Roberto is an all-round artist: a designer, a glass-maker, a sculptor as well as a talented painter. He is constantly buzzing with ideas which are brought to life with his own hands by creating pop and ironic works. These take the visitors back to their childhood, a time of imaginary monsters and adventurous stories.
The interview below lets you discover more about his artistic journey and the inspiration behind his amazing creations.
FG: If you were to tell the story of your life, where would you start from?
Roberto Cambi: I wouldn’t. Like Bernadette Robinson says in Songs for Nobodies, it’s always better to start three quarters in or you risk sending everyone to sleep. What matters is the present.
FG: What made you become an artist and designer? What would you have done otherwise?
Roberto Cambi: When you say you are an artist, you are immediately asked a thousand questions and you find yourself almost having to justify exactly what you do to others. I would choose to be a carpenter, a profession that has a precise collocation in the mind of people and does not require further explanation.
FG: Ceramic is the material you use the most in your works. Why do you prefer it to others?
Roberto Cambi: Because ceramic is an ongoing challenge, no matter how experienced you are. Each process entails the risk of something going wrong. It is a medium which requires technical knowledge and patience, but most of all the ability to cope with failure and use the experience to grow both as an artist and a person.
FG: Describe your works in three words.
Roberto Cambi: Ambitious, surprising and playful.
FG: What is your creative process like? Where do you take inspiration for your pieces?
Roberto Cambi: In the words of the French mathematician Henry Poincaré, inspiration comes from new connections, new relationships with objects, people, situations which are already in my surroundings. The inspiration must be left to rest without rushing it or feeling any pressure. It doesn’t need to be put to practice straight away, but it requires to be mulled over until I am satisfied with the result.
FG: How has your style and technique evolved with time?
Roberto Cambi: Rather than the style and technique, it is the subjects of my pieces that have changed the most. The irreverent side is the same, but I have developed a stronger political conscience. The themes discussed in projects such as the Bad Boys, Clochard and The Gluttons are very close to my heart.
FG: Can you name an artist, a piece or a project that inspired you?
Roberto Cambi: I have always been attracted to Pop Art: from Eduardo Paolozzi, David Hockney to Jeff Koons more recently.
FG: What is the most provocative/brave/original that you have been as an ceramic artist and designer?
Roberto Cambi: Being yourself and not what other people want you to be is already very brave.
FG: What is the best piece of advice you have been given as an artist/designer?
Roberto Cambi: As the American writer John Steinbeck said ‘ No one wants advice – only corroboration’
FG: Do you have a favourite quote?
Roberto Cambi: Originality is for people with short memories - Grayson Perry.
FG: When you work, do you listen to music? What?
Roberto Cambi: Generally I prefer silence, but it depends on the time and what I am doing in that moment. Right now I am listening to By the river by Brian Eno.
FG: What are your future projects? What are you working on at the moment?
Roberto Cambi: When I saw the writer Richard Zimler at the launch of one of his novels, he was asked the same question. He replied detailing the plot of a book he was writing. When the new book eventually came out, it was about something else entirely. I want to surprise and in the process surprise myself too.
Courtesy pics by Max Boschini
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