The Art of Brick featured artist article collection expands as we introduce the art of Nicolò Garonzi a.k.a. Nico, Project Manager and Senior 3D Artist.
Nico has always shared his art with the Brick community but this year he has picked up the pace of posting about his personal projects, to our delight. We are bringing you a selection of his art within this post and present the many influences that shape his work.
Nico started his professional development by becoming an architect. As part of an exam task during his academic studies, he had been tasked with creating a maquette. Instead, he chose to do a render of the Barcelona Pavilion, designed by Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich, which triggered his interest not only in architecture but the representation methods linked to it.
The exam task: the Barcelona Pavilion
He worked as an architect for a year after graduating but later transitioned into the field of archviz, as his true passion lay in this discipline. After successfully completing Brick Academy’s Image Generalist in Archviz Course, he joined the Brick 3D artist community in 2019. Since then, he has been crafting high-end visualizations and gaining more responsibilities as his career progressed. That, however, has not stopped him from doing his own art in his free time.
Atmosphere & architecture
Studying interiors, lights and the comfort level provided by different spaces intrigue Nico. He is especially taken by contemporary art museums, which always deserve a place on his agenda when visiting new countries and cities. Experiencing buildings firsthand and identifying those elements that determine the ambience of the built environment and its surrounding are again important to him. He reveals that the book titled ‘Atmospheres’, written by revered architect Peter Zumthor, opened his eyes to the ways architecture can be matched with a certain aura. Building on this, a house in Iceland should reflect Icelandic vibes and qualities, and when crafting architectural designs, one should ‘listen to the landscape’, as Nico claims.
The image, Sharp is an earlier work by Nico. From all of the images that he created, this piece is the one that communicates best his architectural background. The interplay of the lights, textures and elements of the composition have a surrealistic overtone. But perhaps the most interesting feature of Sharp is its potential to call to mind other senses. As Nico said:
‘Architecture is not only what you see but what you feel and smell. In this image, I aimed to create the effect that you could almost smell the concrete and rocks, feel the space and air as if you were just an arms-length away.’
The cinematic Argonauts is an even more unearthly image where two figures venture into an unknown, uncharted planet. Their curiosity leads them on the journey of discovery, accompanied by the feeling of fear. The alien vessels, represented by the circular rock shapes, take their cues from sci-fi movies Nico holds in high regard, such as Arrival and Dune. The primitive-looking vessel might come off as a remnant from ancient times, not as an object that would have a place in a futuristic quest within the sci-fi genre. But that is what Nico sets out to display: contrasts and the power to express an idea or create a specific atmosphere.
‘Photorealistic 3D art is the transition between a beautiful, surrealistic drawing or sketch and the actual technology that gets built. If you look at it that way, it can help establish the things we see in sci-fi films in real life – embodying the surreal.’
One elemental type of aesthetic experience is the sublime, as termed by Kant. It refers to those experiences that overwhelm us, causing discomfort and a pleasurable feeling at the same time. The most common examples that trigger this feeling are violent natural phenomena, like storms, or enormous buildings, like the pyramids. The ambivalence of the sublime, paired with the desire to study the connection between nature and man inspired Nico to craft the image titled Sublime. As compared to the minuscule figures, the building comes across as enormous, something reason cannot accept in one go, if at all. The mysticism is further enhanced by the purpose of the building itself – a maze, suggested by the entrance that welcomes the adventurous.
One can perceive the notion of the sublime in the work Cyclops as well, paired with the need for introspection. As Nico’s inscription reads:
‘The observer, hands in his pockets, looks at a man trying to reach the lighthouse, a bright spot in the misty night. That man who tries to hold on to something to feel safe, protected, to reach that space we call peace. He will never reach it until he realizes that the lighthouse is himself.’
A specific line of Nico’s work features cars in unique settings. Contrary to what one would think, cool cars are not the main subjects of his art. Rather, he is interested in merging the reflections, lights and the beauty of shapes with his idea of the atmosphere. He selects the model of the car, which is most often familiar from his childhood, does quick research on its history and function, and then places it in an environment that seems fitting. Different worlds might come together within these images, as shown by the example of the image titled Individuum. Here, he placed a Jaguar, a British luxury vehicle in a setting characterized by Italian vibes to best bring out the reflections of the car.
The journey ahead
Nico’s future plans involve experimenting further with atmospheres. He aims to translate still images into animation, which he deems a more powerful and expressive medium. On another note, he plans to analyze more thoroughly the connection between architecture and man through different series of photographs.