“The eye sees what the mind knows”
Johann Wolfgang Goethe
Born in: Denver, Colorado
He lives in: New York
Age: 26 years
He studied at: Studio Arts College International (Florence)
One of the most suitable locations for the study of art, worldwide, is certainly Florence and, not surprisingly, this city offers a wide variety of “study abroad” programs focused on the study of culture and art, and not exclusively Italian culture and art. It happens very often that young Americans, fascinated by the beauty of the city but also by the quality of the study programs offered in Florence, choose this location to enrich their training, like Andrew Gatti did a few years ago. Now he is a professional photographer who today lives and works in New York.
Andrew, like many young Americans and non-Americans, you’ve had a fairly “busy” life. Can you tell us your story?
“I was born in 1992 in Denver, Colorado and I spent my childhood in Akron, Ohio, before returning to Colorado in 2010, where I attended the University of Denver, and in 2014 I obtained my first degree in “Studio Art, and Italian Language and Literature”. During my university, I spent four months in Perugia, where in 2012 I attended the University for Foreigners, studying Italian language and culture before returning to Denver to complete my university career. Then, in 2015, I moved to Florence, where I attended the “College of Art & Design Florence” (SACI), obtaining a “Master of Fine Arts” in Photography in 2017. I now live and work in New York”.
Tell us about your study experience at the international art school, based in Florence. What was the added value of your experience compared to studying in any other city in the world?
“I believe that living and studying in one of the Italian and world capitals of art and culture has represented, in an absolute sense, the most important added value of my study experience in Florence, a city that is at the center of Italy and, in some way, even the European Union. And this was one of the reasons that, a few years ago, led me to choose my two-year course of photographic studies at SACI, which is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and offers programs in traditional and contemporary arts, design, conservation, art history and Italian language and culture and such paths are “Master of Fine Arts” (MFA), “Master of Art” (MA), Postbaccalaureate programs (Post-Bac) and “Undergraduate Studies” (1st level courses), all accredited and recognized in the United States. The other reason was the preparation of the teachers and their works; I immediately appreciated their professionalism and work philosophy, as well as the composition of the classes, generally small. In particular, I followed a two-year MFA course and during this time I also worked as a teaching assistant for two professors. The degree program at SACI was recommended to me by a professor of the University of Denver. The professors at SACI come from different parts of the world: Canada, Italy, Portugal, the United States, France; and the high quality of their training was international, with diverse and stimulating cultural points of view. But what really made my experience unique was the city where I was lucky enough to live”.
Your experience in Florence has helped you improve your knowledge of Italian. But it was not the only motivation.
“My great-grandparents were Sicilian and came from a small village in the province of Palermo. It was my grandfather who taught me some Italian, which was “his” language, that is a mixture of dialect, Italian and American. My Italian has also improved during the Erasmus experience I did at the University for Foreigners of Perugia and, moreover, during my period of study in Florence. I came to know about this school as I worked toward my bachelor degree, SACI was collaborating with my university for study abroad programs, but I preferred to choose a full degree course, thanks to the suggestion of my painting professor at the university of Denver who had previously worked with SACI as well as taught a course there. The two years at SACI have were demanding for me: I was a teaching assistant for the professors of both analog film photography, and digital photography for the study abroad undergraduate students. I studied studio techniques, lighting, darkroom methods, digital practices, the history of photography, art history, painting, printmaking and Italian language among other courses. I went on numerous trips and visited museums. I had a partial scholarship, based on academic merit which was exclusively for American students. I chose to live alone and I lived in three different apartments, one near the station, one near the “Accademia di Belle Arti” and near Santa Croce and so I had the opportunity to live the full beauty of living in the center of Florence, to immerse myself in the Italian language and to let myself be enveloped by the beauty of a city that preserves and takes care of its historical and natural beauty”.
What is your job now? Did your experience in Florence help you?
“Now I’m an assistant photographer and digital archivist for 20th and 21st century design gallery that deals with art and design especially furniture, and lighting, called R and Company, which had a recent exhibition called “SuperDesign” which was dedicated specifically to radical Italian design in the 1960’s. I had the chance to combine my passion for photography with an activity linked to Italian language and culture, which I deeply know and to which I feel particularly attached”.