Friday, February 27, 2009

The Interview

Tell me a little bit about yourself, about your life? What helped prepare you to become the artist that you are today?

I was born and raised in Milano in 1971, Italy. My dad is a painter so I grew up in a family where to see my father using pencils and brushes was normal as much as to see my mother cooking. I could spend hours in silent watching what my dad was doing and making drawings beside him while he was working. Now a days my niece (3 years old) is acting with me the same way I acted with my father at that time.
Many years later I got a diploma in an artistic school called ITSOS where I met a few teachers that used their role basically to be able to extend their artistic beliefs in a dogmatic way, on the other side, the biggest percentage fortunately, people moved to understand who they have in front of them trying to encourage creativity in every shape it appears.
In fact I never understood why I should struggle to do something that till that day it came out spontaneously. I could do my best with those who gave me free hands; the result of this attitude was visible into my works that surprised both parts.
In every animation studio I later worked, I found the same cliché of people, but in this case the biggest part was made by who needed to get stuck to a kind of bible of taste to be sure to do the right thing. Slave of beauty instead of vehicles of curiosity.

How do you go about drawing, and what goes through your mind, from start to end?

If I have a commission with a tight dead line and I’m dealing with the typical executive of Cro-Magnon, all the process is robotic and the drawing will be mixes of pleasant stereotypes choose to make something new, in other words something I would never put on my blog.
When I work on a personal Idea, for which I have the last word, I just get lost along the creative process where I can twist my mind in every moment according to my inner feelings; in this case there are no departments or agendas. It sounds like there is no discipline in it but in practice there is a discipline able to evolve according to every new input, even the tiniest one. To be more specific, in this chase, the rationality is submitted to the irrationality, in the first chase its the other way around.

What is a typical day for you, and who are the people you work with?

I wake up in the afternoon, I ride my car with Kaori Mochida on the radio till I get to a cafe where I take a coffee with friends of mine, and it often happens we start to talk about something I would not call politically correct, than I play guitar, internet, lunch, car - Kaori Mochida, coffee, talk, dinner, I watch cartoons ...dam it can’t go on like this.
Some other days I draw all the time, even 12 hours with no brakes and I don’t want to see anybody. Working from home on my Mac allows me to be very concentrated.

What are some of the things that you have worked on?

I started to work in animation industry in 1994 in Italy, after 7 months I moved to Germany in an animation studio called Munich Animation where I animated on the feature movie The Fearless Four; I stayed there 2 years before to move lo L.A. in DreamWorks. I animated on The Prince of Egypt and The Road to Eldorado than back in Munich on the production of Help I’m a Fish, than in Denmark as a character designer in A.Film Studio, than back in Munich Animation on the preproduction of the feature Jester Till. I also had a short experience in Berlin as an animation director for a serial TV.
Now I’m living and working in Italy since 2000 on commercials and series, but along all my career I feel I could put just a tiny part of my skill and I still don’t know why. All the things I am proud of are the things I did during my free time. I get more and more interested in comics, recently I have been part of the collective SKY DOLL SPACESHIP COLLECTION T01
on a subject of Alessandro Barbucci and Barbara Canepa, the book is distributed by Soleil Editions.

What are you working on now? (If you can tell us)

Recently I’m working on small projects with Piero Tonin, we knew each other since I started this job back in 1994. There is a good synergy between us, maybe because nobody bosses anybody.
In the meanwhile I am working on a personal comic project called Rosalba and the bad, ugly witch.

Who do you think are some of the top artists out there?

Too many, it would be unfair if I wouldn’t mention all of them. I have always been mad for artist that lived in 1800, Just to make some names: Francesco Paolo Michetti, Telemaco Signorini,Favretto, Mose Bianchi,Pellizza da Volpedo, Boldini, Ettore Tito, Domenico Induno,Charl Spitzweg,De Nittis, Andrea Pasini, Repin, Sorolla, Sargent.
I grew up reading comics, and I loved to read Asterix and Peanuts. I love the work of Grazia Nidasio, Elena Pongiglione and Emanuele Luzzati, they have a very inner style, and I feel good watching the images they create.
Many people oversea knows Sergio Toppi or Ugo Prat (Corto Maltese) or Milo Manara but I guess a few ones know some other masters like Dino Battaglia or Ivo Milazzo or Aldo di Gennaro, and what about the real father of Calimero, Carlo Peroni!

Could you talk about your process in coloring your art, as well as the types of tools or media that you use?

Since I bought the computer in 2003 I use Photoshop to make almost everything even if in many case I start with a traditional drawing made with a black pen. Sometimes I use traditional texture made with acrylics and I compose them in a second time.

What part of designing is most fun and easy, and what is most hard?

If it’s my day in, every thing is pleasuring, if its, Kaori Mochida, coffee, guitar...and so on.

What are some of the things that you do to keep yourself creative?

I need new inputs all the time. The approach many artists had during the 50s, 60s was great: synthesis and ideas based on super-skill, but on top of all, courage. Let’s think about today, I heard that CG is just another tool that can be used to do things that were impossible to do years ago. That is true, but because of that now it’s impossible to do the things that we were use to do and consume with daily years ago. Because CG is not something added to old initiatives, its something that replaced old trails. Artists should be in charge, and to choose their own tool and not be forced by speculative circumstances especially when there is money to make any possible choice, otherwise it has no sense to talk about creativity, personality, art, or follow your heart. By the way...I consider every image made in CG totally disgusting.

What are some of your favorite pieces of art work that you have seen?

Illustrations from Ferenc Pinter.

What is your most favorite subject to draw? And why?

Women because it’s impossible to draw them through a rational approach, in this case knowledge is almost useless.

What inspired you to become an Artist?

I like to get compliments and money just for what I can do by myself and this feeling is not in contrast with artistic performances. The serial TV Heidi by Isao Takahata I suppose was the first product that got my interest for animation. During the late 70s in Italy it was possible to watch on many many TV series made in Japan. I get really influenced by those gems; I still love most of those products made by names like Hayao Miyazaki, Leiji Matsumoto, Shingo Araki, Go Nagai, and Osamu Tezuka. The extraordinary diversity of graphical expressions, storytelling approach and contents was totally refreshing. Many anime were the animated version of manga made directly by the masters I just mention so every episode often resulted been very inner and authorial rather than a.... consequence of a meeting.

What are some of the neat things you have learned from other artists that you have worked with or seen?

If you sing when you have the headphones are always out of tune.

What are some of your favorite websites that you go to?

As I said before I wish I could mention everybody, but take a look on my blog, there is a long list of links of great artists.

What wisdom could you give us, about being an Artist? Do you have any tips you could give?

My beliefs don’t work on myself, I would avoid trying to create confusion on other people too ahaha.

If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?

Finally, do you have any of your art work for sale (sketchbooks, prints, or anything) for people that like your work can know where and when to buy it?

At Gallery Nucleus. You can see already at which pieces of mine are going to be printed.

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