As part of my new project this month I decided to make a copy of Giovanni Da Modena fresco representing a scene from Dante’s Inferno. Of course I had to make many simplifications, partly out of laziness and partly because I was unable to find high resolution pictures of the painting. Nonetheless I feel it was a useful exercise and really fun to draw!
If you ever pass from my hometown I strongly recommend you to admire the original in all its glory, inside the basilica of S.Petronio
Black ink and pens (420mm x 297 mm)
I have the feeling that nowadays (in particular in the world of comics/illustration) everyone is so obsessed with finding their ‘own style’ that many talented people end up having far more style than good ideas. I often read fiery debates about influences and plagiarism, which lead me to doubt whether my style is ‘original’ enough. When this happens I find refreshing to read the opinion of Wyatt (the protagonist of The Recognitions by William Gaddis):
That romantic disease, originality, all around us we see originality of incompetent idiots, they could draw nothing, paint nothing, just so the mess they make is original … Even two hundred years ago who wanted to be original, to be original was to admit that you could not do a thing the right way, so you could only do it your own way. When you paint you do not try to be original, only you think about your work, how to make it better, so you copy masters, only masters, for with each copy of a copy the form degenerates … you do not invent shapes, you know them, auswendig wissen Sie, by heart.
Even if I don’t fully agree with this position, I think we should all remind ourselves that the romantic cult of the artist as an [original] individual is a very modern invention. For many centuries ‘copying’ was not only tolerated but praised and encouraged. This is why I have decided to start a new project: every month I am going to make a copy of someone else work. It could be an old master, someone who has always inspired me, or something completely new, which I only recently discovered. It doesn’t really matter. The aim is simply to push my boundaries, not to get stuck into my ‘own style’ and keep learning new tricks that can help me visualizing my ideas.
Let’s start with a slightly altered copy of Albrecht Dürer
made a few years ago, when I was working with The Balloon. Black biro on paper (297 x 210 mm)
This is a page from my latest comic, you can read it in full on my new website. Yes, I have a new website! Also the blog has a new design, did you notice? This is all part of my new year resolution of becoming a professional cartoonist. Sadly the truth is that I am still working full-time as a research scientist. But starting from next month I already have some interesting commissions and many other projects lined up. So watch this space, this time I mean it.
To all the people who – like me – are kind of weary of the consumeristic festivities frenzy, I wish you a happy Winter despite Xmas and New Year Eve. Here is an illustration of Rudolph (the great Xmas outsider) I made for the Reader’s Bench magazine special issue.
See you all on the other side, in 2014.
All the best,
A couple of weeks ago I was given the BIG opportunity to paint the 4 windows of Unit9 office. If you want to see more details you can check out the video on the Hoxton Window Project or even better get off the internet and take a walk in the sunny Hoxton square (it should be there until sometime in December). Enjoy the weekend!
Hey, this blog has been kind of science heavy lately. To compensate here is Manoman, an angry alien wrestler which just took part to the PICS (Pescara Intergalactic Comic Show). I’m kind of thinking of writing an old fashioned sci-fi superhero comic for a change. Maybe I’ll do that one day… in the meanwhile you can watch him fight Piedipagina on the canale delle mazzate (the fight club of cartoonists).
Many thanks to Simone Angelini for organizing both these fights and inviting me to the festival, where I met many lovely people!
After finishing Neurocomic I have been collaborating with some cutting edge projects, approaching neuroscience in a completely different way. I am not allowed to reveal the details, for now, but here is an illustration I made for one of them.