My choice for Best Photo of 2020 is the picture of Ignazio and Fabio embracing at Fabio and Maria’s Baby Reveal Party! Take that picture, put it in a dictionary under the word “friendship” and no other explanation is necessary!
My story today is about the man behind the picture, Fabio Ingrassia! His life, his art, his music and his friendship with Ignazio and Il Volo.
Fabio Ingrassia was born on June 6, 1989 in Marsala, Sicily. He is a contemporary artist. He attended the Mazara del Vallo Institute of Art and the Fine Arts Academy of Palermo. He continued his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo but without finishing his studies, thus embarking on a path full of obstacles and difficulty, at least in the eyes of the artist, but certainly not in the eyes of the public!
From an early age Fabio showed a love for art and colors. He is always looking for new stimuli and new artistic expressions. He says, “Art is the desire to live, to communicate, to discover and to admire… I live art in the shadows, in black and white between colors.”
The Il Volo fans know Fabio as a long-time friend of Ignazio and Il Volo but what they do not know is Fabio is a world-renowned artist. His works can be found in North America, South America, Japan, Russia, Mexico, Germany, Belgium and of course Italy.
Fabio’s journey took him from the small city of Marsala to the stages of America where he truly lived the American dream. He joined Il Volo on the Grande Amore World Tour with three performances in Florida.
In March 2019, in Miami, Fabio created one of the most important, music recording studio works “Latin Harmony” – a mural representing the singers who recorded in the studio of Emilio and Gloria Estefan.
Trivia: Did you know Fabio was in the “Noche Sin Dia” video with the guys? See if you can find him!
Fabio says, “Italy is my first source of inspiration. I love the Renaissance and I am lucky enough to be able to admire these masterpieces whenever I would like.” He says these masters are a source of inspiration for him however, among all the sources of inspiration, music is the one that most excites him.
Fabio has a strong admiration for Il Volo. One of the paintings that is a major part of his collection is “The Power of the Genius” where he represents Il Volo, “Three Voices One Soul.”
On September 16, 2018 together with the comedian Roberto Lipari, Fabio performed in front of 200,000 people on the occasion of the Pope’s visit to Palermo.
On August 19, 2020 Fabio and Alessandro Quarta performed at the Noto Music Festival. Fabio said, “We ‘created’ together a concert on stage, a carnal relationship with his violin, between sensuality, nostalgia and – sometimes – sadness.”
Fabio works in so many different art forms it would take not just a story but a book to write about all of it. From his sand paintings in which he is not just painting a picture but telling a story to his tattoo art.
The work of art that most of you have seen and which I truly admire is the painting he did for Domenico Dolce for 62nd birthday. It was magnificent. The painting is Fabio’s interpretation of the Moment of Creation for Domenico Dolce! In the tradition of the renaissance, he included himself and Maria in it.
He presented the painting on Instagram and asked the question, “What do you see in this painting?” Most people answered that they saw Fabio. But what he was referring to was Caravaggio’s technique of chiaroscuro. The use of light and dark to give bold effects to the painting.
Not only did he use this technique but, he incorporated baroque pieces into the painting, like the detail on the chair that Domenico is sitting on. Most artists consider these old techniques and don’t use them in their painting anymore. He has taken Contemporary art and incorporated these old elements and created a new art form.
Now I want to talk about his relationship with Ignazio and Il Volo.
Fabio and Nina Boschetto were classmates at art school and this is how he met Ignazio. He was a regular at the pizzeria.
In an interview, Fabio said, “I had the chance to see Ignazio’s passion growing, year after year. I remember the moment in which it became clear to me that success would be his path, and that it couldn’t be otherwise. When Ignazio, enthusiastically, showed me the video of the musicalStreetlight, to which he took part in, it was like a hurricane. He managed to draw everyone into his passion for music. One day you could find him studying singing techniques, another one playing the piano, and yet another one playing drums. As a friend and as a Marsala citizen I am very proud of his artistic path and of his successes.”
Let me tell you how I see their friendship. I see not just as a friendship but two brilliant minds that think alike. I think of Ignazio as not just a singer but as a whole production and I think of Fabio as not just an artist but as art itself.
What do I mean by this? Ignazio and Fabio are constantly creating. Constantly going to the next dimension. There is nothing Ignazio can’t do musically and there is nothing that Fabio can’t do artistically!
Before I move on to the part of the story, I know you are all waiting for, I would like to mention the incident when Ignazio broke his arm in Tampa.
The stage was narrow and Ignazio picked up a child and took him in his arms to take him to the center of the stage where Piero, Gianluca and the other two children were.
There were electrical cables on the ground and Ignazio tried to avoid them, but he tripped and fell holding the child. To protect the child, Ignazio twisted his body, so that his left arm hit the ground taking the full brunt of the fall while raising the child above his head to protect him.
