love that idea of you don't know what's
coming down the pipeline yeah you know but here we go and let's answer it to the best of my ability
whenever you were younger you were the big sister right what's that like being the big
and uh quite close in a so the way it always kind of felt like we
were twins you know not only do we look alike but we're so close in agent also
our brother we're all very close someone asked me this question the other day about you know are you close with all
your siblings and I said well yeah to me that seems like such a natural thing
but I know that's not always the case I think being the oldest sometimes
you feel like you need to protect your younger siblings even if there's not
necessarily anything to protect them from right and also trying to be a really good leader
as well in a role model I think that those are things that have
been on my mind since I was little you know and being a really good
listener I felt like when we were kids you know listening to my siblings was
something that I really tried to do you know like when Annie told me to get her the scissors so she could cut her hair I
was listening to what she said and I actually did what she completed the mission totally so I was an accomplice
and all that but you know those are things that I feel like as the oldest sibling
did you feel pressure tons of pressure um if it wasn't external it was
definitely internal meaning I put that pressure on myself because I felt a
sense of responsibility to kind of pave away even though I like looking
back they took different paths you know what I mean it's not I don't need to pave anything so yeah yeah it's funny
that we get into that idea of Paving the way yeah because I'm on the opposite end
of the spectrum right as the baby yeah but I think I still felt pressure of I
was the last one you know so it's like this is our last shot let's make sure it's a great one and still
running off of that pressure can be tough when did you first get into your
first like art class and oh gosh when when we went to Montessori school I mean
for a time and then you know we kind of bounced around a little bit school-wise I vividly remember going to an art show
where one of our friends at the time had some artwork on display and there were
all these young students that had stuff on display and I thought wow this is so cool people created these they spent
time making them and they all look different right and to me I felt
like while there's no right or wrong answer I felt like just kind of growing up
um sometimes there was this pressure from you know external people
um in extended family that there's a right and a wrong way to do something and
having that moment at a young age where it's like wow okay it there's not a right or wrong way to express yourself
when it comes to Art there isn't it's just you and the material and you get to do with it what you want to do
and it's up to the viewer in a way to connect with it or not or respect it or
not but you're creating something that expresses maybe an inner feeling or
an inner thought outwardly and so that was kind of my first experience in
almost like a gallery type setting yeah and I think that was really pivotal in
me continuing to pursue that in different ways throughout my life from then onward and even now you know I
didn't necessarily actively know that I was pursuing that but I was right if
that makes sense right yeah it's a weird thing I was just thinking about it because with art whenever you're a
little kid you do create and with sports you show up and there's a defined metric
of success like score goals right yeah get on base or get the touchdown but
with art it's it removes some of that so that that that's interesting I hadn't
really thought about how like you said there's no wrong way to do it yeah do you think that a lot of kids how
do they get better at Art if there's no right or wrong way to do it like what is that process of improvement look like if
it's not you scored five goals this season and now you score seven goals next season
um I think continued exposure to creative opportunities is really important
um I think you're allowed to maybe refine certain skills
um for example you know my good friend Erica she had been drawing for so long because
she was continuously exposed to having those opportunities with a pen and paper to just continue to draw and now she
does it as her job like that's her profession so I think it's important for
them to have those opportunities and I think that helps in that process also in school yeah that's great but
also doing things outside of school because sometimes you just associate that then with oh I need to do this to
get a grade you know kind of a thing and we used to go to different classes
like at Pottery you know Ceramics places we would do things there and you and
your family would yeah and you would in the summer sometimes so it was great
your mom really made two artists out of YouTube right and expose you to like
this love for creation so what was one of the first things you created where you felt really proud of it
there's so many things leading up to it that I'm like replaying in my head like
oh gosh yeah you know uh and if leading up to that I'll
respond to that but I had a teacher who she she's an artist historian she was
she's a professor at scad and she said that her daughters bring home this artwork all the time and she's like
I'm a lover of all things art but some things just shouldn't be hung up oh no
she's like I have this this line that I've hung up in a room and they can put
whatever fits on the line right and if they want something else out there they have to take something down and throw it
away she's like you know and I think that's such a great way to kind of build
character and also kind of say everything you make is great but let's keep this kind of stuff you know let's
you select the things that should be on display right and I think that's also kind of building little curators and
artists in that way as well but I very vividly remember making this cat mask
out of clay and I think my mom still had it up until
like this year maybe last year when we were going through all this stuff and they moved
and I looked at it before I threw it out and I thought wow this was you know pretty good for someone who was you know
Young making it it was black black cat I must have had a thing for black cats at the time
um but yeah I remember looking at it more recently and thinking wow that was a lot better than I remember it being
