Hot on the heels of his 2022 solo exhibition of his Grass Roots collection at our gallery at Birmingham’s ICC comes Raphael Mazzucco’s new Grass Roots 2023 collection. Mazzucco was inspired to create Grass Roots during lockdown, when he had the opportunity to revisit his archive of incredible photography taken on assignments around the world, plus his personal diaries. The initial Grass Roots collection saw him go back to Africa, whilst the 2023 works also feature imagery from an expedition travelling through the Amazon rainforest on the Rio Negro in northern Brazil.
The new collection is a natural development from the 2022 Grass Roots collection, and features a new colour palette, with the rich and vibrant tones of orange, red, blue, and yellow, reflecting the vibrant Brazilian culture witnessed by Raphael on his expedition to the country.
Read on to find out more about the new collection and shop all of his work here.
“You really have to see the pieces in person to truly see what’s involved in making them,” explains Raphael, who mixes his top-level photographic skills, honed by working for some of the world’s most prestigious fashion publications and brands, with his artistic soul to create his multi-media pieces. His pieces encase original photography, text and collected materials, encased in a layer of resin, which gives them a stunning high-gloss finish and incredible depth.
Raphael’s high-profile work includes shooting for magazines including Vogue and Sports Illustrated, and for brands including Ralph Lauren and Victoria’s Secret. His imagery for many of these campaigns has become synonymous with these companies – if you picture one of these brands, it’s more than likely that you’re picturing one of Raphael’s images.
Raphael’s photography is, of course, where it all begins, and he totally immerses himself in the part of the world he’s visiting, and the people who live there, which hugely influences his work. “The trip to Brazil lasted 27 days, travelling on a boat going down to the Rio Negro”, remembers Raphael. “Shooting is always very unpredictable, and you need to allow yourself a lot of time to get what you need”.
Raphael took a small team on his trip to Brazil, enabling him to immerse himself in the atmosphere and create artworks that are immersive, authentic, organic, and raw. “When I shot in the Amazon, I took my son, the model, and an assistant, and that was it. I think it’s always important to have an assistant from the area who really knows it well. You also have to work with models who are resilient and can adapt to whatever happens on a shoot.”
The experiences Raphael has on his intense trips naturally make their way into his art, and he is already starting with new ideas whilst on his travels. “When I am on these types of immersive trips, I bring a small printer and print the 5" x 7" photos which later I put into the resin of the original pieces,” he explains. Raphael layers these photographs with journal entries from his trips and his trademark paint effects. “I love the work after the photograph, telling a story through layers, rather than just the simple photograph.”
The new collection includes some photography from Raphael’s trip to Kenya, as well as the expedition along the Rio Negro in Brazil. “The new works have moved forward in a much more colourful and vibrant way. The Amazon has introduced a new exotic colour palette and subject to the new pieces.
“The memory of that trip which stands out the most to me is being on a boat in the middle of nowhere going down the river, experiencing the beautiful nature and visiting little towns along the way. Seeing and experiencing the traditional lifestyle of native Americans existing in today's world is an extraordinary pleasure.
"The Grass Roots 2023 collection is truly about the raw beauty and the natural colours of the environments; whether they are sepia or bright they bring me back to another time. The world is moving on so far, so quickly, but I feel like these photos will be timeless, capturing a moment in time and a living landscape that I’ve had the joy of experiencing and being a part of. The titles for this collection were chosen with the words of the tribal people that we met in the Amazon.”
Images of women are a major part of Raphael’s work, and an important one to him. “The female form represents the celebration of humanity and life, and how one lives in their environment. The pieces are also a celebration of female sensuality and seeing women’s natural beauty.”
Raphael now lives in Connecticut, but is originally from Vancouver, and his next big expedition will be to Canada. “We’re going to go up to northern British Columbia and into Alaska, including a trip to Anyox, an abandoned mining town. It’s the oldest ghost town in Canada and it’s unbelievable, with old buildings with flowers and plants growing out of them. It's absolutely mind-blowing – but it’s so wild, I’ve got to bring the bear spray with me!”
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22/06/2023We are delighted to present a brand new collection of signed limited edition artworks from iconic musician and artist Bob Dylan, available exclusively from Castle Fine Art.
16/08/2023The master of wildlife art's new collection comprises three mesmerising big cats, with wolves, sea turtles and cows added to Robert's menagerie. As ever, they are created with Robert's in-depth knowledge of the creatures, and his artistic passion. The new works make an incredible impact; read on to discover more.
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