Photo: Albert Handler, Vienna
Painter and comic book artist
In my late twenties I realized that, in order to fully express myself, I needed to become a painter. Until then I had focused on drawing and comics, languages that gave me many possibilities but felt somehow, for me at that time, limited. Today I would say that painting and drawing are my most instinctive means of expression. From time to time though, I find it refreshing to sneak out of the limits of the canvas and explore the realm of three-dimensionality. My approach to work is quite the same: instinctive and devoid of intentions: I follow an Idea and watch the work grow into my hands, change, struggle to emerge in its completeness enjoying this miraculous, simple and natural process.
I grew up under the influence of the Italian history of art, from Magna Grecia up to contemporaneity, as anybody in Italy, and without paying much attention or being aware of the pieces of art that formed the environment I was in. I was very aware of the two major exhibitions I visited in 1985 though, one on Schiele and the other on Burri, because they impressed me a lot. Later two other exhibitions left their mark and, I dare say, drew me into painting: one on Kirchner and one on Nolde.
Painting and drawing formed the Ariadne's thread that I have been following, and yet I always felt attracted by other artistic languages, the dialog and the contamination with which still plays an important part in the development of my research. The partnership in projects with experimental musicians like Stefan Heckel and Maria Gstättner or with the photographer Arnaldo Genitrini or, changing medium again, with the ceramist Claude Albana-Presset for example, unvealed to me the breadth of the spectrum of wonderful possibilities of expression, all worth having a go.
The other part of my artistic self is all about comics. In my early teens I realized that the narrative format of comics offered me the possibility to turn my daydreams into tales that I would wave for myself. At 15, while attending the art school, with the ingenuity of youth, I begun to go around showing my drawings and looking for a publisher willing to give my stories a chance. In the process, I knocked on the door of the Comix Studio, at that time a veritable nest of graphic novelists and illustrators, and Carlo Ambrosini let me in. From then on, I continued to show up and absorb all I could by observing them and listing to their critics and suggestions about my work. I learned a hell of a lot in those years, it was a hard school, but everything I needed to know about storytelling through images came from Carlo and his colleagues Giampiero Casertano, Enea Riboldi and Pasquale del Vecchio. After years of training, Carlo took me into his team to work on a new series for Sergio Bonelli Editore transforming me into a professional. Since 1996 I have illustrated over 25 comic books for popular series like Dylan Dog, Martin Mister, Jan Dix and Napoleone. Something is still missing though: my own stories. They are waiting, some in a drawer, some in my head, but the time is coming…