you know do you think the black cat symbolized bad luck or Misfortune oh gosh
do you think little Mimi was thinking about that yeah some dark arts going on right yeah like what does this mean
what's the symbol of this art yeah what was one of the biggest art failures
you've had so far I know there's a lot of small ones oh gosh I think
in terms of my own creation watercolor paints are hard aren't those
unforgiving yes difficult to correct I think they're hard it's hard for me to
manipulate the colors in the way that I want them to lay on the page so I would say there's been a lot of uh
a lot of abandoned watercolor work yeah from me yeah yeah I think about the
jokes I make sometimes they don't land yeah and someone asked me about that and
I said well every now then you cook a bad meal you know and you have to be okay with
that and I think about that line and the art historian's room of her daughter's
work and how that's also a good exercise to manage ego because
I'm thinking of all the things that we create if we just limit it to like all right
I'm only showcasing five um like the all the trophies you could win but you can't have a big trophy room
just pick the five that you love the most like that would be a really good way to manage ego
um is that an issue with the Creator or the creative ego I think it definitely
can be yeah for sure um I think also depending on the
monetary value attached with certain artists and their work I think the ego
can be inflated easily but also there are you know there are people out there there are artists and creators out there
that do keep that in check as well so I feel like it just it just you know there's a spectrum there do you think it
drives greatness sometimes having a large inflated ego yeah
thinking of Michael Jordan I think if you're confident in what you're doing that's different than
having a big ego okay and I don't know if that makes sense yeah what do you think the difference is
I think having confidence in what you're creating is means you're connected to
to what you're creating and you believe in it in a way that you're like I I get
to share this with other people I think having an ego is like well this is about
this is representing me rather than this is a a creation for the sake of creation yeah yeah this is the me exactly yeah
yeah you're like take a look at me right I did this you know instead of
you know enjoy this as you wish to enjoy it because sometimes artists or creators
they give um kind of a description of the way they want you to interpret something or the
representation that they're giving Which sometimes is really great and then there are sometimes artists
that don't give anything at all and I think that's also kind of lends itself an opportunity for the viewer to connect
with whatever painting photograph whatever they're seeing in a different way because it's personal to you so you
get to see and feel how you want to feel about it but I also get the other side of it as well yeah yeah do you think
that ever upsets artists is they create this beautiful landscape and maybe they put a wooden ladder there because their
father was a painter and then it goes to a gallery and they're like now this
ladder is a critical commentary on the working class you know and the interpretation is much
different than the actual like intention of the artist yeah I think that's where
their voice comes in when their voice comes in in that way giving that description is really crucial if they
want people to notice certain things I think there is a certain responsibility
on the artist but I also think it's a responsibility on the viewer too to say Hey you know I'm looking at this
Photograph and I really want to know more about it or more about the artist to kind of take that initiative and look
into it further as well I think there's a lot that needs to happen you know to
appreciate that so yeah how would you define creativity hmm
creativity or the creation of art or just we'll start with creativity
I think that creativity is
kind of expressing the inner feelings and thoughts outwardly and also just
kind of lowering any walls or inhibition that you might have really being vulnerable I think being
creative means you're being vulnerable in a certain way and you get to share that with other people yeah
so you're expressing yourself and I've heard you talk about art with
that same phrase talk about the importance of art sure talking about the
importance of self-expression so why do you think it's so important for self-expression because I think a
lot of times um artists and creators are expressing things that are really common
feelings and emotions and I think there's such power in sharing that with other people because
you're like wow okay I really don't feel alone in this or I'm I'm not the only one who's feeling this way and I think
that in a way builds Community which I know you're really passionate about as well so I think having opportunities
where artists are really saying hey I have this Vision in my head of what I
want this to look like I'm going to create it I'm going to share it and I want people to feel connected to this
piece or to a group of people that are viewing this piece as well I think
that's really important and kind of uplifts people in a different way yeah
how do you think people become creative I truly think everybody is an artist and
I think everybody is a Creator in their own ways some people are really
comfortable with putting themselves out there on these huge platforms and sharing their art in a public setting
right and some people are artists and they just will create art and they'll keep it in their notebook and it'll be
there you know and it doesn't also have to be visual art it can be the written word it can be you know podcasts it can
be so many different things I think we all have a sense of creativity within us
it's just a matter of exercising it and maybe opening it up more and more through that exposure yeah and
what would one need to do to grow in creativity just keep putting yourself out there
yeah I like practice yeah just like anything just like in soccer you would continue to work on a certain type of
shot to be really good at that yeah and I think that's why a lot of artists you know they focus on one thing like
painting I want to be a really good painter they refine or they they want to be
really really skilled at painting faces or hands right they practice that so
much to the point where their paintings of hands look like photograph fans they look so real you know what I mean so I
