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Madonna of the flying saucer 2.0

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Date Minted: December 25, 2019 (Merry Christmas!)

Artist Description: The cryptic UFO mystery of 15th century painting from Florence finally unraveled...  

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

As it says in Digisanzio’s Superrare Artist Description, “We are a family of artists.” It’s only right then to talk about Digisanzio in the plural, and not just because of this professed multiplicity, but because of the subsequent emergence of so many varied styles throughout their shared Superrare page. I tend to believe that Superrare 1/1’s are the best marker of an artist’s underlying aesthetic ethos (though I’m open to being convinced otherwise), if for no other reason than committing to a 1/1 requires much more conviction in that specific piece of art, in its worth and value as a scarce resource, than something else with many editions. And one can see why Digisanzio would have conviction in their many pieces: It’s not just a many-faceted style they display, but a many-faceted mastery. Here we find pieces in all manner of compositional techniques, and which “ combine the experience of two generations and the essence of the analog-digital duality.” Herein we find 3D sculpture, we find impressionism, we find homage and impasto, sci-fi and the classics in equal measure, today’s pop culture and the universal language of the Greco-Romans all intermingled; I spot Vitalik, Bitcoin, and Ethereum all directly referenced. 

Within this distinct and diverse visual language are few avenues for comparison. Some of these pieces are direct analogues to each other, yes, and certainly if one wanted to, we could probably sequence these pieces and make judgments about their underlying artists, but really that would be besides the point. Each piece is its own unique story, developed by a unique hand, synthesized under the single pseudonym “Digisanzio” and that holds doubly true for Madonna of the flying saucer 2.0, a piece which seems to integrate and anticipate all that Digisanzio will collectively output, combining their impulse and integrity into a single piece. 

Here we get the neo-classical composition, the reference to current events, the absurdity of crypto art all wrapped into a succinct package. Madonna of the flying saucer 2.0 initially shows just a single figure, a dark-skinned woman wrapped in a nun’s habit, she looking off to the left side of the screen, she quite similarly featured to former first lady Michelle Obama, she positioned in front of a shoreline background. Perhaps at this point we don’t pay attention to the runes engraved on the woman’s red necklace, but we’re about to, because from out of the background behind the woman appears a 1930’s-era flying saucer, this not hand-drawn but transparently a 3D model. Suddenly, those runes on the woman’s collar begin to glow bright green, and from the UFO’s abdomen, a yellow tractor beam flashes down onto the woman’s face. That’s the signal for the entire piece to change in tone. The woman’s face turns bright green, the features warp, the mouth tightens, the eyes bulge out to enormous black proportions, the very sky behind her darkens to a nebulous and miasmic purple, and we realize we’re looking not at a woman’s face but at a little green alien’s bulbous skull. Of course, this all happens quite quickly. And with the same speed, the purple background lifts, the woman’s skin returns to its native brown, and the UFO in the top-left corner vanishes back from whence it came through a tiny hole in the sky. And we’re left looking at the same picture we started with, its secrets standing revealed, the woman’s face seeming perhaps slyer than we remembered.

The two faces —female and alien— are themselves an example of the multitextuality which runs through Digisanzio’s works. The former is quite clearly painted, the brush-strokes themselves visible, while the alien’s face, the one beamed down, is realistically-molded, with elements of 3D composition, textured with tight, almost reptilian skin. And the color so bright. And the reflection of light on the giant alien eyeballs so distinct and different than anything present in the piece which preceded it. What we’re seeing, really, is a microcosm for the entire body of works Digisanzio has amassed. Multiple styles abutting each other from within an outwardly-holistic framework. Things with no seeming connection —Renaissance styles and 20th-century Extraterrestrial paranoia— emerging out of the same artistic placenta, and not appearing separately, but merged into a single product, the two competing styles literally like two cheeks on the same flounder face. 

Clearly, there exists in the Digisanzio oeuvre an irreverence, or at least a desire to not take themselves so seriously. The Renaissance style used often in Digisanzio’s works is never treated with sacrosanctity, but neither is it treated with an anarchic lack of respect. It is reduced to its aesthetics alone: a compositional technique sans larger social significance. Elsewhere in Digisanzio’s collection of works, there are more overt influences taken from art history which are obvious enough as to communicate respect —a Starry Night homage, for example— but most of the time, the various artistic styles are seen themselves as dabs of paint on a larger, more informed palette. The Digisanzio family paints not with individual colors but with eras of art history, interweaving them with cleverly composed brushstrokes and pulling from their juxtaposition a kind of refreshing irreverence, the same playful reconstruction of the world we see demonstrated by children, and which we wish, looking on from afar, we may one day recapture too. 

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