Arcimboldo Brain

Arcimboldo Brain Farinella

acrylics and pencils on paper (270 x 350 mm)

This month I didn’t have time to make any copy because I was busy setting up the Neurocomic exhibition (if you happen to be in London please join us on the 3rd of April at TheCube). However, I made this Arcimboldo-inspired illustration for a fundraising dinner which Dr. Jacopo Annese is organizing in San Diego. You can think of it of a sagittal section of this guy:

Arcimboldo vertemnus

Vertumnus by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, c. 1590-1

Neurocomic spring

I made this illustration of Cajal in a thriving neuronal forest for the cover of  Reader’s Bench magazine Spring issue. Amongst the many free contents you can also read an interview where I talk about the genesis of my books 6 Gradi Di Separazione, and Neurocomic (well, at least if you can read Italian).

By the way, the 3rd of April an exhibition with original Neurocomic artwork is opening at The Cube, 155 Commercial street, London E1 6BJ.

Come and join us from 6:30 pm to celebrate neuroscience and Spring in their lovely courtyard!
Neurocomic spring cajal forest

Copy #2

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

Inferno Bologna MatteoBlack ink and pens (420mm x 297 mm)

On the importance of being original

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‘s Melancholia, made a few years ago, when I was working with The Balloon.  Black biro on paper (297 x 210 mm)
Melancholia Dürer Farinella

Sealand

Farinella Sealand

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.