think kind of practicing and just just going for it you know yeah it's so
inspirational whenever you see great art and to think that
a person in hell I had to take a break to go pee and then
to eat and then to drink water and then their dad probably may have been upset with them or maybe they're in a bad
relationship and then they return to the canvas and after several iterations they made
this painting and then you see it and you're like oh my gosh someone the same species as me made that you
know it it's really encouraging to know that we can create like that I know that
whenever a few weeks ago we had gone to the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City
and seeing all those paintings right and walking in there and seeing the
Picasso and the Caravaggio which was my favorite and
the Monet is like all these big names totally and you're thinking about how they dedicated so much time and effort
to create these pieces um and it's like well what could I do
that for you know like I I may not be the best painter but like for me right
now the Avenues podcast so it's like okay dedicate as much time and energy as you can to make it the best one right to
make it the one that people get to see and be inspired by you talk about
creativity and practicing how that expands creativity I know that with
soccer whenever I was a little boy I would watch this player Cristiano Ronaldo okay Portuguese and I always
wanted to be him and so many other people wanted to be in because he was handsome and he was a superstar and he
had that confidence and that bravado but the issue was was his playing style
like I couldn't replicate and I tried and I watched it so much and he's very
fast and electric and super Shifty and it was discouraging right because
I'd be playing with all these different people and then I'd see someone who could kind of replicate his style and
they'd be scoring the goals and attacking the ball and it was a couple years later until I found this player an Italian player
called Andrea pierlo and Andrea pierlo was a world-class player one of the best
in the world but his style was the exact opposite of Cristiano Ronaldo so he was slower and his whole thing was about
managing the pace of the game and people would give him the ball and he would
kind of look around and make the perfect pass it was all about decision making rather
than like being fast and being overwhelming and that was so encouraging to me because that was my natural
playing style right like I always had the coaches saying like speed up speed up or the teammates getting onto me but
I saw this guy who had played for the four biggest clubs in Italy and done great at all of them and he was slow so
I was like oh how cool so I think about that for creators and I'm imagining like
a young creator uh like seeing something and trying to
replicate that but it's just not them you know and after a while being exposed
to more and more stuff and finally finding that niche of finding something fulfilling to them
do you feel like you went down that process
being the person behind the computer writing the visual analysis of what I'm looking
at rather than sharing my art with other people I've not made that leap do you
want to I think eventually yeah it's also more about just building on my
portfolio and taking time to do that and I've not taken time to do that which I
need to if it were perfect in five years what would your portfolio look like I would have a really clear direction
for what I'm wanting to say about the world around me and
I think that artists are really careful in doing that it's very well thought out
for a reason right they have something to say and they're going to say it in this certain way and so I think I'm kind
of on this journey of figuring out what that really first introduction that I'm going to give myself is going to be and
I think that's the cool thing about creating content is that you get to choose when and how and where you want
to share it right now you know what I mean rather than creating something for a patron let's say in the Renaissance
period or something you would have to share that when the patron wanted that to be shared right
and so I think the cool thing about creating Art For Art's Sake is that you get to share it in the way that you want
to wow what do you think is preventing you from building that Master portfolio
I think there's definitely you know some fears attached with that you know you really are owing yourself out there you're putting
your put about the world out there and sometimes that can be a little intimidating you know really trying to break down
those barriers a little bit is has been a challenge yeah how do you do that
yeah Dahlia I guess the little stuff yeah little
steps and also just taking taking more time to dedicate to that because I do
think if if I was you know making time which there is time it's just a matter of carving that time out or not and
prioritizing that aspect of my life which I do miss because I feel like I
would I used to do a lot of that stuff I used to take photos and then edit them and kind of create these kind of mock
exhibitions in album form wow really but that of those have ever really been
printed or seen the the light of day kind of a thing so it's like right now
I'm just enjoying them and I'm sitting on these things that could be shared
with other people and so I look at all these other artists I'm like man I wish I could be like that and I can and I
will eventually it's just maybe taking me a little bit longer to get there yeah what do you like to take pictures
of I really like landscape photography I think that the land of a certain place
says a lot about the people there or the lifestyle in an area so I think that
tells a story in a different way and I also really like taking pictures of
people as well not necessarily portraits in that sense and I was just reading
something the other day about portraiture and how you know maybe we might have this perceived definition of
what that means meaning it's a picture of somebody's face but it could be so many other things and I think that's
such a great way of describing kind of the fluidity of just that one idea
yeah is saying it could be that you know it could be somebody's
hands up close I mean think about all the lines in your hands I feel like that's kind of a road map in a way
there's some symbolism there you can also kind of maybe tell the type of work that someone's doing if they're working
outside a lot they're working with their hands there's going to be some texture to to that that might be different from
