ARTIST & MODEL
Every so often you stumble across a new subculture on the internet, one that requires you to resubmerge all your truths back into the murky waters of objective unknown. Amadeo is a person not a subculture, but his personality fills walls of the same dimensions.
When it comes to social and cultural commentary, a too thorough dissection tends to turn into an over-intellectualisation and then a righteous resentment of the subject. Not Amadeo, a lifetime spent scrupulously cataloging the absurdities of humanity has done nothing but deepen his love and fascination with it. To me that feels paradoxical. I cling to an older period in time, filled with The Smiths, no air-con and calling restaurants to order take-out. I resent automatic cars, vapes and social media, I don’t like that with every new element of technological advancement we’re introduced to, it symbolizes more time passing since Marissa Coopers death. I also absolutely pretended for far too long that I didn’t know what a thot was. I hate that I know what a thot is.
Amadeos relationship with the digital world redefines conformity to me, hearing him elucidate on the ideas of modernity with a respect I never thought to consider. I’m moved by his curiosity for the minutiae of a digital existence, his lens searching for and finding the beauty in absurdity. He’s surprisingly energized by an online universe and I suppose that after all, rejection of conformity is as exhausting as conformity itself. Maybe seeking the magic in an online world isn’t digital compliance but negativist subversion. Maybe all of this is subjective perspective, maybe none of this is real, maybe it doesn’t matter that the online world isn’t real either.
Amadeo, is there a constant theme you’re always trying to communicate through your work, a philosophy?
Not sure but I saw this image on twitter a few weeks ago that left a lasting impression on me and it said something to the effect of "I am neither joking, nor serious, but a secret third thing." which I think is true for me basically all the time. Mallace controls one leg and Virtue controls the other and they both want to walk at the same time.
Do you feel like growing up in a small country like NZ stunted your creative options or drove you to believe you could do and be anything? I’m from NZ originally so am curious.
The real ones know how to turn cabin fever into The Beautiful Drive. There's not much in the way of distraction here, so all that's left is work lol. There's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in....
Is there a seminal memory where you remember realizing this is what you wanted to do in life?
No. I never fell into a vat of toxic waste or anything so I really resent the idea of the artist's origin story lol. Closest thing I can think of is showing my mum drawings I had done after following youtube tutorials. She'd take one look at the advanced perspective and the shading and know immediately that I'd cheated. I was just trying to work smart not hard. I'm still that way I guess.
A lot of what you do feels like a narration on the hyper-modernity of life, your commentary of tech and pop. Can you tell me about that & what you’re communicating?
I really hate when artists go all "if I could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint it" mode but like yeah i guess that's really the truth. Whatever it is you get from it is what you get from it.
All I can really say is that I'm a frustrated, competitive, and scared little boy who is romantically interested in his phone whether the light from the screen is burning my retinas or its off and I can see my reflection in it, it's like a beautiful girlfriend that is also really mean to you. She's on my mind like a tumor. That's how I'm feeling in this world rn. We live in a society fr.
What fascinates you about modernity, tik-tok, social media, online relationships etc
Well obviously it's all absurd. At some point your neck tires from shaking it in disbelief so much so you just end up believing it. In my case I'm simply in love with it. Stockholm syndrome style. Kanye was in this interview one time and he said something to the effect of life being a video game which I always thought was hilarious because it's equally as true for the people inside the video game as it is unfortunately true for the people who have been burdened with the task of keeping the arcade machine going.
I'm not exactly sure when life stopped feeling real. definitely before I spawned in.
Do you think arts matter? Tell me why
Not sure what metric we're going with here but if we're talking about having sway in the world then the entertainment industrial complex has the real influence. Which is why I think art at the moment needs to rethink its distinctions from entertainment. As it stands the marvel cinematic universe, the tiktok ouroboros, or Mr beast youtube videos seem to have a lot more sway in the world than a painting or a pile of rocks in a white room or whatever. If you want iPad babies to care about art you're probably gonna have to find a way to get their attention away from something that is simply far more libidinally engaging. Refusing to contend with this is either futile or irresponsible imo.
If the studio is your classroom, what has art taught you about life or yourself?
I've been listening to the Lauryn Hill MTV unplugged album the whole time while writing out the answers to these questions and her spirit is so beautiful that I'm finding it really hard to answer these questions but in between the singing there are heaps of wonderful musings about life and all the rest of it so I recommend listening to that if you wanna know about art (mis?)educating on life. She also gives up speaking and chuckles just before strumming the guitar in that classic artist way that says "you wouldn't get it" which I'm finding weirdly insightful.
What form of art touches you the most personally; video, sound or image?
I'm really touched by a lot of twitter accounts. Scrolling through some accounts feels like reading poetry. The anonymous ones are the best. Because a new character emerges when it's not tied to your name or face. The performativity of online existence (lets just call it existence) parodies itself in these cases. Each account is distinct in their use of syntax and the frequency with which they post - also, their profile picture becomes like the artist's mark. A sweeping signature. My favorites at the moment are @heropilled (though he's not anonymous) and @c8ohe2cqqe092cq aka A Kind Face
What’s your next project, what’s inspiring it?
I don't think and tell. New planets on the way. Promise.
If you could tell someone who didn’t give a fuck about art to go and view one body of work (throughout time), what would that be?
I don't get too moved by a lot of gallery type work but the one that really did it for me was Arthur Jafa's 'Love is the message, the message is love' shit goes so hard. It's like if a tiktok could take a moment of your time to make you cry. It's also soundtracked by Ultralight Beam which as we all know is one of the great songs.
“Oh also here's a drawing of me hitting myself over a head with a rock”