Giovanni Motta is one of the Italian crypto artists who best embodies the epochal transition from physical art to the immaterial world of NFTs.
Born in Verona in 1971, he came to art after a successful creative and advertising career. Drawing has been a passion of his since childhood. When he was only 9 years old, he won an international drawing competition organized by the FAO, but he had to wait until 2000 to exhibit his works in galleries and public spaces: drawings, paintings and 3D sculptures that reveal his passion for manga and anime, but also for American cartoons.
Jonny Boy, the metaphor of the inner child
At the heart of his work is Jonny Boy, a character who embodies the strength and innocence of childhood, but who is also a metaphor for the inner child that inhabits the consciousness of every man. His almost hyper-realist painting, but contaminated by pop culture and the consumerist imagery of the 1980s, has a message that is as simple as it is powerful: the rediscovery of childhood creativity as a vital energy that resides in the memory of individuals and can be rediscovered through psychological and spiritual excavation. All his works, in fact, stem from his daily practice of regressive meditation, a technique that allows him to bring vivid memories of the past to the surface from the buried depths of the unconscious, which he then translates into images that capture the sense of wonder and excitement of childhood experiences.
These works originate in the form of digital projects, through the use of software such as Photoshop and Cinema 4D, and are then transformed into paintings or sculptures. But the first creative impulse lies with drawing. Motta fills hundreds of sheets of paper with sketches, drafts and studies before creating any work, be it a painting or a video animation, a sculpture or a crypto work.
Jonny Boy in Giovanni Motta’s NFTs
His NFTs, all on the SuperRare platform, are made with great attention to detail and almost maniacal optical precision. This is an attitude he learnt from observing artists such as Takashi Murakami, the founder of the Japanese Superflat movement, who was able to fuse the style of the mangaka with the attitude of American pop artists, and who is also known for his quest for rigorous formal perfection.
In Giovanni Motta’s crypto works, which combine digital painting, 3D processing, animation and sound, the character of Jonny appears as a suspended, floating entity, dragging a plethora of objects into its vortex which, like appendages of his personality, reveal his tastes and passions, desires and aspirations. This personification of the inner Child never touches the ground, but flies and glides like William Gibson’s cyber-cowboys, but in contrast to the character invented by the American writer, the Johnny Mnemonic played by Keanu Reeves in the famous 1995 film directed by Robert Longo, Motta’s character does not fight against the excessive power of the multinationals but fights to perpetuate the dimension of play and the experience of pleasure as the only forms of spiritual resistance.
In his digital works, the feeling of excitement is encoded in the form of the video game metaphor. Jonny’s fluctuations recall the condition of the player, estranged from everyday reality, immersed in the flow of the game, in a dimension of synaesthetic dilation in which the perception of the passing of time is altered by massive doses of endorphin.
Matteo Bittanti, one of the leading experts on Digital Game Culture, maintains that videogames are a happiness machine, specifically developed to create instant gratification (Machinima: from video game to video art, 2017, Mimesis), but in Giovanni Motta’s vision, it is transformed into the symbol of a state of mind consisting of that particular sensation of “divine invasion” that accompanies the moments of joy and euphoria of childhood and which unfortunately fade with the passing of the years.