December 13, 2023

 Dear Diary with Grace Piscitello

After a trip on the F-train, up three flights of stairs, and behind a wreath-adorned door, AFROMATCHA was greeted by Grace Piscitello in her New York City apartment. Grace is a third-year college student majoring in Integrated Design Studies. AFROMATCHA talked with Grace about the launch of her book, 08210822. The book showcases five men whom she met in her early years of adulthood. All of which taught her about a piece of womanhood. Grab a matcha, tea, or iced coffee and tune all the way in as AFROMATCHA + Grace celebrate the launch of 08210822.

How did 08210822 commence?

GP: The project actually started in one of my first-year classes. I had to write journal entries for one of my classes. Everyone in the class would put on headphones and write for the first fifteen to thirty minutes of the class. I was really homesick, and I was writing about someone from home whom I was missing. I wrote in letter format to them, which I hadn’t ever done. I decided I was going to write it to them but never send it. It became a very therapeutic thing, so I started doing this with other people in my life. I wrote one about a guy that I had met in New York and shared the letter with my friend. She read it and had never met the person, but she had a similar dynamic in her life. I started to collect my favorite ones (letters) for the book.

Is there one specific person in the book that had the strongest effect on you? Good or bad?

GP: I mean, I don’t want to say the last person (in the book), but I think it is pretty obvious that the last person had the greatest effect on me. For a few reasons: first - it’s the longest one. Second, it was the only romantic involvement that I wrote about. I really wanted to preserve the feelings I had about these people during the time period when I was working on the project. A lot of these people have either shifted, or our relationship is different from what I reference in the book. It was really hard with that one because that relationship changed the most after the project.

Did you photograph them outside of this time period? 

GP: I did, I did it after I wrote all of them. Which was a little difficult because, with some of them, I shared that I made this project without going into deep detail as to what it was about. They all know now what it’s about, but they were all really excited to be a part of it. I wasn’t really sure how to go about photographing them, but I ended up just spending a day with each of them, photographing them throughout the day.

So it’s been three years?

GP: Yes, so I did it, and then I didn’t take the photos for a pretty long time. Then I stopped working on it for a long time but I was like, no, I have to finish this..

What do you think is next for you? Would you write a novel? I know you have expressed interest in book binding, would you do that? 

GP: I've always felt a bit unsure about my writing, but this project works well because it's meant to feel casual, like it's ripped from someone's diary. I want to delve deeper into this style. While I'm not sure about doing a novel, I'm leaning towards creating a photobook with no accompanying text. I often find myself using writing to explain my work, so this would be a challenge for me — letting the images speak for themselves.

Most of my work revolves around the dynamics between people and relationships, whether they're my own or within groups. I'm interested in taking on a project where I photograph people completely outside of my own circle, whether it's couples or families. Additionally, I want to explore how people curate their homes together, as I have a deep appreciation for design in general.

Current coffee/tea house order?

GP: I usually really stick to a matcha with almond milk, but I actually just changed it yesterday. At work, I made a matcha hot tea with a little bit of honey and a splash of coconut milk. So I guess a matcha water, matcha americano. Depends on how much milk I want.

Join Grace to celebrate the launch of her book at Fortune World NYC on December 14th at 6PM.

127 Eldrigde Street
New York, New York

Follow Grace Piscitello on Instagram