Fratelli Pezza

The art of sandblasted portraits on mirrors

Vito Santoiemma creates portraits on mirrors using the freehand sandblasting technique thanks to the Ghibli 140 sandblaster manufactured by Fratelli Pezza.

The story of Vito Santoiemma began in 1999 in the breath-taking setting of the stones of Matera. After years of work as a decorator in a historic glass factory, devoid of any real satisfaction, Vito felt a profound need to release his creativity, to follow his passions. That’s why, taking advantage of the opportunity of a so-called “loan of honour”, he decides to found his own glass laboratory (today the “Vetro & Vetro” glassworks). Piece by piece, he acquires the necessary equipment for his business included a Fratelli Pezza manual sandblasting cabin of the Ghibli series. Vito is well known for his sandblasted portraits on mirrors, artworks that literally leave you speechless for their fidelity to the original. So we asked Vito if he could reveal some little secrets of his art, and surprisingly we found him enthusiastic in telling us much more than a few details: “I’ve always had the dream of being able to transpose a photograph onto a mirror using the sandblasting technique, and one night suddenly I got the inspiration! The next morning the first thing I did was go to the lab to see if what I thought could really work. And it did! From that moment I dedicated myself to optimizing the process, finding the perfect settings for the realization of my works”. The result was simply incredible, replication down to the smallest detail on the mirror, which make Vito’s creations a design object that contributes to giving unique style and personality to the rooms. “It is”, Vito told us, “a skilful mix between pressure regulation and the use of very fine sand, plus a lot of dexterity and of course my Ghibli, reliable and indestructible!”. The freehand sandblasting technique put into practice by Vito manages to create different levels of sandblasting giving three-dimensionality to the figure, different effects based on the point of view from which it is admired depending on the play of light and reflections. Initially, the production of decorated mirrors was just one of the many processes that were carried out in the glassworks, but the generational change with his son, who took over the company and managed to expand its business both in the private and public sectors, allowed Vito to devote himself almost exclusively to his passion.