Creative Showcase
We want you to be as inspired by your peers as we are so we put this customer community together, showcasing their artistic journey. These interviews are our way of highlighting their artwork, their process, their motivation and inspirations, as well as the artwork they’ve used to design business cards or postcards on our high-quality papers.

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Nicolo Sertorio: Disconcerting Beauty that Blends Romanticism and Reality
December 6th, 2017
Nicolo Sertorio's photography draws you in and engages you until you start to discern multiple layers of depth and meaning. Often times leaving you with more questions than answers...

How did you get started in the visual arts?

I come from a family of art and science professors. After college, I got my MBA in Economics as an excuse to ‘escape’ Italy. While spending a year in India, I experience a personal transformation that allowed me to recognize the lifelong joy of chasing the dream that is art and trusting that the whole universe would open up to me.

How did you get to where you are now?
I started in the corporate world thanks to my MBA. After India, I knew my heart was not in my chosen field of study but rather that I wanted to pursue art. I started out as an general assistant, working with many different kinds of photographers. I was able to touch many different kinds of photography. I didn’t follow the money. For me, it has always been about pursuing a vision and ideal.


How would you describe your work?
I have been influenced by my experience both in Europe and in the U.S. I work in fine art and commercial photography, mixed media, collaboration, and conceptual art. I am passionate to pursue projects that directly responds to the surrounding environment, a world torn between the concept of landscape in the ‘romantic’ way of old European masters and harsher reality. My work sometimes radiates a latent violence and inner drama, while disconcerting beauty also emerges among the multiple layers of meaning. With a conceptual approach, I investigate the dynamics of ‘landscape’, including its manipulation and the limits on our assumptions of what it means to us.


Who else’s work has influenced or inspired your work?
I see my influences as best described into three countries. First, Germany. My aunt Beate Schiff was a sculptor and teacher at Düsseldorf Kunstakademie. Second, Italy and the Renaissance classics and Romantics that studied and truly revolutionized the arts there. Third, the United States – particularly, New Topographics that specialized in American landscape photography, Stephen Shore, Robert Mapplethorpe, Richard Misrach and 80’s era.

Can you tell us about your creative process?
My creative process is best described as a balance between the rational and the unconscious. I have spent years developing the technical, cultural and visual know-how; I have studied the work of many others–painting, motion and video–I have dedicated myself to learn new equipment, new techniques. The power is when one is able to combine technique with inspiration to form one powerful moment of communication.


What’s it like being a freelancer?
High highs and low lows. Being a freelancer has forced me to experience ongoing personal growth and constant navigation of the extremes. As you might expect, the freelance lifestyle does not ensure regular income nor stability of any kind. However, for me, the irregularity and spontaneity allow for incredible flexibility, empowering responsibility and a life better lived. I am beholden only to myself and I am free to create.

What advice have you got for other freelancers?
Be patient. Diversify–your interests, your projects, your contacts. Love the instability. Make friends, always make friends. Not only will friends enhance your life, but particularly in the freelance world, they drive your future.

How do you grow and promote your business?
Like anything, the drive must come from within. I have an unrelenting passion for my work which pushes me constantly to engage in my community whether that be online, social media or in-person events.


How do you tailor your work for your clients?
I do a lot of research to stay aware of what is out there. I have a broad technical spectrum and am able to execute a good number of angles if you will, but I am partial to certain features that remain constant in much of my projects: negative space, emotion, depth, etc. My style is one that I am constantly honing to greater levels of excellence.

What interesting projects have you worked on?
My current project is the series ‘(Dis)Connected’. It was born of the idea that the current sense of disenfranchisement derives from the fundamental disconnect we have from the natural world and the social isolation that comes with it. In turn, the perception of the natural environment as something external drives our uses and abuses of resources. It is showing in five different group shows at five different museums and galleries–which is truly amazing and I am very delighted.


What areas of your work are you hoping to explore further?
In the future, I hope to engage a further integration of fine-art and commercial spaces. They are very distant disciplines, but I believe fine-art drives the commercial spaces. I don’t have the answer yet, but I’m looking to see if there is a way to bring the subject matter closer together. Reflecting upon where I have come from to where I am now to the future of what I hope to accomplish inspires me even more to pursue that which I am so passionate about. Thank you again,, for giving me this opportunity.

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