someone who's working um in computers and on the computer all day so I think there's
you know they were discussing that their stories to be told by just fragments
of the human body right and also fragments of a place as well
I'm telling a story you know maybe you're taking a photograph of the wheat fields in Kansas that's telling the
story about you know where you are geographically but also maybe the labor that's being put into taking care of
that and then thinking about where that wheat goes after it's harvested right
how that's helping other people so yeah who have been important artists in your
life oh gosh there's just so many that I think you know anytime I see their images
their paintings or representations they're they make you emotional in a
good way you know you're just kind of I feel like you're you're opening yourself up in a way just by looking at something
I mean that's so powerful and you're sharing a space with it I think there's something to be said about physically
going to a space and experiencing art in the place that it's displayed right
um that adds another layer of just you know that emotion to it but I would
say there's one particular artist that I love his name is Pierre Giorgio bronzi
and he is a photographer in Italy he's he's just incredible and I found him on
a fluke I tracked down his contact information
by trap tracing his exhibitions in Italy
to this Gallery in Milan and I reached out to them and explained hey I'm a
student at scad I'm in this history photography class and we have this
project where you can choose any landscape photographer essentially or any photographer and write this paper
and so I saw one of his images and I was like dang okay I gotta figure out if
he's still alive because he's in his late 90s and also you know how can I
find out more about him because there's very minimal information about him online
especially from more academic resources right so there's certain websites you could go to and find stuff about them
but I really wanted to know more about him and how he got started in this
and just there were just so many questions swirling around in my mind so I approached this Gallery in Milan and
they said yeah hey you know we've actually reached out to him he just did an exhibition here not long ago here's
his email address so I'm reading this message and I'm like what the world
so yeah I was thrilled in the lease and I eventually went to go meet him and
interviewed him all in Italian because he does not speak any English so that was
a very unique experience in its own right yeah what was it about his work
that spoke to you I think the way that he used especially
black and white photography to kind of capture the varying emotions after World
War II in Italy there's kind of and even still people discuss this and debate
this this north-south divide in Italy right people from the north are really refined and well educated and you know
you think about metropolitan cities like Milan for example it's this Hub of there's Banks
there's fashion there's just all of these really really refined things and then a lot of times people perceive the
South as you know um an alphabeto which means like they
couldn't they were illiterate right and I just saw something the other day too
about how there was I don't know his name but somebody took it upon himself to kind of create these mini courses for
people in southern Italy around that time maybe a bit later to learn how to read and write because a lot of them
didn't have this schooling opportunities that other people would have because they worked you know on farms they did
all this physical labor and stuff so I just found that the fact that he
traveled from you know Florence or wherever he was living at the time South and he did this trip on his motorbike
right and met all these people and spent time with them in South Italy yeah and photographed
them in a really respectful way that kind of said the south is so much more
than you perceive it to be and I thought that was really kind of a brave thing to
do at the time uh because there was that kind of division even after something so
traumatic as World War II you know there was such fractures in in societies all
over Europe and all over the world obviously so I thought it was kind of really moving that he was trying to
really bring people together and through photography well yeah so he humanized
southern Italy 100 and contradicted this narrative that they were
not as sophisticated or not I think he amended that narrative um really elegantly and you know he's
known for being a journalist so I think kind of had that practice of interacting
with people much like you like you are you know what I mean you you practice that and then you kind of take that in a
direction that that maybe he didn't expect to take it in uh because it's
they're really artistic representations not as much journalistic representations
if that makes sense yeah and what would it look like if it was more journalistic you think more
like pieces and like yeah I think you know typically you're
you know you're writing an article you're getting a story to produce to put on this platform to talk about something
in society why the South sucks right and he's creating these images because he
sees that these people are people and they have something to say about where they live they're proud where they live
you know and they're proud that they're still contributing to society
I mean without the farms and agrarian regions in Italy would they have the
things that they have probably not you know I mean it's hard to know that but I
think that he really kind of made a point to say that and to allow them to
say that about themselves so how do you think you did that with photos how do you mean like I'm imagining all
of that being spoken or written and that being quite difficult to amend a narrative especially
like a narrative being held with like superiority and inferiority and people
and so what was it about the pictures that you think said all the
I think he captured a variety of things you know from youth to seniors
and doing different things some of them you know were like smiling and happy and
there there was almost this uplifting um sense to all of his images even if
they were you know kind of maybe experiencing a hard time or doing really difficult physical labor as well there was almost
just it's like you know they're they're doing all this work and they're they're happy people though
