What I enthuse the most is the astonishment that a piece of art arises in me. Interview with Stefano Fronza by Klimt02

Interview  /  Artists
Published: 25.03.2022
Stefano Fronza Stefano Fronza
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Stefano Fronza. Brooch: Rebirth, 2019. Print on aluminium, PVC, titanium. 13.6 x 8.4 x 1.3 cm. Photo by: Nadia Baldo. From series: Easy Living. Stefano Fronza
Brooch: Rebirth, 2019
Print on aluminium, PVC, titanium
13.6 x 8.4 x 1.3 cm
Photo by: Nadia Baldo
From series: Easy Living
© By the author. Read Copyright.

My jewels artistic process was initially influenced by Baroque Art and then by Canova's Neoclassicism. Other elements that had an influence on me are the spiral-shaped ammonites and fossil shells, which are quite recurrent finds in Trentino, the region I come from.
Tell us about your background. What were your first influences to be creative and become an artist and what has drawn you to contemporary jewellery?
Since when I was a child I felt a peculiar passion for any kind of art (music and drawing in particular), a passion that I've been nurturing by studies and practice. In 1997 I graduated from the Institute of Art “Alessandro Vittoria” in Trento, specializing in Art of Metals and Goldsmithing. After that, I started working as a goldsmith at my father's workshop. In the late 90s, I began my discovery of art jewels by going through some magazines that my father used to read and that displayed unique, particular, outstanding jewels. Thanks to some further research on other magazines I definitely entered the world of contemporary art jewelry. Reacting to my father's encouragement to explore and get involved in this world, I started travelling and, after visiting several private schools in Florence, I attended a class held by the well-known goldsmith Giampaolo Babetto at the Alchimia School of Contemporary Jewelry.

After enjoying this experience, I visited the Selvatico Institute of Art in Padua and I met Professor Francesco Pavan, who deeply influenced me. I kept working in my father's studio as well as in the studios of other goldsmiths around Trentino; in the meantime, I studied the great goldsmithing masters - including the less famous - and I kept looking for new ideas. I think that the most fascinating aspect of the world of contemporary jewelry is its manifestation to me in a form of art through that I can fully express myself. What I'm enthused about contemporary jewelry are its beauty, uniqueness and originality.

After spending a year of mandatory state civil service, I was granted a scholarship and I moved to Düsseldorf (Germany), where I spent a semester at the department of Jewelry Design, working and studying under the guidance of great masters such as Peter Skubic, Herman Hermsen and Elisabeth Holder. Besides taking part in goldsmithing courses and workshops, during that period I managed to deepen - in particular - my knowledge of drawing by attending some life drawing classes. In 2001 I was granted one more scholarship, that allowed me to attend a Jewelry Design workshop held by Professor Erico Nagai at the Summer Academy of Fine Arts in Salzburg. Thereafter I moved to Arnhem (The Netherlands), where, thanks to one more scholarship, I was given the chance to undertake an interdisciplinary project involving different forms of art (music, dance, drawing and jewelry).

My jewels artistic process was initially influenced by Baroque Art and then by Canova's Neoclassicism. Other elements that had an influence on me are the spiral-shaped ammonites and fossil shells, which are quite recurrent finds in Trentino, the region I come from. Besides, I've always felt attracted by nature - the mountains, the sea, the landscape - which I've been personally experiencing since when I was a child and I enjoyed later thanks to the late 18th century German Romantic painters’ works that I admired visiting some museums in Germany. I had the chance to visit a lot of exhibitions and museums in Italy and abroad; I got inspired by the details of the marble drapery of the statues in the Basilica of S. Antonio (Padua) and by the works exhibited in Berlin, in a museum of modern and contemporary art that displays a painting of considerable dimensions created by the famous German artist Gerhard Richter in the late 50s.

How important is networking for you in your professional practice and what are your preferred tools for this?
My website - which has been online for approximately one year now - is the place where most of my recent artworks (from 2016 until now) are on display. For collecting and sharing information I use social networks - Instagram and Facebook - as well as WhatsApp. I believe in the importance of networking; I think that a more important role should be played by the live interactions between artists, gallery owners and collectors. This would be useful to open the way to new opportunities and wider-ranging projects and allow a better understanding of the direction to take next.

What are your general thoughts on the contemporary jewellery world, (education, market, development...), where do you see chances and where are dead ends?
I must admit that, from the point of view of an artist coming from Trentino and - in general - from Italy, there are countries where my research on artistic jewelry might be more welcome. In the present situation, the world of contemporary jewelry necessarily prefers to ‘exhibit’ artworks online rather than physically. Despite modern days technologies, I think that an artwork should always be enjoyed physically by the public, so people can have the opportunity to meet the artist (which nowadays happens with less and less frequency). Speaking in general, I would personally welcome an increase of attention that the institutions and the academic world pay to contemporary jewelry, which deserves to be regarded as a proper form of art (like sculpture and painting) and promoted by museums, temporary exhibition spaces, events, fairs, etc.

With regard to the market of contemporary jewelry, my impression is that it's completely - or nearly - absent. I think that real sale opportunities are just a few. Nowadays, the market of contemporary jewelry is not anymore the same as some years ago, when collectors were numerically limited as much as they were attentive. In Italy, contemporary jewelry is nothing but a niche activity that can boast no real recognition and this is the reason why any artist finds it extremely difficult to emerge.

Thinking about your career, what role do technology and the digital play in your artistic development & communication?
Digital technologies have been producing a deep fascination on me and this is the reason why, besides being an everyday user, I also decided to attend some training courses about them. In recent years I've been using graphic design software and I managed to process photographs that I had previously shot by using both analogic and digital cameras. I do take part in online exhibitions, since I believe that digital technologies are very useful to have a better diffusion of my own artworks, reaching a wider and more diversified audience.
In short, digital technologies are key in managing my contacts and carrying out my work: they provide me with extremely important tools making it possible for my artworks to circulate and get noticed.

How has your work changed over the past few years and what are you excited about these days?
When I started working on jewels I used to pay more attention to the preparatory drawings and cardboard models than to the finished artwork itself. Nowadays my approach is different and I'm used to spending more time on the creative and intellectual elaboration of the concept that I want to transfer into my artwork. I'm amazed to see how technology and goldsmithing techniques can combine, what they can give life to, how they can merge and what results they can lead to. What I enthuse the most is the astonishment that a piece of art arises in me.