- Past the shallows come find me
- Studio Visit: Rob Cristofaro
- Lettuce and Baccalà Recipe by Chef Caterina Ceraudo
This new issue of Baccalà is a special one, dedicated to a situation that the whole world is facing. I am writing from my home country of Milan, Italy, a country that has been dramatically affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. It has been a difficult month for everyone. Having been forced into isolation, we are left without many certainties for our future (including work) and with an ever present fear affecting our daily lives. Despite all this, I believe that we must look to the positive from this situation. This period gave us a moment of quiet, a transitory slowdown from the frenetic pace of our society. For the first time in a long time, we had to listen to ourselves and listen the voice of our planet. This does not mean that we stop the engine and wait with crossed arms but to re-evaluate our customs for a better rebirth. This issue of Baccalà has collected photographically and artistically, those who want to share their experiences during the pandemic. Jenna Putnam’s poems and photography will transport us to bear witness to her feelings, daily moods and romantic lucid dreams experienced during quarantine. Cosimo Fanciullacci watches what’s happening outside his apartment window in Paris. Marco Traverso spent his quarantine days collecting and photographing flowers, a new one each day, as a symbol of the change we are going through.
For many of us, this is a moment of transition as we examine how to reinvent, evolve and adapt to the global changes we are all experiencing. Due to the pandemic, we have had to delay publication of content that we had already created and worked so earnestly to materialize. In order that we don’t delay release of all this exceptional content, we have decided to offer the latest edition free of charge. Thank you all and I hope this issue of Baccalà will keep you company.
– Alessandro Casagrande, Milan, Italy 2020
Ciao! Baccalà No.6
A flower, a twig, a little bit of nature picked from my garden.
One item for every day that passes in quarantine.
Flowers are documented one by one during this period of transition and mutation.First they bloom, then they wilt, not so different to us, confined in our houses.
Photography by Marco Traverso
Rob Cristofaro (b. 1970, Brooklyn, New York) is a multimedia visual artist best known for establishing New York City as a street culture capitol of the world in the late 1990s as well as an extensive graffiti career dating back to the late 80’s. He went on to leverage relationships with his up-and-coming artist peers and founded Alife®: an influential art collective and streetwear brand with a cult following and several gallery / retail outposts around the world. In 2002, the artist organized a legendary Deitch Projects exhibition of sixty 1990s New York artists including Andrew Kuo, Brendan Fowler, Kaws, Mark Gonzales, Ryan McGinness, Steven Powers and Todd James. Cristofaro works in a variety of mediums ranging from painting and sculpture to large-scale architectural inventions, often using gritty, “low art” references to subvert perceptions of pop culture and luxury, and conversely creating new symbols of contemporary life in New York and America.
Interview by Scott A. Sant’Angelo
Images courtesy of Rob.projects℠
Audio excerpt with Rob Cristofaro
* Warning: This interview has been transcribed from audio so if sounding a little funny….
Scott A. Sant’Angelo (SAS) – A lot has changed since we first meet back in 1999 on so many levels but let’s start from the beginning. Tell us a bit about yourself, where you grew up, schooling and what lead you wanting to be an artist/designer?
Rob Cristofaro (RC) – Hello, my name is Rob. 1970. I’m a native New Yorker. Grew up here and been here my entire life. My parents grew up here, my grandparents migrated here from Italy, so third generation. My daughter is growing up here in the city. So we’ve been here and not really trying to leave.
I was an illustration major at The School of Visual Arts, really not knowing that I wasn’t going to make any money doing illustration as that field kind of fizzled out with the death of the majority of print publications and whatnot. But that was my major in college. Really art school for me was more than anything a sharpening of the skills growing up as an artist.
My mother was a painter, never formally trained or anything like that. Some of my earliest memories were the homes that we lived in growing up. My mother would paint these very graphic seventies-esque paintings in our living room. I remember our living room would be full of these really graphic paintings, a lot of lines, cool colors, large scale where they would wrap around the entire room – I always remember that. My mother also painted canvases and stuﬀ, but really, as a kid, I remember the more graphic works that she did. I think that was a very early introduction to my artistic style and design esthetic amongst other things. So yeah, thank you to my mother.
SAS – The start of this year has been an obvious challenge, how have you been coping with our current situation?
RC – So here in the heart of the Coronavirus outbreak, New York City, mid May, one day melds into the next. (When) it started out I was just trying to keep a schedule of normalcy, which has extended for two months, now three months, however long it’s been. But I think at first I wasn’t really thinking that it was going to be as major an event as it has turned out to be. So I was kind of passive about it. I kept going to my studio for a few weeks, I was not really trying to leave the city (or anything like that) and I became pretty focused on work. I put a lot of energy into my work and get really lost in it. Sometimes I will lose myself and it’s a distraction to reality a lot of times. So I definitely have spent a good amount of time during this pandemic planning my future works, planning projects that will not really take place until people are able to congregate once again. A lot of family time, spending time with my daughter and my daughter’s mother. At times of craziness like this, we’re always pulled together even though we’re not married, but we are definitely a pretty solid unit in times of craziness like this. We have been through quite a few life altering scenerios here together, black outs, Hurricane Sandy, etc etc…
So I’ve been spending time dealing and coping with all the newness that came out of this, the schooling for my daughter and this new lifestyle of being home more than I ever have. Overall (I think) for myself, I’ve managed to stay on a pretty regular schedule where, I get up, I work out in the morning, I make my coﬀee, I spend hours doing studio work and then I try to make a point to get my kid out of the house and go to an open area, outside the home. It’s been a learning experience, but I would say that we take what is thrown at us and make the best of it. You know, that’s New York, you deal with the shit that you get thrown at you and turn it into the best scenario you can.
