Mobile Artists on Their Artistry – Interview with James Bacchi from San Francisco, US
We are delighted to publish the nineteenth of our newly styled interview entitled ‘Mobile Artists on Their Artistry’. Within this interview, we ask highly successful mobile artists twenty questions about their backgrounds, their work, social media, how Covid-19 has influenced their creative life and so much more…
Today, we are proud to feature James Bacchi, he is a San Francisco/Palm Springs based Award Winning iPhoneographer and Curator. #inthesky is an inspired series of mobile photographs. Shot spontaneously, these images portray the volatile relationship between the sky and the urban landscape. Each image contrasts fleeting moments of beauty, strength and vulnerability. Muses for this ongoing series, which began in 2015, are San Francisco, Palm Springs, New York, Las Vegas, Rome, Venice, Paris and Budapest.
Bacchi is represented by Karyn Mannix Contemporary. His photographs have been exhibited at the Piedmont Center for the Arts, Piedmont, CA, Arc Gallery and STUDIO Gallery in San Francisco, Kathryn Markel, Bridgehampton, NY and featured at RED DOT Miami – courtesy of Karyn Mannix Contemporary. Corporate Collections include: M&M Fine Art Services, Clifton, NJ, El Camino Hospital, Mountain View, CA, UBS Financial Services, Inc., San Francisco, CA, Bridgepoint, San Francisco and University High School Corporate Offices, San Francisco, CA. The photographer’s work is included in the Museo Italo Americano’s permanent collection.
Bacchi and select works from #inthesky have been featured by: RARE MAGAZINE, BNW Magazine, BBC Culture Magazine, Only Mobile Magazine, FRAMES Magazine, VOGUE (Spain) and Manhattan Arts International.
James Bacchi is a recipient of a 2021 Urban Photo Award, a Sheridan Prize For Art and a 2020 Independent Arts and Media Grant.
To read our other interviews in this series with Jane Schultz, Susan Latty, Cindy Karp, Sukru Mehmet Omur, Deborah Kleven Morbeto, Patty Larson, Adrian McGarry, Catherine Caddigan, Rita Colantonio, Sarah Bichachi, Marco Prado, Mehmet Duyulmuş Gerry Coe, Cynthia Morgan, Christine Mignon, Mariëtte Schrijver, Phyllis Shenny and Peter Wilkin please go here.
All images ©James Bacchi
How would you introduce yourself to someone who doesn’t know your work?
Hello! My names is James Bacchi. I am an iPhoneographer focusing on capturing tension from the ground up in black and white.
What name do you use within social media and was this a conscious decision?
@jamesbacchi My tag for my work is #inthesky
What kind of family did you grow up in?
I grew up in a close-knit Italian American Family in a working class city five miles from Boston.
Did your childhood influence your ideas about creativity?
I was a precocious kid, and in looking back I feel I found creativity on my own. I recall never having a problem amusing myself.
Did your parents support your creativity?
Provided it didn’t cost very much or make them look bad.
When was the first time you knew you wanted to be an artist?
My early passions were writing lyrics, short stories, plays. I wanted to be an advertising Account Executive much like Darrin Stephens character on Bewitched. Somehow that never happened, or at least not as of yet.
What is creativity to you?
An opportunity to explore with no wholes barred.
What did you do before (if appropriate) becoming an artist?
I came to art through the back door as a publicist, writer, collector, then curator gallerist and art consultant. Still doing many of these along with photography.
Where are you most creative?
Outdoors; so, depending on the situation it could be anywhere. Most often, all I have to do is look up!
What inspires you?
Let’s see… The sky after a storm, an empty street or most recently, I saw two trees that appeared to be growing into each other. It all depends; long as it’s out of the ordinary and I can feel tension in what I’m looking at. I am often inspired by other artist’s work such as Tracy Kuenn, Eric M. Renard, Astrid and Chris Schiavo.
Who inspires you?
These days I am particularly inspired by older creatives who still have the desire to create new and exciting work. I understand Stevie Wonder is putting the finishing touches on a new album. And, Lorna Simpson’s first exhibition at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles – ‘Everrrything‘ – filling both North galleries and the open-air courtyard of the gallery’s Downtown Arts District complex with new sculpture, painting, and collage.
Does your engagement on social media help you to plan your future projects?
I feel my engagement on social media is far more about of this moment and the immediate future, than planning upcoming projects.
What does your average day look like?
As an i-Phoneographer and Principal of JAMES BACCHI CONTEMPORARY my average day is most often packed. It’s pool time, social media and answering emails in the very early morning, followed by artist and client follow-ups, a bit of visualisation and there’s always time to photograph.
Is it your intention to ask questions or make the viewer question what they see?
My intension is the latter. Nothing pleases me more than viewers questioning what they see.
Is there humour in your work?
On rare occasions I would say yes. I shot this at the Palm Springs Vintage Market. Truly loved this composition, and how the gold velvet furniture translated to black and white.
How important is failure in your work process? Do you incorporate it into your creative process?
Not important at all. Failure is not part of my psyche. Of course there are often shots I immediately discard for a variety of reasons, but as I like to say, “next!”.
How do you deal with criticism?
I welcome criticism. It’s an opportunity to take a closer look at something and hopefully learn from it. Though often times one must be careful. After all, everyone’s a critic.
Has the Covid-19 pandemic influenced your creative life?
This pandemic has influenced my creative life beyond my wildest imagination. Beginning March, 2020, I created a series of more than 50 images titled, “#inthesky – San Francisco Sheltered-in-Place” based on responsibly orchestrated daily walks. Selected works from this series have so far been featured in three exhibitions. I withdrew myself from one business I co-founded twenty-five years ago, and started another. My husband and I moved from San Francisco to Palm Springs, and we got a puppy! On the flip side, it aint over yet!
Who dead or alive would you like to have dinner with?
It would be an intimate dinner party. Invited guest would include; Donald Roller Wilson, Salvadore Dali, Lady Gaga, Curly Howard, and Patti Labelle, whom I would also ask to cook. To really make it really interesting, I’d ask each of my guests to please bring a guest.
What is the best piece of advice that you’ve heard and still repeat to others?
Years ago, my very good friend Paula Davidsen once said, “If it doesn’t work, change it!” This piece of advice instantly, and to this day, remains the best piece of advice I’ve ever heard.
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