Meet Scott A. Sant'Angelo and Alessandro Casagrande of BACCALÀ
Scott A. Sant'Angelo is the founder of Los Angeles-based art magazine Arkitip (@arkitip) and more recently, the Founder & Creative Director of BACCALÀ (@rivistabaccala), an independently published fashion, art and photography magazine.
Alessandro Casagrande (@alecasagrande), BACCALÀ's Founder & Editor in Chief, is an Italian artist currently based in Milan. Alessandro works on personal and commissioned projects worldwide.
Interviewer Alexi Ueltzen (@alexi) is Ello’s Social Media & Email Manager.
Tell us a little bit about how the two of you came up with the idea to publish a magazine?
AC: The magazine came by chance. We are two creative friends that decided to partner for the creation of a new publication. At first, we brainstormed different ideas, editorial content with the goal to come up with a something innovative and interesting.
SAS: We took time to research paper stock, inks, sizes, formats and knowing that we worked very well together in the past we knew that something special would come from it.
You’re working on the magazine with Milan-based fashion photographer Alessandro Casagrande… have you collaborated previously?
SAS: Yes, Alessandro and I met in 2015 when we worked on the Arkitip x Polanski edition. Alessandro was the photographer on the project and we just got along very well. We ended up becoming close friends and I really like the way Alessandro works, he’s organized and sees things much in the same way that I do. It's not like work for us, we understand each other and can solve problems and be creative very seamlessly.
The word “BACCALÀ” has a great backstory. Can you tell our readers a little bit about the meaning behind the name?
SAS: Well, originally we just liked saying the word. It really was one of those things where you say, “you just want an excuse to say BACCALÀ.” We realized all the potential pitfalls of the word but we just decided we would brand it and make it mean the things we like about the word. BACCALÀ is the word for salt cod but also stockfish and we liked that it could be a fancy appetizer or basic peasant food. The high/low-brow of it was very appealing because that is very much like us.
What messages or ideas are you trying to promote with BACCALÀ?
AC: We want to promote art in many forms. BACCALÀ is not a typical fashion magazine. We wanted to create something more interesting, full of content and not just from a fashion point of view. The idea is to merge many aspects of the art world. For this issue, besides fashion, we put together photography, painting, music a BACCALÀ recipe and much more. We like to give to the reader a magazine that you want to read and enjoy from the first to the last page.
Have you discovered any especially talented new artists during the creation of the magazine?
AC: Thanks to the contest we did with Ello, we selected two emerging artists to be featured in our premier issue. Ana Hell, Nathanalie Dreier and Andrew Stys. I think this was a great opportunity for discovering new upcoming talents via the Ello platform. The rest of the magazine is a mix of talented contributors, each of them giving their unique touch.
For the uninitiated, what is one of the greatest challenges when it comes to creating a magazine?
SAS: Distribution is tough and printing is expensive. We already have our network of dealers worldwide that we have developed over the years at Arkitip, but of course, retail is hurting badly. Ideally, we sell direct to consumers and we don’t have to do much newsstand sales. What publishers are always surprised to find out is that newsstand runs mostly at a loss. We are advertising driven so we look at single-copy sales as a necessary part of doing business, not a money maker.
AC: Build the perfect group of passionate people with whom to work. What we have done in such a short amount of time could not have been possible without everyone involved. Is very important to work with people that share your passion.
More and more magazines are moving to a digital-only model...why do you think creating a physical magazine is still valuable?
AC: The digital magazine is something that came up in this new era of social media and internet where everything is changing so fast. Trends are passing one after another and nothing seems sacred. We both feel the digital platform does not give you the time to stop and reflect on what you are viewing so we forget very quickly what we see. For example, photography now is of mostly taken with your mobile phone and digital cameras with no real idea or concept of what is required to take a photograph. Composition, light, texture, depth, etc.
SAS: The beauty of the printed magazine is that you have something tactile in your hands, you can smell the ink, feel the paper, look the actual grain of a printed image. This is just too charming to loose.
What does this project look like going forward?
SAS: We are eager to work with the best and brightest and continue on this new journey. We are not really re-thinking the concept of a fashion or art magazine but we do know that the talent we will work with and the stories we will assign will be compelling and different than what is currently being published.