For another artist whose work we find to be intriguing and moving we turn to the work of Gabriele Crippa (@gabrilong). Gabriele brings his emotive style to Instagram with every edit and every shared formula. He has been an incredible addition to the Mextures community and we consistently learn from the imagery he creates. We delve into his creative process as well as the things that he feels inspire his work in the conversation that you'll find below. Let Gabriele know what you think after you read along!
My name is Gabriele Crippa. I'm a 24-year-old Italian and I come from a town located between the Apuan Alps and the sea called Carrara which is the marble capital of the world. My friends call me "long" because of my height (we know that "tall" is the correct word but “long” sounds better). That's why my Instagram username is @gabrilong. I am a university student and I study at the department of agriculture, food and environment at the University of Pisa. I'm a chef but I'm also a waiter. I attended the hotel school so I have the skills to work in restaurant kitchens but also in the hall.
I have always been passionate about music. This has led me to love even the DJ sets and techno music. This also led me to my interest in the pictures I saw on the covers of vinyl and CDs. I was also greatly inspired by the graphic effects that you see at music festivals. So I began to discover how to create certain images and to find the tools I needed. I also started to look for a place where I could find inspiration and stay updated. I found all these things on Instagram.
My first contact on Instagram was with the feed of @hakemo. While I was looking for the tools I needed to create the imagery I wanted to create I discovered the Union app and that day one of @hakemo's pieces was featured. It was the very first surrealist image that I saw and I fell in love right away. Rob has a style that I love and that is perfectly in-line with my tastes.
For me, the best and most creative ideas I had came to me while on the train to go to University or on a sunny afternoon while I was on the beach. I decided to use something that was always with me to create my images, and for that, nothing is better than my cell phone. I started performing a "study" of what other artists were creating and I saw that there were no limits. While I failed to express myself through music that I loved, I tried instead to represent the music that I felt in my images. Usually in the description of the images I post I'll insert a techno track. I do that because I think that track is one that can describe to perfection what I feel and what makes me the image I just created. Music is always an integral part of my editing process. My work always begins with good background music. I don't think that I have a specific style. I create everything - gloomy, dark Sci-Fi, dramatic pictures with an intrinsic message within them that are able to describe my mood and what I feel .
My dream is to one day be able to create artwork for international techno artists. This would be something that would give me a lot of satisfaction.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET IN TO PHOTOGRAPHY AND DESIGN?
I was looking for a way to express myself. After I found @hakemo's work on Instagram, I started to discover other artists. Initially, I started experimenting by simply creating images that had a meaning. I would take an image of boys canoeing from one photo and frame them in another landscape, so my approach was not at all surrealist. Once I collaborated with my friend Liz (@lizardneedsfood_badly) during a round of the @mexturescollective and from that day forward I began to abandon the idea of my creations making sense. Then I discovered the amazing feeds of @lvnatikk, my friend @bryandelae, my friend and inspiration Johnny (@gosleep_), and my two compatriots @emmasancez and @eleathar.
After I discovered these feeds I started to learn more about surreal artistry. Taking inspiration from these artists I started my journey! For the first time in my life I have finally found something that satisfies me and gives me the chance to express what I feel inside without filter. I've found the right artists and the right inspiration at the right time of my life!
WHAT SORT OF GEAR DO YOU PHOTOGRAPH WITH?
I use only my iPhone. One of my goals for after graduation is to buy a professional camera and maybe even other important instruments that can help me to refine my editing process. One day I would like to create images using only my own photos - taking from the world exactly what I want and blending all of the elements together to create my own world.
WHAT ARE THE APPS YOU USE THE MOST?
I mostly use Union app for the first steps. Sometimes I use the apps from Brain Fever Media such as LensLight, LensFX and Alien Sky. I really like the fog effect of Lens Distortion and I use it quite often. I also use Glitché, but not as much. The best results for me came from a fusion of Union and Mextures. It's incredible what you can do with these two apps on a device that fits into the palm of your hand.
Mextures is amazing. It's the core of my process and not just for the final touches. I use Mextures layer by layer to bring out particularities or to cover some imperfections or things I simply don't want to see.
WHAT MAKES A PIECE MEMORABLE TO YOU?
I think it is really difficult to answer this question because it's subjective. For a piece to be memorable it should arouse emotions. I love the creations that lead me to remember certain moments in my short life. In my opinion, for a piece to be memorable it must also be totally out of the ordinary - it has to be something that affects both the brain and the heart.
HOW DO YOU USE MEXTURES TO ACHIEVE THE MOOD AND FEEL YOU WORK TO CREATE IN YOUR IMAGES?
As I said before, mextures is the core of my editing process. This app is able to completely change the mood of a photo. You can turn a bright photo into a dark photo with the right formula and balance. My process starts with a layer of Grit and Grain. I always use a layer from this pack or a layer from Emulsion. Then I choose a film preset. I'm a big fan of the DIANA preset. It adds heavy blue and red colors to the photo. It's perfect and totally inline with what I have in mind and with the mood that I want to give all of my photos. I usually use PX-70 and the F-FP film preset also. I'm also a big fan of CROSS PROCESS, but only when I want to give a "frozen mood" to my creation.
