Overused in our vocabulary are superlatives, such as “brilliant,” “superb” or “exceptional.” I try to hold them in reserve when I talk about new work in design. But every once in a while, something comes along that is so different, so current, so enviable, that only a superlative will do.
Secretsundaze has a reputation in underground circles as one of the most innovative, exciting and fun parties for house, techno, funk and disco followers. In the last decade, founders Giles Smith and James Priestley have demonstrated time and again their eye for spotting new talent, whether the next hot DJ or other subculture artists. In Andrea Ambrogio, they seem to see what I see: the X factor, a talent both rare and soon to be wildly popular.
For me, Ambrogio has the je ne sais quoi of celebrated image makers. What was it about Warhol’s commercial illustrations—mere shoe ads—that made them into some of the most memorable and reproduced images in our contemporary visual landscape? What does Paula Scher do to common maps to transform them into exquisitely detailed “impressionist visions of our interconnected world”? Whatever it is, Ambrogio has it, too. For the Secretsundaze party, he took a boring birthday cake and turned it into a psychedelic, intoxicating puzzle that’s impossible to shake out of your head.
What is needed to transform something mundane into something sublime? I don’t know what else to call it but . . . brilliance.