RA002: Ruggero Vittorini
Ruggero Vittorini or The Space Tomato is absolutely turning the digital art scene upside-down. We sat and talked with him about his art and love for pipping brews.
Roamers: Hey man! Thanks for talking with us. Tell us how you got started.
The Space Tomato: Growing up in Rome in the late 80s and 90s, I always found myself gravitating around all kinds of artists who were hip on the scene during those times. Not a regular childhood!
Art has always been a big part of my life, and runs in the family, touching virtually every medium, whether music, literature, or figurative art; my father is a composer, so as far back as I can remember, I was hanging out in recording studios, at gigs, concerts, and video shoots. Summers were spent in Tuscany, where I enjoyed painting along with my grandfather, or sculpting with my aunt.
I’ve always found different means of expression, which have been my pastimes, replacing more conventional activities; skateboarding rather than playing football, or learning softwares instead of spending time playing beer pong, are examples of the choices I made that have shaped my life. At 16 I started pursuing music as a career. at 23 I got into culinary arts, cruising along that path for some years. Last year I left the restaurant world, and decided to carve my own path, but most importantly follow my heart; a decision that ultimately led me here today.
Roamers: Your art seems intelligently retrospective while also touching on current themes. How do you achieve this?
The Space Tomato: I just try to keep a fresh perspective, and not get lost in the usual narrative. I try to explore every aspect of whatever subject I’m interested in at the time. I then try to let the subconscious do its thing during the creative process, and seek a feeling of completion. Finally I cross my fingers, and hope a message comes across.
Roamers: Since you are versed in multiple disciplines of art, which do you enjoy most?
The Space Tomato: I guess it all depends on the moment. Right now I’m into collage, graphic design, painting, music production; that’s what I’ve been occupying my time with. Last year I was immersed in photography and painting, the year before in food making. In an ideal setting, I would have every tool I need at hand, and be able to constantly create, breaking barriers between mediums; after all, life is art.
Roamers: Obviously, we're obsessed with coffee. What is your daily coffee routine?
The Space Tomato: I usually get up and my dog takes me for a walk before I’m conscious of anything. I then somehow make my way to the kitchen, twist open an old Italian moka pot, fill it with water, and pack it with ground espresso; I place it on the lit burner and hover over it until it screams. I repeat this process two or three times a day. In that I’m your average Italian dude.
Roamers: To us, your art evokes a strong sense of nostalgia. Does it do the same for you or is it more social/political?
The Space Tomato: I can see that. Somehow I often feel more in tune with culture from the past, and I think a good chunk of my generation does as well; 90s adventure video games, 80s cinema, jazz or psych rock from the 60s and 70s, vintage photos. In retrospect, it’s like a remix of all those things, but in the moment of conception, it’s none of that, I’m just looking to express a feeling or thought, which is often enough social/political.
Roamers: How has your work changed over time?
The Space Tomato: I’ve definitely acquired more and more skills over time, and evolved my thoughts on many subjects, so hopefully that shows in my work, and will continue to until the end of time.
Roamers: We're heavily focused on the idea of community that coffee draws, how do you think coffee affects art/vice versa?
The Space Tomato: Coffee draws! I can’t help but think of some art made from spilled cups of espresso that I saw recently. I can thank coffee for a great deal of my productivity. It helps me focus and persevere on the physical and mental tasks involved in creating a work of art, and just stay awake. Im sure many artists can speak to that, and so can pretty much anyone else, which is probably a reason why it draws an idea of community; coffee is one of the few things we all can agree on. I hadn’t thought of how art affects coffee, but I imagine it makes it weirder. But seriously, art affects how coffee is presented; the logo, the cup, the shop, the music, the mood, the experience of drinking coffee in a setting. A great coffee shop knows how to use all the mediums at hand. After all, coffee making is a science and an art itself.
Roamers: Living in LA, what do you like and dislike about the local art scene?
The Space Tomato: I wish I knew! I’ve been here since the end of January, but a massive pandemic happened, so I haven’t really gotten to experience it for what it is. I can see that it’s a global city, and I know that alone makes it a place where an artist can thrive.
Roamers: What role does the artist have in society and how does that affect the themes you pursue?
The Space Tomato: I think the artist, whether consciously or not, portrays a perspective or a feeling, in a way that defies the standard means of communication, which then resonates with an audience, whether small or large. That audience makes the culture, and the culture makes up society. Then the cycle starts over. I consider myself an expressionist, so I touch on different themes; lately, our lives have been absorbed by the pandemic, and all the thoughts that come with it, so I guess it’s showing up in my work, and I’ve probably lost a couple followers, but overall the response has been amazing.
Roamers: Thanks for chatting with us! Do you have an upcoming events you want to plug?
The Space Tomato: Thank you! No events to plug at the moment, but be sure to check out THE SPACE TOMATO (@thespacetomato) if you snoop around, you will find t-shirts, prints, and always new merch. Maybe I’ll make some coffee mugs! Also, I’m working on a music project, MAD CHEF (@chefismad) which is still taking shape. You can find more of my work on the website www.ruggerovittorini.com