After that I usually play with a combination of textures from the Atmospheric pack and from Landscape Enhance. My favorite textures are GLOOM_N_DOOM , SOOTHSAYER, REVERENCE, STAID and SOMBER. These are definitely my favorites and they appear in every formula I build.
My approach is to work layer by layer. For example, if I was trying to create a nighttime effect, I usually apply a basic formula with only a few effects that can change the basic atmosphere. When I'm satisfied with the result I start to play around with it in Union if I want to add some elements. Later I start the "real work" and I build the finishing formula - the formula that can blend everything together.
I think mextures has the perfect tools to allow the artist to get the most out of his or her imagination. That's precisely why I constantly try to go a step further. I don't care if the combination that I choose seems too excessive or weird as long as it is satisfying and I can see some sort of innovation in the process. Sometimes I have fun blending layers in darken mode and then other layers in difference mode. Often this combination creates interesting effects. Just try it. Experiment.
The Mextures app gives you the opportunity to explore different combinations and infinite colors. It is my Dexter's Laboratory.
WHY DO YOU FIND CREATING TO BE IMPORTANT?
Creating something is the only way to fully express yourself. You have the opportunity to learn something new every day when you create things. Instagram is a beautiful place where you can learn from, talk to, and get to know other artists. You can share techniques, methods, and ideas. When you create something you can do what you want in the way you want. Creating is important for your brain and for your health. The desire to create what we have in mind is a constant motivation.
COULD YOU SHARE A FEW OF THE MOST INSPIRING ACCOUNTS YOU FOLLOW?
First of all, @gosleep_ is my ultimate source of inspiration. I think that Giovanni can create exactly what I've always wanted to create. His creations are one of the reasons why I started editing photos. I've always had the desire to be like him. He's an inspiration to all!
Another inspiring feed is that of @felixvelvet. Some people might think that Felix does weird things. Some of my friends say he's mad! I think that he can create the perfect horror atmosphere. He is the master of darkness.
Another important artist for my inspiration is the feed of @521gemini. Nikki is an incredible artist. Her formulas are really great. Her dark pictures are something that I've never seen. Sometimes she shares her process and, believe me, it's incredible.
Another important artist who has helped fuel my imagination is @hakemo. He was the first artist that I discovered. I've never told Rob that he is probably the reason why I started creating imagery. Rob and Giovanni are the artists that have influenced me the most.
When it comes to dark tones we should talk about @vitellozzo_brado. I managed to get my hands on quite a few his formulas, and I guarantee you, if all you want is darkness, then you have found the right person.
Gabriel (@unworn) has created an incredible style. I deeply love his creations and the feeling that he can draws out. I must say that he is another master of darkness!
Another important feed is that of mnupnxstudio. Emanuele is a photographer from Cagliari. He's from Italy like I am. His photos are really gloomy and dark. He is one of the few, along with Felix, who manage to scare me.
Those who have inspired me in creating images with planets, stars, etc, are @guardiansoftrance and @resverie_. They both have very different styles but both have impressed me in the same way. @guardiansoftrance with his nebulae and starry skies caught my attention right away. It is thanks to him and his interview with Mextures that I learned about working layer by layer. I really love the atmosphere that @resverie_ manages to create.
Other important artists are @eleathar and @emmasancez. They're my compatriots. Francesco lives near my hometown. The three of us have very different styles and we're focused on different themes, but I love how those two can distort reality. I think that Francesco is the Doctor Strange of Instagram. Valerio also makes great pieces and really unbelievable portraits! But aside from their imagery, they are my dear friends. Besides inspiring me, they have taught me so many things.
I didn't know who I could compare myself to until I found @bryandelae and @lizardneedsfood_badly. I have some sort of connection with Bryan. He's incredible. Bryan has always been very friendly, helpful, and willing to explain things. Thanks to him I began my "sculpture project" where my goal was to create a series of shots that looked like the type of sculptures carved on the side of mountains and such. I left the project after Bryan “retired" from Instagram. Liz is the first artist I've ever spoken to. It's overwhelming how nice she is. I am a complete stranger to her who lives on the other side of the planet. I introduced myself to ask her advice. Shortly after we talked it seemed like we had known each other for a lifetime. She is a very active Instagrammer and is always very kind in her comments. She's always present and her support is very important to me. I love her even though I don't know her personally.
@lvnatikk is simply the best. I love her creations. She has a creative mind full of ideas. She's like a surgeon. So precise!
I think an artist, regardless of their commitments, should always be available to the less experienced, to anyone who wants to learn something from them. I dislike those who feels superior just because they have many followers. Being famous on Instagram is like being rich in Monopoly. So I would encourage everyone to be nicer and more helpful. You can make an important mark on every person who comes to you for help. Share and explain your techniques.
Check out more of Gabriele's work here!