um you know and capturing the Simplicity of the architecture as well I think was really important to him lots of clean
lines really smooth surfaces and things like that showing that you know they're
not just living out in the open they they're Advanced people yeah it is a society
there are little towns and Villages and people have built things it's not you
know they're not Nomads just roaming around trying to figure it out there's
established places and people are working you know so in Horrible Bosses
where he says they're not tribes yeah yeah right it's a developed City yes yes
I think he also kind of expressed this idea that even if they're they're maybe not literate they can't read or write
they are still so important and they are still a part of that
country you know they're a part of what it means to be Italian it's this Unity
this sense of unity which I think had been lost you know during the world wars
so yeah was there civil war between them North and South Italy
Civil War it's it's social thing right from my understanding how ever I could
join the club yeah but you're probably a disclosure a lot more right than wrong whenever it comes to this were you
nervous whenever you were going to interview him
just less nervous and more excited I also thought oh gosh okay I gotta brush
up on this Italian yeah no kidding because uh you know I was a little rusty but luckily with this you know the
program at scad you also needed a foreign language so I was keeping up with that and a lot of the articles I
had used for certain classes were also in Italian because that was really my focus was more Italian art
So reading those helped a lot with maybe learning more of the complex
sentence structures and things like that but I was really excited I remember I
went over there it was around St Patrick's Day and I stopped in Dublin on St
Patrick's Day that was my connecting flight wow and so I got to Rome and I
was just I was pumped I could not believe this was happening and I met my Dad's cousin dinilo while while I was
there and he said oh you know we'll go to the seaside for a day I'm like sure why not I'm gonna give this interview
like a day and I'm a little bit nervous but that's I feel like that's the
Italian way you just yeah we're gonna enjoy every minute of every day let's just go to the seaside sure what an
awesome buffer for your nerves totally and I obviously this was all in God's timing and I think it was so crucial for
me to have somebody like Danilo because he is so Carefree goes with the flow
loves a good you know bite meal totally a foodie and I think being around that
relaxed attitude helped tremendously and also it was
during that time when I got to meet his brother titsiano which if I'd met him I was so little I
didn't remember him and that was a gift and I also got to you know spend time
with his dad and then Zia Maria who we were driving through the village where
my Nana's family is from and that also I think helped put me in the spirit of
okay this is also really you know an agrarian place people Farm here if they
had Farmland so I got to kind of see that as well and it's such a small town
built into this little Hillside and so I think to be there was really inspiring
and helped me kind of place myself maybe in some of these photographs that he had taken right I was kind of
Blown Away by the Simplicity of life and how happy people were and still are
um and just kind of soaked that in so yeah I think that helped set me up it
seems like a lot better than a zoom call Totally oh my gosh can you imagine had you stayed in Savannah and just been
like hey could you set up a link and we'll I'll ask you these questions it would have been an absolutely different
experience I don't think I would have gotten what I what I did out of it had
it been a virtual thing and I'm just really grateful that he was willing to meet with a nobody from Wisconsin you
know to talk about photographs that he'd taken a while ago and I think that says
a lot about him as a person you know and he's also quite famous in Italy they're like um you know my cousin or my Dad's
cousin danila was like oh my gosh we're going to his house you know and I'm like well yeah I don't know to me it's just
getting together with you know somebody who I really admire
but also I see him as a person first because that you know that cultural
thing I don't really know him the way that people in Italy might know him totally what was the conversation like
well it kicked off with so I spent the day there with him his wife Danilo and
then one of my good friends Anne-Marie she and I had met on our study abroad for KU
and she actually met me in Rome so we could go there for the day and that was
just wild we're driving through compania which is not far outside of Rome
and we're driving through you know these Hills and stuff and we pull up to this
gate and I'm like okay here we go guys you know and I have
my little camera bag and you know I've got these notes on hey one of these
images you took looks like an Edward Weston photograph is that something you were trying to achieve or what's the
connection there so I had all these things that I have lined up to ask him about his own work because there was so
little you know academic literature on that and I thought this is a really
great opportunity I mean I'm writing my thesis about this man so I've got it
just soak in every single second ask him all the questions and so we walk in and his wife is just
an absolute doll he is the sweetest I mean they're just the sweetest pair
and they wanted to you know have a little appetitivo so we had some champagne we were she's like oh we just
have something light I mean it was pretty much a four course meal wow so it
was very much a leisurely afternoon and we kind of sat and just got to know
each other first which was huge I'm sitting in this chair like oh my gosh okay you're nervous totally but I think
having that time to get to know them both helped a lot and also having Danilo
there I mean I would say I'm pretty Advanced Italian however there are some
things that are still just difficult for me to grasp so having him there helped a
lot with maybe some translation issues that might have occurred and
it was just great we filmed in his little porch area which is also his
Studio he still creates paintings and photographs and he's just awesome wow so
what's one thing he said that you remember so he said
swim against again there's so much in those few words
that are really it's really powerful I mean think about how strong currents can