Ignazio got up right away still holding the child in his arms and finished the song. At the next song it was clear that Ignazio had a broken shoulder but he managed to finish the concert. He left before the meet and greet. Barbara Vitali immediately took him to the hospital. In the next concert he had a sling on his arm and it remained on for two concerts. The most important thing was he needed to rest.
At that time, Fabio was in Miami and he immediately left to be with his friend. Ignazio’s spirits were low and Fabio kept him company and supported him until he was able to appear at his next performance. That’s a friend!
And now it’s time to talk about Verona! I know both of you and I wonder how Fabio does his magic in Concert. Fabio’s aim has always been to combine musical art with pictorial art… He says, “The combination of pictorial art and that of music is one of the ways to reach the viewer on a deeper emotional level.”
On September 24, 2019, Fabio performed at the Verona Arena during Il Volo’s concert. While the guys sang “Smile,” Fabio painted Charlie Chaplin.
This is when you meet the real Fabio! So, let’s listen to Fabio in his own words . . . .
“I was painting in my studio. Pongo and Peggy my dogs as usual were watching me from the glass door, ready for dinner. I was very nervous. I still had some panic attacks and the more I tried not to think about it the more I thought about it.
It was 7:00 pm and Ignazio called me and asked me to be a guest of Il Volo at the concert in Verona. I can’t express my happiness but in the best of my expression I said WOW!
From that moment on I immediately concentrated on the realization of my performance. What to do, on what support, easel, color.
After choosing the song and the character to present with Il Volo, I had to try and try again until I got the time and the result I wanted. I had to create a story, not a simple painting . . . a story that had a beginning and an end . . . The song was ‘Smile’ and I had to represent Charlie Chaplin. I liked the idea so much! I had read everything about Chaplin because one evening at dinner Valentino Picone made me fall in love with him by telling me of his importance in the world of cinema.
After days and sleepless nights, I found what I liked . . . I would start with the horizontal canvas by painting a Chaplin from behind in a countryside landscape, then I would turn the canvas, spin it and continue the painting until the face was blown up.
Time was short for such a large and complex canvas. I asked for more time but there was not much that could be done.
I tried the painting only once, in my parents’ living room. The proof was beautiful but, I was out with the time, I could not fit it within the four minutes I had available.
I did mental training on distances, movements and dimensions to maintain and I tried closing my eyes trying to simulate the realization of the painting, making it several times would have been too expensive.
I get the canvas, the easel and the suitcases in the car and Maria and I leave for Verona.
The next day I immediately went to the arena to set everything up and do a test, but the arena is outdoors so we couldn’t try the lights. I was worried, for my way of working I have to have everything 100% and that uncertainty gave me anxiety.
The evening comes, we are in the dressing rooms, Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca were rehearsing and I was getting paranoid about the lighting issue, I wanted to give 100% and not having control over that, it made me question myself. Ignazio calmed me by telling me that we should have fun and do nothing else. The concert begins, it’s freezing cold but, I go up on stage in short sleeves, the adrenaline rushing, I looked at the full Arena and for two hours I had goosebumps. Really incredible . . . indescribable . . . then my moment arrives ”Smile” begins. They place a light on me on the right of the stage and the magic begins. I forget about the 14,000 people behind me. My mental exercise was now real . . . the brush slips on canvas creating shapes, but the light is too strong and reflects my eyes, so I close them trying not to lose control and I create Charlie’s hat with my eyes closed. Three minutes are few but, in that context, they become even less, the canvas turns and my race against time becomes more and more fierce.
When the song ends and I turn the painting, the crowd is euphoric, Ignazio makes a speech that leaves me speechless, I hug the guys and leave the stage. I immediately run to the dressing room and lock myself in. I’m always very demanding with myself. I can’t enjoy the moment because I would like to do more, but then I check the phone and I had thousands of notifications, photos, videos, I see myself again and I understood that my message had reached everyone.
So, I ran through the backstage corridors of the arena and went to look at what I had done, look where I did it and for a few seconds I was satisfied. I took the brush and defined it with details.
Behind the scenes it was a competition to see who wanted to take the painting but, in the end, together with Ignazio, we decided I would take it home becauseit represented how two friends can share a dream together, having fun and thrilling the public.”
This brings me back to where my story began, The Baby Reveal Party!
If a picture is worth a thousand words, this would be the picture. The look on Ignazio’s face, the smile, the absolute joy he is feeling for his friends. I said this picture should be the picture of the year because it tells me that their relationship goes beyond a friendship. These two men have shared some very important moments together! On stage and off! They have both become Super Stars since their first meeting at the pizzeria and to me, they are more than friends, they are brothers!
But on January 5 Fabio cheered us up with this good news: “With great joy and emotion we announce the birth of
💙 NOAH INGRASSIA💙 3,650 kg (8 lbs.) of pure love 😍
Thanks to all.” 🙏🏻💙
Congratulations Fabio and Maria on the birth of your beautiful baby boy, Noah! God bless your beautiful family!
Note: To read more about Fabio, to see his, magnificent, artwork, videos and prints, visit his website atwww.fabioingrassia.com