TAKING OFF ANDY PICCI’S MASK
Andy Picci describes himself as “being the same as everyone else, nothing more than an addition of influences, an accumulation of experiences and a mix of my idols; I have a dream and I follow it.”
What made Andy orient himself towards the art was the impression of a lack of affection. His constant need to be loved brought him to envy cherished celebrities, and step by step lead him to build his vision of society, and later on shared his views and opinions through art in diverse mediums.
He left the Gymnase - not the gym, but the high school in Switzerland where he started Economy, when he realized it wasn’t meant for him. After a foundation year in fine arts at Ceruleum in Lausanne and a year in photography at ECAL in Renens, he decided to take a gap year, which helped him to focus on life, his desire and aims. Andy moved to Paris to study Visual Communication at ESAM Design for 3 years, and secured an internship in Les Gros Mots, an advertising agency, where he realized he didn’t belong in this field – “I am an artist, I need to express myself, make people think and move people”. He recently started his master of Fine Arts at Central Saint Martins to finally devote himself completely to the arts.
Picci’s work focuses on the concept of the mask - “Have you ever been to a masquerade ball? It’s magical… No one judges you: you are neither eccentric nor marginal, not even rich or poor, or labeled as city-dweller or provincial.” He creates masks from, and on different mediums, paints over strangers and celebrities, because at the end, it doesn’t matter who’s underneath the mask: he creates a visual notion of equality, everyone stands on the same level and this universality establishes a common empathy which is non existent in reality.
Picci challenges the perception of representation by questioning our interest in an artwork; whether if it is the person represented that catches our eye or the work itself? “Celebrity and Art has evolved since Warhol, it’s time to set the record straight!” He works according to his desires and feelings, he creates, loses interest and then starts again, stimulated by experimenting; this is certainly why he plays with different mediums, from photography to music, alongside with painting, writing, collages... and many more – “I think that each message has an appropriate medium and it would be nonsense to enclose myself within one.”
Picci supports Vanity’s theories; everything is in vain: “Life, What for? Being the richest one of the cemetery? What’s the point? Death is just another step of live. Maybe the last one, maybe not, we’ll see. What scares off people is death being a point of non-return. It isn’t a choice; it’s an imposed experience. Like Birth after all… But people forget that life is just a succession of experiences, they know what they will lose, but not what they will gain. A lack of courage maybe? Death always intrigued me, I have my idea on the way I’ll experiment it, but you’ll see it when times comes.”
The young and aspiring artist is foremost inspired by a number of legendary artists. “I’m inspired by so many people… Baudelaire, Wilde, Huysmans, Musset, Beigbeder, Blondin, Warhol, Liechtenstein, Almeida, Hirst, Mustaki, LaChapelle, Banksy, Mr.Brainwash, Dali, Picabia, Calle, Reed, Bowie, Presley, Doherty, Morrison, Baigneres, Hardy, Dutronc, Curtis, Doré, Gainsbourg, Gallagher, Katerine, Vian, Vicious, Morrissey, Richards, Tarantino, Anderson, Noé... I don’t know, I certainly forgot half of them!”
Picci recently exhibited his work with Pete Doherty at his Rag & Bone Collection in London, at Arty Show Gallery, Maison Welcome and Le Tigre in Paris. He was also the head of artistic direction and industrial identity for LeSpark’s first album, a Parisian rock band.
You probably already figured it out, Andy does what he wants and he loves! He expresses himself through his art; needing to mark time, maybe history. “But for now, the next steps are finding a gallery to be represented by… oh and also I would like to create installations… anyway, I digress!”
Words by Valentine Comar
Interview in Avenir Issue One, first published in October 2013.