be whether you're in a lake or an ocean any body of water right people swim against currents for strength training
and I think wow swimming against the current that's hard that's a really
difficult thing to do right but I think there's so much reward in doing that
um I think you're you know you're changing the direction of something you're changing the pace of something
um you're sharpening yourself but you're also maybe sharpening others in the process and you're learning from others
too so I don't know that stuck with me and he lived that out with the whole northern and southern Italy yeah and
even been traveling you know to places like Moscow and just kind of capturing cultures in different settings I think
that he wanted to kind of maybe change the current meaning change the ways that
people are represented and I think he achieves that so
so he just passed away recently no I as far as I know I haven't talked to him
unfortunately in the recent months so I'm assuming that he's alive and well I
really hope so I read online that he may have just passed away oh gosh I
because I was I read this and I was gonna ask you about his legacy you know
like how do you think he'll be remembered but before I yeah I haven't talked to him in a couple months so this
will be sad August 27th well no wonder I haven't heard from him in a couple months
is how do you oh man how did you talk with him mostly was it the email email
yeah yeah oh gosh well I'll tell you what
his legacy lives on he's 93 years old and he was still creating whenever he was I mean when I
visited him two and a half years ago wow so how do you think Pierre Giorgio
bronzi will be remembered I think he'll be remembered for so many different things but I think the the thing that I
will remember him most by is his kindness I mean he did not have to be as kind as he was to me like I said nobody
from Wisconsin you know some Joe Schmo just trying to trying to write a thesis
paper uh so his kindness more than anything and
from what it seems that he was just kind in so many different settings when he was
interacting with the people he photographed I think that that says a lot about him as well kind
of treating your subjects with that respect he didn't treat them like okay I'm the photographer you're the subject
he's like I'm here to experience Where You Are
and learn about you and also represent you in a photograph if that's okay with
you kind of a thing um so I think you'll be remembered for that I also think he'll be remembered
for you know swimming against the current and encouraging other people to do the same I think that's such a cool thing
that he said to me in passing right you know as as I'm leaving he's signing my book and I'm super excited that he
signed the books I brought um that have his photographs in them and he said that and I I believe it's in one
of those books that he had written that too so I think he'll be remembered for that and also just
kind of using photography as a tool to talk about social issues or maybe kind
of break down some social barriers I think he'll be remembered for so many things but those are just a few that
come to mind I hadn't thought about photography in such detail what do you think
photography if done well can really do oh gosh there's a great debate about
this I was just listening to a podcast that in our time podcast and they talked
about Walter Benjamin and essentially his theory about
um the work of art and age of mechanical reproduction which is Photography in essence right
um photography is a mechanical reproduction of something you're seeing or experiencing and his whole idea is
that the aura is disrupted because it's a machine
right so when you have your hand in a paintbrush and a canvas there is a
different Aura to that than there is when you're photographing so I think that photographs though
can really even though they're produced by machines really it's the person behind the
machine that's framing it and the way in a certain way and it makes you feel
differently than you would you know if let's say you see a picture of
the pyramids at Giza right you might feel differently if you just see a really small portion of that rather than
seeing the big portion you might feel differently seeing you know a doorknob of a place than seeing you know the full
door I don't know I think it could go either way but what I mean by that is it's really a human who's actively
creating that frame for you to feel a certain way and I think photography can
emit that because it's a human behind the camera yeah
yeah it's it makes me think of this is a silly thought it could be
sillier but the cavemen riding on the walls of the cave with berries and then
someone walks up with a paintbrush and they're like get that technology out of here yeah
like that's trash come on yeah that disrupts the aura of the berries yeah
you know like we don't want to use the paintbrush but that is a trend of art
not a trend a movement of art that digital art is so big right and it's
growing more and more and more but there's such brilliant pieces that
can be made and I'm curious it makes me wonder like you and I going to Nelson Atkins and
seeing the van Gogh and the Picasso I wonder what that's going to be like in
100 years with that Advent and the population of like
digital art is it just going to be do they just print them out and put them on walls like we do now or is it just going
to be like walls of LCD screens right going in and out what do you think
that's going to look like in the future oh gosh I think there's so many different ways that people you Express
visually even now there's so much video art created from you know
you know oh my goodness I forget her name at the moment but essentially She searches a word on
Instagram or Flickr or something like sunsets for example this is one that she's done
and she'll take all of the pictures of sunsets and she will print them out and makes
she'll make a huge collage of all the sunsets to show this sense of everybody
sees the sunset right but there's this thing about sharing it through these
media platforms or sharing it with other people digitally that we just can't get
off of you know everybody's hooked on this and even if you try not to be you are in a way you know so I do think that
you know having access to digital creative spaces is important because
you're also allowed to kind of disperse your art in a different way you know
maybe more widely and some people might argue that that kind of takes away this
special notion of wow this is the Mona Lisa right this is the one the only I'm
