Seeking Happiness: The Life of an Artist through the Lens of Photographer Yari Sacco

When Yari Sacco first arrived in Toronto for a six-month stay from Italy, the only person he knew was an uncle living in Oshawa with his family. But within the first couple of weeks, he had already begun to build up an extensive network of friends – artists, musicians, photographers, dancers, and other Italians living and working at the heart of Toronto’s creative life.

This is typical of Yari. The Italian-born photographer travels incessantly, almost compulsively, and he’s developed a knack for picking up friends as easily as he picks up languages (“After the first one it’s easier,” he says. “Your brain is working to learn something different.”)

As a result, he speaks not just Italian, but also Spanish, English and sprinklings of French, something he began to learn after he arrived in Canada in January. In fact, his former French teacher, Vincent – himself in the city on a one-year work visa with his girlfriend – soon became a part of his circle of friends in the city.

It’s natural that he is drawn to creative types because he is an artist himself. His university degree is in Fine Art, with a focus on painting. He has also been to all the major museums of art and history in Rome, Paris, Bilboa, Madrid, Barcelona and London.

But he admits that doesn’t like to paint.

“Because painting it’s very old, everything is done, with painting,” he says. “All the same style. Sometimes it’s abstract, but abstract was made in 1920 by Kandinsky. So why you make abstract now? Nothing change. If I paint Expressionism, like the painters during the 50s, it’s same. So with paintings you can create, you can make the same style that other painters they already make before, like pop art, or Realism, Surrealism. If I make a Surrealist painting like Dali, it’s nothing different, you’re just copying. It’s like a remake, like music.”

For Yari, his true sense of his place in art began when his father gave him a camera and he started to take photographs, initially blending them with his painting in collage-style art, before switching over entirely to photography. This was where he found his vision.

“It’s not just for the time, that it’s faster or what, it’s for the concept,” he says. “What image, what I have in my mind I can express with photography, I don’t need painting.”

He came to Toronto after a year of studying Photography at Escuela Arte Granada, in Granada, Spain, but that wasn’t the first place his photography took him.

Yari has hiked in the jungles of Thailand, photographed street life in Morocco, thrown all-night raves in Granada, and walked the pristine beaches of Guadeloupe. He’s photographed centuries-old architecture in his hometown of Calabria, and more recently, street festivals in Toronto. He has travelled all over Europe – Portugal, Spain, Greece, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, the U.K. and the Czech Republic – and through it all his camera has served as a living document of his explorations.

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To many, and indeed to this writer, his life sounds glamorous, something to be envied by those bound to their own lives. But he is bluntly pragmatic about the instability of being an itinerant artist.

“Somebody else chose that we have to live with money, so you have to live with money, now. And sometimes here I was living with ten dollars a day. It was not easy.” Continue reading

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Painting the Town Blue: A Review of Blue Man Group’s Toronto Summer Show

Blue Man Group - Credit: Paul Kolnik (via Cadence Canada Magazine)

Blue Man Group - Credit: Paul Kolnik (via Cadence Canada Magazine)

Even if you’ve never seen them, chances are you’ve heard of them. When I was attempting to describe to a friend the show I had the chance to see on July 20 at the Princess of Wales Theatre, it was only when I googled “Blue Man Group” on my Blackberry and showed him an image of the unmistakeable blue-skinned, bald-headed trio that his eyes lit up in recognition and he said, “Oh, I know them!”

The Blue Man Group has become as ubiquitous as Cirque du Soleil, and for good reason. Their combination of art, multimedia, theatrics, music, and cheeky social commentary have made it the kind of show where, when people say you have to see it to get it, that isn’t just a lazy description. That being said, a Blue Man performance is more than a show – it truly is a visual, aural, sensory, multimedia experience, and if you’re lucky, you get to be a part of it, too. Continue reading

Chinese Lunar New Year, UTSC

According to legend, from what I was told by a member of the Anime Club, a thousand paper cranes grants you one wish. Their wish? A goodwill wish for Haiti.