Interview: Giusy Amoroso Fuses Digital Art and Footwear
Having worked alongside the likes of Nike and Reebok, digital artist Giusy Amoroso is one of the sneaker world’s up-and-coming creatives. Inspired by Italian greats from the past, she conceptualises ultra-modern 3D works, which need to be seen to be believed. We caught up with her to break bread on her come up, her artistic approach, and to see what’s in the pipeline.
Giusy, let’s start from the beginning. How did you get into graphic design and immerse yourself in such a tech-embracing space?
Actually, I have never been into graphic design, my journey is rather unusual. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, and then decided to enrol in an art institute studying interior and product design. From this, my passion for digital art was born, but I've always been into technology, and especially video games.
During my academic journey, which was characterised by boring rules, I was attracted to the digital creation of the products I designed, and I began to conceptualise directly in 3D rather than on paper, breaking the tradition of ‘classic’ design. The creative process does not follow any tradition, and has no rules for me.
What I’m attracted to is the fact you can create anything, combining unthinkable yet real scenarios in some way. This inevitably leads to wonder about the possible existence of these scenarios.
Coming from Italy, were there any legendary designers, like Achille Castiglioni and Vico Magistretti, that you were inspired by? If so, why?
Certainly the great maestri of design have been a source of inspiration during my academic career, but not just them. What I have always appreciated about the Castiglioni brothers is the experimentation and practicality, the refinement and simplicity of their creations that have revolutionised Italian design. The elegance and purity of the forms have made their objects so iconic as to be considered true works of art worldwide, found in museums such as the MoMA in New York or the Milan Triennale. Their constant research on shapes, techniques and materials somehow feels close to my creative approach.
The same counts for Magistretti, who had the courage and strength to push boundaries, and managed to break schemes that were already decided and imposed as irreversible.
When self-confidence prevails over fear of defeat, it becomes an opportunity to leave a mark on history.
When did sneakers make their way into your work? Or have you always been interested in sneakers?
I’m not obsessed, or a collector, but obviously they are a key part in my interest for fashion.
My first sneaker-related job was the campaign for the Nike Air Max 720, which I’ve worked on as a CGI artist. It was an important job that certainly marked the beginning of my career, since other collaborations and big projects with famous brands in the industry, such as Nike and Reebok, were born from there.
But not only that, from this job I developed new skills. I learned a lot of new working techniques, using new software and the ability to solve problems.
What is it about sneakers that interests you?
We grew up thinking about sneakers as shoes dedicated to sport but, over the years, sneakers have radically changed their role in the world of fashion and culture. Between technological solutions and flirting with the world of art and music, sneakers have acquired a unique role, becoming the most purchased and used type of footwear.
The interesting thing is that the limited edition sneakers category is one of the fastest growing on the auction market. That’s why some famous sneakers are now considered true art forms.
So the idea of the sneaker as an art form is an interesting factor to consider, and it is expanding. A reason for that being the element of ‘rarity’, which affects this vision of the shoe as an artistic object.
I think art is also based on the dialogue that a person has with an object. When someone sees a painting or sculpture and talks about it in some way, the viewer interacts with the beauty and meaning of the object. Sneaker collectors have the same intention with shoes.
You can appreciate wearing them, or simply appreciate the idea of owning them.
How did your work with Nike, Reebok and other big players in the industry come about? What about your work with Lobby?
As I mentioned earlier, my first job in the industry was for the Nike Air Max 720. I had just moved to Berlin, almost two years ago now, and I got in touch with a collective, who was looking for a CGI artist to work on the project. From there, I worked with them on another Nike project, for the React Element 55 as a CGI Artist, and the Nike Kids campaign as art director and VFX Artist.
This led to other job opportunities and new collaborations, such as the video teaser made with Aaron Jablonski for the release of the MISBHV x Reebok Daytona DMX. Together we worked not only on the creation of the project, but also on the art direction. It was the beginning of a long collaboration, as we now form a stable team and work together on many projects.
As for Lobby, it happened that Philipp, one of the shop's founders, saw my work through his girlfriend who showed him my Instagram profile. He was impressed by my aesthetic and decided to contact me to propose to work on the Travis Scott Dunk collaboration. This work allowed me to experiment with my creativity because I had the freedom to create an environment inspired by the shoe, but at the same time incorporating the principles of my aesthetics.
What are some of your most memorable works with sneaker brands? And what makes them the most memorable?
Definitely the work for Lobby x Nike SB! The Travis Dunk project was quite a fun and interesting project in several ways. Particularly because I was able to combine different techniques in the same project, including the 3D scan of the shoe – the shoe you see in my work is not a photograph, but a 3D model created in a software that manages to process a series of point clouds and textures from shots of the shoe seen in 360-degree vision – and the 3D modelling of the elements that create the environment, such as alien plants, abstract fluid forms, etc.
Another interesting part was the raffle system that we initiated by creating a face filter, which would block multi and bot entries and keep resellers away as they are usually not too happy about showing their faces.
How does working in the sneaker space differ from working with other product?
It is not so different, if we talk about a product intended for sale. However, it is necessary to consider whether it is a GR product or a limited edition. Personally, I prefer to work on limited edition sneakers because they are representations of style and interesting social phenomena that have developed over time.
Think of the Nike Air Ship that was made specifically for Jordan Brand, but no one paid particular attention to it. If the same thing had happened in 2010 instead, it would have aroused a great media hype despite the limited availability of that model.
And here’s the interesting thing related to uniqueness and ego... The more limited a sneaker version is, the more everyone wants it because everyone wants to be unique, right?
Does the design and/or colourway of a sneaker impact the way a project translates?
Definitely. But this isn’t just about sneakers, it’s something that characterises most of my works related to the communication or sale of a product. It is important to observe the product and understand what it is communicating to us.
A bit like what I said when you asked me ‘What about sneakers interests you?’ Evaluate the product on various points of view, such as shape, colours and design. And be able to transform, develop the aesthetic side in an environment that is a union between the product itself and the extension of it into forms that are actually given by the decomposition of the object in its primary form/concept.
In this way, it can be said that my academic product design journey leaks out a bit.
What projects are you currently working on? And what can we expect to see from you in the future?
I am working on many interesting projects, one of them being the film for League of Legends World 2020 with BRTHR, a duo of American film directors that I often collaborate with on different projects. We have just finished another job for Facebook Technologies for Pride, which will be online soon, and we worked together on the music video for 645AR. I love working with them. They are crazy, and their style is pretty sick!
In collaboration with Aaron Jablonski, I’m also directing the music video and the live show visuals for the musician Catnapp, and I’m working on my first clothes collection in collaboration with the Superconscious Store in Berlin. This project is interesting because we are planning to present it within an event in which we will also make a photographic exhibition of the shooting that we are organising at the moment, which is purely linked to digital fashion.
As for sneakers, there will be new collaborations with Lobby and Nike SB, but this time brought to an augmented reality level! I can’t say more…
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