gonna travel all this way to go see the one and only some people might argue that it kind of
takes away that element of it but I think also our society is changing so much too and art is changing with it
and you know it's all fluid you know how do you think art affects Society I think
that's I think interchangeably I think they both affect each other um
you know I look at someone like Jean-Michel Basquiat so he was a painter
kind of active the the 70s maybe and he was so focused on
kind of expressing these dichotomies of like inner versus outer poor versus wealth like he was really
interested in that and think about what was happening during that time to of also of like Studio 54 kind of this New
York essence of you know you have these really really wealthy people in New York but you also have these really really
poor people um who are suffering and so there's like these two extremes and I think that he
really he I'm just there's so much to impact with his paintings and I think he
was an incredible artist so I think with that that's a really
good example of seeing the ways that what was happening in in the place that he lived or the society in general that
art can express that or it can also express your your personal feelings about what's happening too and I think
also art can be created to maybe represent Unity or division or you know
different things that are happening um in unique ways that maybe say wow well that mural really made me think about
I need to be better with thinking about the environment or you know things like that yeah so that's how it would impact
Society yeah yeah that makes sense it I'm imagining I was watching a video and
was talking about Egyptian art and how style is really important whenever you're assessing art because
like different regions have their own Styles and it was like even though a hundred
years had passed this Egyptian face had very similar features to
piece of art that was made later totally because it was the same style right and
then Coptic Christianity got introduced to that region and it completely changed the style
and it showed the result of an idea coming in or like ideas or Society
changing and how that impacted art and it makes me think of like right now
if you're in Egypt you can have access to Lawrence Kansas online so
I wonder how that's going to affect style and like will there be Regional
Styles still or will it grow to a place to where since everything's on Instagram
or Pinterest or Flickr that you start to see that Unique Style
go by the wayside um you know hard to tell um lastly I do think that there's lots of
borrowing you know people feel inspired by certain things they see even throughout history I mean you know the
Greeks had been you know creating these structures and things and then the Romans also were and I think there's
lots of borrowing in that you can see when you look at them they're not the same they're not the same but you know
you can tell that certain techniques were like oh wow that works really well for them let me see what we can do with
it here kind of a thing and I think the same goes for that I don't necessarily
know if like Regional Styles would ever totally dissipate but I do think there's
a lot of you know cross interaction and I think that's a good thing because new
things that come out of that interaction
and having access to that information too yeah that's important right it makes me think of like the best creatives are
those who have been and this isn't the case like I'm not saying this is the objective definition
for greatness but it makes you think that a great creative is one who's been exposed to so many ideas and then boom
they create something out of it which makes me wonder about how there's really good kid
prodigies because they haven't really been exposed to that many ideas
but maybe they've just been exposed to a couple and they're really good at them
important if you're being curse press yourself in different ways or maybe just to seek out information if
you have questions you know hey what what did this look like for ancient Greeks or how did they build the
Acropolis or things like that I think you know if you're encouraged to seek out that information or if you're you're
actively you know interacting with that I think that helps a lot and also you
know sometimes people are you know recognized on social media because
they're putting themselves out on social media and then they're like wow did you see this kid he's painting just like
Basquiat where he's painting just like Jackson Pollock and so I think that's another Factor too
people are saying I'm gonna actively share this online it's going to be you
know more discussed than something that isn't because of the way that we live we
live on social media yeah do you think that's going to reduce creativity
no I don't think it would reduce I think if anything people are able to maybe connect let's say a painter connects
with an architect through social media and then this really great project comes out of it I think it allows more for
Connection in a different way and maybe creating things in a different way yeah
yeah it's it's weird because we have you and I have like such
immediate access to creating things nowadays it's wild right like before
more than ever we can communicate to more people than ever technologically possible but one of the side effects of
that is that we see all this creation and like for me I see all the great
podcasts yeah which is cool I can watch Lex Friedman and totally I can hear him
and understand what he's doing but that can kind of Psych me out right and uh make
me nervous and be like oh man I don't know if I can be on that level and so it's a funny side effect is that we we
have better access than ever before but another byproduct is we also have
exposure to more and more and more and sometimes it can be hard to go from
consuming content to creating content totally one of the things I've been wondering about what we're talking is
you know history is a good uh help whenever we think of Michelangelo or
when we think of bronzy like these incredible artists who their work is
built a legacy and with bronzy Society was a certain way and that societal uh
sentiment impacted his art and he made this art that like you said amended that
narrative uh like he he did that who do you think is an artist who's doing that now like as we speak in modern day
Society is creating art that is impacting great question yeah I was
wondering that I don't have an answer for that I I would say I'm not really in
