Evoking the Past

The word myth derives from the Greek mythos, which has a range of meanings – from “word” to “saying”, “story” to “fiction”. Tales of gods and other supernatural figures have captivated audiences for millennia. But what is their relevance in today’s world? How are 21st century creatives responding to these iconic tales? Mazzi Francesco is an Italian artist inspired by the ancient world. Using iridescent palettes, textured paints and three-dimensional surfaces, he conjures everything from dragons’ skin to cascading light and the sun’s rays. Here, the artist speaks to Aesthetica about his practice and new gallery, Mazzi Fine Art.

A: How did you get started in the art world? What’s your story?
MF: I have been passionate about art since childhood and, as such, have always expressed myself through various forms. I have been working on a new patent for several years. Titled “3D Push Up”, it is a way to present canvasses outside of the frame. I’ve also developed a new graphic style which could be seen as contemporary, but also has the grace of classic artworks. I had to work hard and save money (as a top chef) for several years before I could open MAZZI FINE ART – it took a while because I wanted to be free from investors or banks. After an encounter with my life partner Maki Saegusa, the project sped up – thankfully, we shared a mutual vision. Her grandfather was a famous Japanese painter, her mother a gallerist and her father an architect. We started in Ginza, the most prestigious area of Tokyo, with an office inside an imperial hotel. Then we opened a gallery in Kyoto and, right now, a permanent gallery office and atelier at Osaka bay inside a beautiful classic Japanese villa.

A: How would you best describe your practice? What media do you use, and why?
MF: At MAZZI FINE ART we create powerful artworks that can improve people’s lives. All our materials are carefully selected from all over the world, and, if we cannot find what we need, we will custom create them. We spare no expense to have the best: unique oil paints, special textured pastes – all containing real marble powder, gold, silver, platinum coating, diamonds, rare stones and glasses. Inside our laboratory, we select rare woods which will become frames – finished with the best artisanal paints and resins from Italy. Thanks to all this meticulous work, we create pieces like jewels – highly sensitive to refraction with a unique look and appeal.

A: Nature and mythology seem to be common themes in your work – such as dragons and the tree of life. What draws you to these ideas?
I’m a huge fan of archaeology and, through my work, I want to reconnect people to our ancient past – to what we have forgotten. As you mentioned, dragons, trees, waterfalls and the stars are common themes. In the tree series, I explore the relationship between earth and sky through the curving movement of branches – recalling the rising sun or moon. I’m also interested in the concept of light and time, and the idea that “by observing the past, we shape the future.”

A: Your paintings look like they are created in three dimensions – reaching out into the gallery space. Why do you choose to work in this way, rather than on a traditional flat surface?
MF: As a self-taught artist, I have managed to create an artistic style free from any existing approach. Through my patented model, I can free the canvas from the frame. I express my completely new aesthetic concept through simplified graphics and accentuated textures. I believe these qualities to be very important in conveying a subject’s true form. For example, there are many beautiful artworks regarding dragons, but how about a piece where you can touch the texture of this legendary creature? These 3D pieces are engineered to enrich any beautiful home around the world with a minimalist elegance.

A: What does colour mean to you? How do you choose your palettes?
Colour is an instrument of communication and affirmation. I love gold. Its yellow hues recall the sun and bring me closer to the concept of eternity. Silver refers to lunar cults and nocturnal luminosity. Blue and turquoise recall infinity and regeneration – evoking the sky and water respectively. These are the colours I use the most in my art.

A: Is there anything you hope audiences take away from your artwork?
MF: Strength and elegance are characteristic of my creations. Since ancient times, humans have surrounded themselves with powerful and auspicious objects. Mazzi Fine Art reflects this, and, so far, over 100 pieces have been sold. All my clients have found an improvement in their lives. My creations offer an opportunity to engage with new generation of art based on the relationship between canvas and frame.

A: What’s next for you? Any projects or exhibitions on the horizon for 2021-2022?
We’re always thinking about what is going to happen next. Right now, I am exploring the potential of new material textures. We opened our gallery in June 2021 are now working closely with several international magazines. It’s a bit too early to talk about next year’s projects – we prefer to not spoil the surprise.


All images courtesy Mazzi Fine Art.
1. Drago di Mare
2. La Cascata di Luce
3. Pelle di Drago

4.Drago di Mare
5.La Cascata di Luce