Italian artist Stefano Bonazzi pushes the digital medium past its limits, articulating prints that address the human condition through an honest, unblinking lens. His work is an interpretation of reality, where nature meets its surreal second half and the result is just as unnerving as it is polished. Self-taught, Stefano defines himself as a ‘digital manipulation artist,’ and that says it all- he’s got the tools he needs to translate his inner perspective, and he knows how to use them.
A majority of Stefano’s scenes fall somewhere on the spectrum between peace and unrest, moved by a hard to place desperation. His sense of composition is a distinct parallel between natural and surreal; almost always, he places an abstract element against a conventionally pristine landscape or open sky. This establishes balance between the piece, and redefines the medium itself. Photography can be considered a tool of realism, some of its goals being to document, catalog, and beautify, but Stefano injects a highly personal narrative vein as well. His images do not reflect reality, but its many re-imaginings, opening them up to ambiguity and interpretation.
The human figure is a constant throughout Stefano’s prints, almost always being the focal point of each scene. Rarely, though, do we see faces; the figure is turned or the features are carefully obstructed. The human presence gives us something to latch onto; it’s a handle to the artist’s message. The lack of the face, however, poses the question of identity. Are these characters without identities or are they just too in tune with themselves to prove anything to outsiders? Are they hiding and afraid or simply disenchanted? The theme is recurring throughout the series Stefano’s work is organized into. One of these, a series titled The Last Day on Earth, features separate snapshots of various individuals- a harpist, a businesswoman, a dreamer- in solitude, under ominous skies, standing alone and awaiting calamity. It, like his other series, outlines a relationship between environment and character, laced with emotional vulnerability.
Stefano’s prints are altered digitally, but their tangibility isn’t undermined whatsoever by their technical nature. The technology is another way of translating the abstraction of the world we live in; to comprehend reality, one needs to push the limits of their mind, and Stefano encourages us to decipher his symbols until we come to a unique conclusion.