tune with a lot of contemporary artists yeah so that's something I don't don't
know yeah but great question and it makes me think of like pop cultural
significance like Kim Kardashian right like you hear her and it's not exactly
like she came um through the she Rose to prominence via fashion or via entertainment like
there's a lot of different things but she became a cultural icon and I wonder if we ever mix that up
with being a good artist or like being remembered yeah from work sure
yeah I think so I mean I think an artist that comes to mind who really discusses
that in his images is Andy Warhol he was obsessed with this idea of celebrity I mean he did pictures of Jackie O
um just that the reproducibility of those images he would do you know like four or The Soup cans you know it's um
one of those things where yeah there's this idea we have of people being famous
but what are they really famous for so yeah I would say that that Kim K
probably falls under that as well yeah it's like like Michelangelo I saw this
sculpture Dawn and dusk have you seen that before with the Medici it was like over a Medici tomb and it was so cool I
was like whoa like I want to see some Michelangelo um his statue of David yeah massive huge
I mean people travel all over the world to see it obviously for obvious reasons I mean it's one of those things it's
like whoa that's who we need to go see next is Michelangelo but I'm thinking like with the Michelangelo it's like
okay you go and see the pieces but with celebrity it gets to this point where
like I know almost anything they do it's like people consume it as if it's
art like it's content right like it's quite weird yeah the way we associate
Wonder with celebrity um it's odd to me yeah it is what's your
artistic future look like I'm just going with the flow yeah
you know S no telling and what does it look like
now right now it's pretty at a place of not growing but your work I mean you're so you talk
to me about being a little kid and how you like creating things and you like making people feel nice and that's what
you're doing now right is your you disagree
yeah no no yes loud and clear right that was really
clear of you um but do you do that at work because
you're creating things and there's people who are partaking in that and so be it creative activities or creative
displays or creative pieces of work you know they get to be a part of that and I
think that matters a lot uh but it almost seems like whenever we talk about creativity you have something
else in mind and since you uh may not be
partaking in that specific activity like you said you're in a state of not
growth you're so funny what how'd you get so funny
you did something you did something to get you so funny yeah I do you remember when we first met
where were you came to wait for it to Wake Forest boom what's the um for
anyone listening okay and their sister's about to get married
what's that process like of getting to know the brother-in-law I mean I consider myself really blessed
because you are just honestly incredible and every time I
talk about you people are like oh that's your brother and I'm like well yeah that is my brother I mean and I know that's not always the case
um so to feel like man we hit the jackpot with Prince you know I read we
at the jackpot you know so just having you know even having the opportunity when you showed me around Wake Forest
the first time I met you that was honestly some of my first moments with you and I was like okay I
see why Annie's like this is this is the dude this is it for me and so just it's
been so much fun to see you guys grow and to also grow my friendship with you
um because I do feel like we have a lot of similarities in certain ways and it's
it's just been fantastic to feel like wow my sister married this incredible man but also I have gained an incredible
friend and brother out of this as well so yeah just enjoying those moments together one-on-one bonding time you
know yeah like we went on a pretty long road trip together 100 you're a trooper
yeah getting to listen to different podcasts together talk about you know certain opinions on on things hot takes
yeah a lot of hot takes laugh together yeah I I hit the jackpot if anybody hit
the jackpot it's like you hit the scratcher jackpot
I hit the Mega Millions you know yeah like different different levels to this
but yeah it's funny because your relationship with Annie you all like very unique obviously the
sister relationship and you'll have such a good relationship but it's not something I'm replicating
with Annie and like my relationship with you is not something Amy's replicating with you you know what I mean yeah but
there's similarities that like you're a comforter Annie and so am I and like
yeah like that's why we get along well with Annie you know what I mean and like we Bond
over that like we have similarities to in a lot of those instances but yeah I'm
so glad that like I said I won the Mega Millions you won the scratchers
um how did you get so funny yeah well it was a lot of study for me
I studied a lot I cooked a lot of bad meals and I still cook a lot of bad meals uh welcome to the club yeah yeah
you've cooked a few you've definitely cooked a few laughs hahaha
I've been present for some but here's the deal it's just like the artwork like your pasta that required a knife
at least you created it you know I'm the one scrolling Flickr I haven't put my stuff out there
um I guess every now and then I'll cook you a meal but make a sandwich that's out of this world yeah I make a good
grilled sandwich it's like the I can take good portraits
That's it man um but yeah I'm I'm glad that you know we
get to collaborate and uh in life uh and
be creative together because creativity is super important right yeah yeah and
arts for everyone and we need people to be more creative uh Express themselves
yeah thank you for being here thank you Chris yeah thanks I have so many more
questions no no but I figure you can just come back on because you're such a natural that's one
of my favorite yet oh yeah this is what he said says all the time yeah I'm looking down at my script right
this is one of my favorites reading off the screen yeah but we have a minute an hour and 20 minutes okay we're gonna
have to shave some of that off don't you think some of that's gonna be an edit that's an edit
the the middle 40 minutes of cutting out that's whenever we started to lose you
we're keeping them all okay everybody we will see you next time all right ciao