Baroque BlossomingFebruary 28, 2021
Agorà la CantinaMarch 6, 2021
All photos © Vittoria Gallo
Eugenio Vazzano: mind, hands and heart
Create with your hands, mind and heart: this is the philosophy which lies at the basis of the art creations of Eugenio Vazzano. Artist, stylist, designer of high fashion, but above all, someone who loves the scents and smells of his homeland, the places of his childhood, art in its most intimate and profound meaning. Eugenio tells us his story, welcoming us to the place where everything began: an old factory for making caponata, that most typical of Sicilian dishes, on the outskirts of his birthplace, Melilli, today an ideal framework for a new creative sensibility, original and fresh but anchored to local traditions. His clothes, the things for the home, the patchwork ‘pezze’, every object tells us about the unusual story of this man.
A man who works with his hands is a workman; a man who works with his hands and his mind is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands, mind and heart is an artist (San Francesco d'Assisi)
The youngest of seven children, when he was 14 he was forced to go with his family to the USA in search of fortune. If on the one hand his period abroad gave him the chance to develop his still-budding passion for art and fashion, on the other, the call of his homeland, the smells and colours that lingered vividly in his memory, created a sense of loss, a desire that could only be satisfied in a dreamlike way. And so the love story between Eugenio and the ‘cose’, the things of his land began; and this was actually what he called his first craft productions “The ‘Cose’ - the Things - of Eugenio Vazzano”; objects, cloth, clothes that in one way or another allowed him to reduce the distance, experimenting with ever new gradations of the bond that had been broken as a young boy.
Like a Ulysses in search of adventure but with the constant thought of Ithaca, when he finished his studies abroad, he started to travel, driven by the desire to find out more about the world of art and fashion, so vast and changeable. Florence, Campobasso, Milan, Taormina and then back across the Atlantic to the warm, brilliant Miami; while the distance from his home made him long for it, his presence in a new city gave the artist and craftsman new experience and skills, so he could acquire new stimuli and shades of meaning. In those distant places he got to know textiles better, from the simplest to the most precious, and he learned about the requests of a very demanding market, but in his heart he knew he wanted to get closer to his own very personal story, the one which reminded him of his mother as she cut scraps of cloth of all kinds and stored them in large jute sacks, ready to create new clothes from those which were ready to be thrown away!
This is how he managed to render the philosophy of sustainability and re-use of particularly prized materials even more precious. Patchwork was the perfect medium. Eugenio still remembers how during his wandering phase he would collect samples of material, usually destined to be thrown away, and give them a new vital energy, the same energy he continues to imbue his linens and materials with today, stored in the old chests our grandmothers used and reinterpreted with colours, shapes and lines inspired by Pollock’s action paintings.
His definitive landing at Melilli after many years, has led to the creation of the Melilli Factory brand, which is custodian to this long history of loves and adventures interwoven with the wisdom of the craftsman. Identified by his patchwork style, in the sea-blue tones that lead the gaze towards the coastline, in the bright yellow of the lemons and the luxuriant red of the tomatoes, his brand culminates with Etna in full eruption, with those typical ‘pennacchi’, plumes of smoke that are the same decorative motifs we find in Eugenio’s work, because of his choice to reuse materials. Everything expresses his love of the land, sustained by his constant desire to brush the dust of irrelevance off the craftsmanship of Melilli, the place where he left everything behind and to which he returned to find everything.
Ho studiato e lavoro in Sicilia, la terra che amo. Insegnare è il mio lavoro ma anche una delle mie passioni. Collaboro da molti anni con enti pubblici e privati per iniziative di promozione culturale e turistica, di marketing territoriale. Le mie giornate sono interamente dedicate ai miei studenti e al mio paese d'origine, oggetto di studio e fonte di ispirazione! Ma trovo anche il tempo di scrivere per SiracusaCulture.