Where do nature and humanity coexist? Sparky Campanella, a photographer based in Los Angeles, seeks to capture a peaceful harmony between humanity and nature by photographing the horizon, a place where manmade landscapes overlaps the sky. His work strives for minimum content for maximum impact. In his most recent series, Horizon, this philosophy is apparent. Each photograph is similarly formatted with the sky and land taking up equal space, but the location is different in each photograph. The presentation of sky and land is similarly treated; they retain the same level of focus, abstracting the content.
Campanella’s interest in photography began as a young child; he was always taking photographs. However, he decided to pursue business degree, graduating with a Masters of Business Administration at Stanford University. After working in business for a while, he decided to pursue his first passion. Now, his background in business helps him in market his own work. Campanella likens the process of photography itself to his previous work in software where he would have to define the product, manage the process of building it, and then market it. His previous experience in the marketing world helps him navigate through the art world. Because of this, he recommends that art students take a few classes in business and marketing to help them to build up their own brand, which he defines as a combination of personal style and medium. Marketing classes would teach students how to build their brand, invest in it, and market it. Campanella has a unique perspective into the business of art, coming from a strong background of marketing before he began to focus on art.
After his decision to move out of business and to pursue his art, Campanella moved to New York to immerse himself in the art scene. His photos seek to simplify and fragment. For example, in his series, Portrait, Campanella photographs fragmentations of the human body. His ideas explore what a portrait is and how one can create a portrait without the usual visual markers, such as expression, clothing, or facial expressions. Instead his photos are filled with skin, with only shadow and light to indicate form. They seem to ask if the body represents the person, or is it but a shell that houses the soul.
Sparky Campanella’s latest series, Horizons, began about ten years ago. Though these compositions are similar land and sky, each occupying half of the of the picture plane- the content varies immensely from industrial walls and a calm, blue sky to a silhouette of forest and a vivid yellow sunset. He finds emotion in these simple moments of where land meets sky; the similarity of their format unifies and, at the same time, illustrates just how different they are from each other.
Sparky’s favorite genre of art is minimalist art, and he draws inspiration from several who work within the minimalist realm. Artists like Agnes Martin, a painter, and Robert Erwin, an installation artist, both strive to remove as much content as possible to focus on the impact of simplicity. Their work contains similar ideas to Sparky Campanella’s, by using line and division of space to create meaning.
The work of Sparky Campanella explores a unique approach to landscape. By using the same format he abstracts everyday scenes and brings them to new meaning. The pictures celebrate a symbiosis between human and man, and show a belief in compatibility between the two. For the future, Campanella hints at perhaps bringing his photographs into the three dimensional realm, creating more sculptural work. It will be interesting to see the shift in how the viewer can interact with the piece alters, or perhaps enhances, the emotional content. In the mean time, Sparky Campanella continues to explore the places where sky and land meet and find and display the emotional charge that resides there.
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