For decades, a 1921 painting by Pablo Picasso of a mother embracing her child, naturally called Mother and Child, has hung on the walls of the Art Institute of Chicago. In the 1960s, a Chicago architect met with Picasso to convince him to take part in a new sculpture project (which would eventually become an untitled work in the city’s Daley Plaza). He handed Picasso a catalog of the institute’s works, which included Mother and Child. Picasso ran inside, grabbed a canvas scroll, handed it to the architect and told him to give it to the art institute. The scroll contained an entirely new piece to Mother and Child—a painting of a man leaning into the frame. A father.
“This was a revelation in the art world, nearly 40 years after the piece was painted,” Matt Cimaglia explains. After the discovery, technicians used x-rays to uncover that Picasso had painted over the man’s arm, which was dangling a fish over the boy’s head—another example of the art world enhanced by technology.
“It was a side to a significant painting that nobody but Picasso, knew existed, and that story makes the painting mean so much more,” Cimaglia adds. “If you hear that story, it changes the way you see the painting—why did he cut out the father? Why did he decide to recover it decades later? Suddenly, the painting is more than just a mother and her child. It becomes uniquely rich in its own complete story.”
Cimaglia’s point is clear to why he has spent the past year curating video from artists all over the country. Now available, 360ArtProject is an incredibly advanced, compelling and ultimately educational tool that uses 360-degree video technology to capture an artist at work. Viewers will have the ability to watch various artists of all mediums, genres, locations, etc. doing what they do best: creating art.
“The experience is very intimate and unique. One of the elements I love most about art is the story behind it, and now not only can people hear the story from an interview with the artists themselves, but they can see the artist at work. You sometimes find out the fascinating things about an artist or why they created something way beyond how you may have judged based on simple first looks without knowing. When having these extra elements or pieces of information, I think it encourages people to look beyond what they have in front of them. Using 360-degree video will allow a viewer to follow the eye line of an artist as they muse an object or reference point while then returning to work. Being able to track that as a viewer and feel like you are there with them as they create is a remarkable feeling of intimacy.”
Cimaglia’s goals and plans for 360ArtProject seem almost limitless. With an app launching early this year to expand the viewing capabilities, there is an aspect to art history and preservation that is addressed with this project. It will enable viewers and future historians to look back and see the tools and techniques being used by contemporary artists.
“Many legendary artists didn’t even realize how innovative they were at the time,” Cimaglia says. “Decades from now, tools and techniques along with the political climate will be different. We have to make sure that we create as complete of an archive as possible to inspire the next generation of master artists.”
It’s no mystery that technology and its potential continuously influence younger people of this generation. With 360ArtProject, Cimaglia is offering a new way to get immersed in fine art. And while the draw of this project may still be highlighted in its state-of-the-art technology, it is opening a new door to a critical aspect of culture. This door is being open to anyone who may not have the privilege of art exposure, or even more specifically, those being held back for geographical reasons.
The individuals that take part in the experience of 360ArtProject are not the only ones benefiting. The artists themselves are gaining an entirely new form of exposure, validation and creativity. It’s a new, impactful way to share the story of their work and all that goes into creating.
Cimaglia has tapped into the backbone of relationships and resources that have been part of his creative agency aptly named Cimaglia Productions for over the past 15 years. The full-suite creative content agency, offering services including brand strategy, innovative platforms, tech-inspired content and digital engagement programs. His love for entrepreneurship and the arts began at a very young age and continues to be of utmost priority. The foundation of Cimaglia’s work and a vital facet of 360ArtProject is the notion of giving using the means one has. He prides his company on using resources for positive change, as well as honing in on what technology will shape future methods of communication.
“The content is for everyone to see without any cost associated. As this project grows I hope to form it into a full non-profit with support staff, but for now I will continue to use my resources in building this vision of inspiration for art lovers.”