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Alessandro Tomassetti - ‘MusicMan’

Artist Alessandro Tomasetti speaks about the experience of curating ‘Music Man’, a uniquely interactive themed iARTistas on-line magazine published by Didi Menedez.

How did you arrive at the concept/theme Music Man?

In my own work, all of my paintings are connected to and titled after a song so when Didi Menendez asked me to come up with a call about men for her iARTistas magazine, I just went with what came naturally. I thought it would be interesting to see how other artists reacted to the boundaries laid out in Music/Man. Was it always your intention for the music that inspired the artwork to play in conjunction with viewing the images?

My initial thought was that there would be a playlist to accompany the catalogue but once Didi got her magic publisher hands on it, Music/Man became this beautiful interactive experience, beyond what I could have imagined for it. Was the curation process made easy or difficult by any factors? Was anything surprising?

One thing that I found challenging was to put my own musical tastes aside and consider each song as it applied to the artwork and vice versa. There were times early on where I’d find myself mentally choosing a new song for a particular piece and I’d have to refocus to try to feel the connection between image and song that the artist intended. The final result showcases what I feel were images and music that are elevated by their pairing.

In terms of surprises, I guess I was most surprised by how personal and deep the storytelling went with many of the entries. I had expected the majority of submissions to be archetype characters from songs, like the “Son of a Preacher Man” or “The Man With The Golden Gun”. Instead, we received many touching tributes to important or inspiring men in the eyes of the artists (husbands, sons, fathers) as well as some featuring myth-building, political statements and very-timely messaging.   What has been the response to the publication?

There has been a genuine appreciation for the immersiveness of the publication; people have felt transported from their day-to-day while looking and listening to Music/Man. I have also received several comments that galleries should think about music pairings with the work they show as a way to extend the experience. What does it mean to you, to be able to work with creatives from around the world at a time when things still feel so uncertain?

If I am completely honest, where last year was disappointing because so many of our exhibitions and events were being cancelled, this year seems worse because of the holding pattern that makes planning futile. So, I feel a deep sense of gratitude that there are people like Didi Menedez looking for ways to make this uncertain time for artists more meaningful. With Music/Man, there was an exciting sense of engagement from the international artists who participated, something collaborative rather than competitive, like a coming together to tell their individual part of a larger story. I, for one, would like more of this.

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