SAS – What do you love most about living/working in New York and do you ever see yourself living and working anywhere else?
RC – I don’t really see myself in any other place, working or moving, to live or anything like that. This is my home. I grew up here, I’m very comfortable here. I’m comfortable with the pace of New York. I think New York has a pretty crazy, speed to it where there are so many tourists and people that come for work from other countries or states to start their lives here. New York beats a lot of people up and sours a lot of people I think. Unless you really know how to finesse New York, it’ll kill you. So for me, I love the competitiveness. I love the melting pot aspect, the scenario where it’s everybody from every land all in one place. It’s the best of the best. I think New York is the epicenter of the globe and hate me or love me for it but I am very New York-centric. It shows in the work that I do and the content that I put forth. It shows in my brand that we started 20 years ago.
The city is one thing, but New York is a big state and you travel two and a half hours one way and you’re up in the Catskill Mountains, which is beautiful. Then you go the other direction for two and a half hours, and you’re at some of the best beaches in the world, like Montauk and the Hampton’s. What I try to do often is head up to the mountains to get a breath of fresh air. I’ll spend a couple of days on no social media on no internet. I’ll come back and have a new head. I kind of have it figured out to the point where if I need to clear my head and escape locally for a quickie, I get out, it’s kind of necessity.
SAS – How has your environment shaped you as an designer?
RC – I think this environment that I’ve grown up in has definitely has shaped my design aesthetics along with my work ethic. Just being here in New York is really do or die. You can’t fuck around out here. You can’t go halfway into anything really. This city will chew you up and spit you out and it’s onto the next. There are so many people here that are hungry, loads of young kids with good ideas and it’s nonstop pushing. I think that for the people that have figured it out there’s no fucking with you. You have to know how to navigate scenarios, you learn all of this, of course, with time and with experience. The amount of shit that I’ve learned unfortunately has been by mistakes and a lot of times your mistakes are losses of money in business, but really there’s no other way to learn any of this stuﬀ. So I’m fortunate that I’m still here. I thank God that I’m able to make a living with my hands and my mind.
There are a lot of people in our field, but there are not too many that I’m worried about. There are a handful of people that I really respect what they do, but there are a ton of people following other people based upon trend-driven shit which is something that I have never really played into. I try to do things that I really enjoy doing, which I think has always diﬀerentiated anything that my brand has done or I’ve done. It’s always authentic in regards to it’s meaning to me. I will never work with a company because everybody else is working with that company, you know like its a trend to work with them. A lot of times the people that we work with or I work with when we release certain projects are very pre trend I guess you could say. Most times the product doesn’t catch on until a year or so after when other brands see that it is ok to step outside of the streetwear box. I take risks to work with brands that are not trending all the time. It’s my specialty.
Download the Issue to Read the Full Interview
Dattilo Restaurant was born inside an old oil mill on the Ceraudo Roberto farm – a 1600’s farmhouse surrounded by vineyards, a vegetable garden, olive, and citrus groves. The Dattilo facilities also include a 10-room farmhouse, immersed in the colors and scents of centuries-old olive trees, maritime pines, lemon, and pomegranate trees. The Ceraudo family manages it all with a strong emphasis on hospitality, delicious and healthy cuisine at the table, thereby enhancing the company’s products, Dattilo has a typical rural architecture with simple and refined furnishings. The restaurant is spread over two rooms, providing a warm and welcoming environment. Patrons who want to experience the Calabrian countryside in all its beauty enjoy courtyard candlelit dinners here all summer long.
Chef Caterina Ceraudo is at the helm of the cuisine of the starred restaurant. Born in 1987, Caterina’s interest was first with wine as she studied oenology Tuscany in 2007 and became an oenologist in 2011, at the young age of 24. But soon after, Caterina discovered her boundless passion for cooking. Her journey began in 2006 when she took charge of the wine list of the family’s restaurant upon returning home from school. Then in 2012 Caterina attended the Niko Romito School of Higher Education in Castel di Sangro (Abruzzo) before putting on her chef’s jacket as chef de cuisine of her family’s restaurant. In meeting Romito (now a 3 Michelin starred chef), Caterina soon realized that her true passion was not in wine but cooking.
Introduction by Alessandro Casagrande
Photography courtesy of The Dattilo Restaurant
In a saucepan, put a clove of garlic, the aromatic herbs, and the extra virgin olive oil, until reaching a temperature of 45 degrees. Leave the herbs in infusion until cooled and finally remove the herbs and garlic.
Marinate water and salt at 5% and put the lettuce and the outer leaves of the romaine lettuce to marinate for 12 hours under vacuum. After the marinating time, dry and squeeze the salad from the marinade on access and centrifuge, add the juice of a medium lemon to the centrifuge, then thicken with a natural thickener (300g of juice 1.5g of thickener).
Romaine lettuce heart
Remove the external leaves until it reaches the heart, carve the heart to give it an elongated shape.
Cut the baccalà into small pieces of the same size, cook the baccalà with the milk in a pan on a very low heat for about 30 minutes, until the milk is completely absorbed, then whisk.
At the base of a deep dish, put a quenelle of baccalà, lay the lettuce heart on top, cover with a layer of the centrifuge the lettuce heart, finally add the ground white pepper and the herb oil.