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Massimo Izzo Fruits of the Sea
Inspired by the beauty of his surroundings and propelled by his belief that art can be wearable.
By: Diamond World News Service
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May 4 2011 12:10PM
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Reference: 5966  

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Inspired by the beauty of his surroundings and propelled by his belief that art can be wearable, Massimo Izzo, the designer with an ability to evoke fantasies and dreams, creates jewels that are distinctive and fashionable. Diamond World dives into the deep sea world of the creator of living art.

Perhaps it is the inspiration provided by the bounty of the sea that surrounds his home island of Sicily. Perhaps it is the rich legacy of the Greek culture and civilization which once pervaded the land he inhabits. Then again maybe it is an artistic sensibility ingrained in his very blood. Whatever it is, Massimo Izzo has a vividly imaginative mind that conjures up many worlds and an inspired touch which translates the fantasies into extraordinary jewellery.

Born in Messina, Massimo is today based in Syracuse, where he has a beautiful atelier, a jewellery workshop and showroom. It nestles in an 18th century building in the historical and island of Ortigia, which is an archaeological site, in the heart of the ancient Sicilian town of Syracuse. Here clients and visitors can get a view of the workshop from the window at the end of its gallery.

Both cities are unique in that they were established by Greek colonists. Messina was founded in the 8th century and though devastated by earthquakes several times, still boasts of some architectural marvels from the 13th – 15th centuries. The 2700 year old Syracuse was a powerful city-state of ancient times and continues to be steeped in Greek history and culture. Its architecture including amphitheatres are clearly indicative of its Greek ancestry. Interestingly it was the birthplace of Archimedes, the great mathematician and engineer. In 2005 the entire city of Syracuse, has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Against this background rich in natural beauty, history and culture, Massimo first studied at the State Institute of Art of Syracuse taking classes in the experimental section of base metal and goldsmithing. He later obtained a Master of Art Diploma in 1985, followed by the Artistic Maturity Diploma. In 1987, at the young age of 21 he opened his own Goldsmith's Laboratory in the heart of Ortigia, Syracuse’ old town centre.

With the sassy poser “Who says Art can’t be Wearable?” as his tagline, Massimo has gone on to create a myriad marvels from gold, Sardinian coral, precious stones and other natural materials. His predominant motifs are starkly evocative of the ocean - starfish, sea urchins, seahorses, crabs, mermaids and all things underwater. The lines of the jewellery now curving, now waving and sometimes stublike extensions like the branches of coral further emphasize the seaworld.

Massimo’s other passions are theatrical masks and old coins – the Greeks were particularly known for their coins - which are both inspiration and motifs in his creations. In fact he has designed several coins in gold and silver including the "Coin of Archimedes," presented in 1990 to the internationally renowned French choreographer Lucia Latour; and the "Papal Coins" which were gifted by the city of Syracuse to the Holy Father (C. Wojtyla); and commemorative coins for classical performances at the Greek Theatre of Syracuse, resuming a tradition abandoned for years, in 1996 and 2004. Since 1995, he has been commissioned to create the Theatre Award named "Pippo Fava”.

Over the years, Massimo has gathered an eclectic clientele, including both public and private companies. It includes administrations and governments like in the instances above; he has created one-of-a-kind pieces to celebrate Mexico's Bicentennial in 2010; he has designed jewellery for movies like Malena; and of course has a host of celebrity clients including the Viceroy of Afghanistan, the Swedish Royal Family, movie stars such as Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter, and other dignitaries from Asia. He also works on projects for premier design jewellery brands like Bulgari, as well as other houses such as Ferrari. For the opening of Max Mara’s show-room on Old Bond Street, London, Massimo presented his collection in collaboration with them.

His total dedication and passion for his work is evident from the manner in which he approaches it. For example, his method of working on the Mexico Bicentennial exhibition, for which he designed over 300 pieces, including tie clips, brooches, cuff links and pendants made entirely of gold with inlays of diamonds, fashioned with recognizable Mexican motifs. In order to prepare for it, he spent over six months in Mexico studying the culture and coming up with ideas. As a result, the national shield (the eagle and the snake), and the Angel of Independence were integrated as central motifs in the exclusive collection that was designed.

"During my stay in Mexico City, I learned about the rich history and culture of Mexico," Izzo told media at the event. "But most of all, I fell in love with the people and the food." Massimo’s pieces are auctioned by Christie's, where his jewellery has been very popular. He is the only Italian artisan who has a permanent display at the historic Ritz Hotel in Paris’s Place Vendome; he is also exhibited in the famous gallery of Elsa Vanier in the same city. On the other hand, hions are displayed at the FD Art Gallery in Madison Avenue, New York too. He has exhibited widely in the US, Europe and the Middle East.

This brilliant designer, whose work is almost like an exquisite and precious sculpture, is no stranger to recognition. He has won many awards in his hometown of Syracuse and elsewhere, starting in 1998 - just a year after he set up shop - when he received the “Archimedes Award". In 2010 Massimo created a milestone by launching into the world of the fashion, by presenting his creations at the fashion show of contemporary fashion designer Marella Ferrera in Rome.

Apart from his Syracuse headquarters, he also has an atelier in Taormina in Sicily. Since Janaury this year, Massimo has set his sights on Milan, the happening hotspot for all that is most fashionable. His boutique there is slated to open in April. Watch out Milan jewellers, here comes competition of the serious kind!

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patrizia agricola
(vicenza)
Ciao Massimo, ti scrivo perche' ho letto un articolo sul Giornale di Vicenza,inerente la fiera dell'oro di Vi, che parlava di Carlo Izzo ma c'era la tua foto cosi' ho voluto contattarti per salutarti ma in realta' si trattava di tuo fratello...Sono Patrizia Agricola di Vicenza:ci siamo conosciuti da piccoli quando venivo con la mia fam.in vacanza a F Bianche.Spero tu stia bene e anche la tua famiglia.Se ti va mi piacerebbe sentirti.CIAO!!
Pallab Nandy
(New Delhi)
When you are to buy your favorite books, the immediate thing you consider is the availability of that book in your mother tongue, Telugu. Books in all genres from all segments are there for numerous readers, and RightBooks.In has gathered them all in its Telugu specific segment. One click at www.rightbooks.in/Items.asp?cid=1&fc=Telugu&pt=6 will land the visitor there.
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