Giacomo Sforza’s retro and cheeky artworks are much like Marmite – you’ll either love or hate them
From Mark Zuckerberg to the indestructible Nokia 3310, the Italian artist can twist any reference into a funny and colourful creation.
- Ayla Angelos
- 9 May 2022
Many of us will have a mischievous story to tell from school. Giacomo Sforza, for example, would sneak out of class by saying he needed the bathroom. But in reality, he was venturing into the computer lab and helping the “last year boys” finish their exams on Photoshop. This was in 2016, and this regular act of rebellion – or underground creativity – is what inspired the practice of the now digital artist.
From a small town in southern Italy, Giacomo (aka James to friends) made his first markings in the industry while creating his own fan art of The Weeknd’s album Starboy, which his idol Daft Punk featured on. He made Darkdron T-shirts and album covers for about three years, until he raised enough money to buy his own computer. “Up until that moment I was borrowing my friends,” he jests. Meanwhile, 2020 hit and he began the hunt to find his own recognisable style. And what did he land on? Colour and humour. This is where his series Colorblaze first commenced, a project merging both vivid palettes and Mark Zuckerberg reinvented as a neon-infused robot.
It’s clear that Giacomo has a real knack for turning funny jokes into imagery. His entire portfolio proves it, where posters merge with pop culture, characters and memes – “memes in HD”, as he calls them, “touched by the hand of King Midas that makes everything iridescent and holographic”. Besides his work on Colorblaze, Giacomo has also collaborated on videos for musicians such as Olivia O’Brien and Lil Texas, the latter an American hardcore music producer. Describing Lil Texas as the “only artist who, so far, wanted to embrace this aesthetic for his music,” Giacomo created several covers in his signature style earlier last year. After releasing the artworks, he was later contacted to create some merchandising proposals for Lady Gaga’s Dawn of Chromatica.
Giacomo is finally getting the recognition he deserves. And yes, his style is not for everyone, but if you’re into it, then you’re really into it. Take one of Giacomo’s favourite recipes (or artworks) as an example – a Y2K advertisement featuring a Nokia 3310. The piece was “particularly successful”, he says, devised from a short and punchy concept. It goes like this: “You cannot hurt the feelings of a Nokia 3310,” which he says “refers to the well-known indestructibility of that phone”. We all remember hurtling our own Nokias about the place and witnessing the uncrackable screens, and Giacomo’s piece is a welcomed reminder of those days – anyone else miss the sturdiness of the Nokia?
He concludes that some people will follow and enjoy his work but others might not – “I realise that not many people will understand its meaning,” he admits. “It’s a bit like me looking at the aesthetics of Japanese Kanji, it’s beautiful but I don’t know the meaning.”
Giacomo Sforza: i,Robot (Copyright © Giacomo Sforza, 2022)
About the Author
Ayla is a London-based freelance writer, editor and consultant specialising in art, photography, design and culture. After joining It’s Nice That in 2017 as editorial assistant, she was interim online editor in 2022/2023 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. She has written for i-D, Dazed, AnOther, WePresent, Port, Elephant and more, and she is also the managing editor of design magazine Anima.