Milan's Antonio Colomboni has been honing his illustration skills, applying his talents to fashion, packaging design and even political issues. Swide caught up with the artist to see discuss his work, Milan and... shamanism. Colomboni talks to Swide and even includes an exclusive illustration for us.
Your skill with illustration is broad but you clearly have your own style. Tell me about when you first started to draw. What inspired you as a child?
When I was a child I often went to the fish shop of my grandparents and – among one cod and some clams – I spent hours drawing on the paper they used to wrap the fish in and I thought they were never going to end, just like a blackboard! The people passing by were my first inspiration: the color of their dresses, their expressions, their gestures, the details. And then my passion for animated movies, especially manga: drawing was a way to invent my own world.
Is it correct to say that some of your work still has a child-like/doodle quality, to it? For example, your poster work resembles a doodle and the way that you layer the images creates a sense of organised confusion. Does this reflect you and your personality?
Absolutely. My drawings tell much of me and of my experiences that I live every day. In the poster projects, for wallpaper and the Zero cover, there is a strong childish connotation and this line is very much connected to illustration: instinctive and free, with the only limit being the paper’s dimension. I am a peter pan who loves to experience his daily tidy mess.
Because it’s my first love. During my studies I got into other disciplnes/techniques, like industrial design, pushed by my unstoppable curiosity. With my experience in Amsterdam, I found the inspiration and passion for illustration. Today my projects can be framed within this tecnique, even in the development of the ideas, as a creative instrument, you don’t always recognize in the finished work.
Does your work make statements? Politically/Socially?
I am trying to pass positive feelings, everyone needs to smile! The news, today, is a topic I've faced in some of my projects, through which – for some – I developed a sense of irony, key in interpreting news.
By looking at your website and pages, I understand that your inspiration comes from… well, anywhere. Apart from artists and other illustrators, what inspires you?
If I am attracted to you….I'll pick you…You inspire me... the idea is born! They are in the street, in the web, at home. The daily actions are my inspiration.
The repetition and ‘playfulness’ of your work is reminiscent of Keith Haring. Which current artists do you relate to?
I love Keith Haring and I share with him the passion for the cartoons. The contemporary artist that I consider a guide is Parra, his way of combining shapes and colours influenced my artistic and stilistic path.
The work of Parra which is most symbolic of my work (perfect mix between colours and shapes).
You also describe yourself as a visual artist and you have also ventured into the world of fashion/textile design. When did these elements start coming together?
When I started personalizing what I wear by drawing on different types of fabrics. Who knows… maybe something good comes out of it!
You have a particular use of bold colour. What is the relationship between colour and your art?
Before even starting to draw, I have in my mind which colors to use! In my works, color is the starting point: I spend hours experimenting and searching for unusual, impressive colour matching. And the urban space, the architectures around the world, the gardens, the interiors of the houses are all inspirational to me.
CD Cover for Nobraino
I love your ‘(fake) Story’ photo/illustration series. Have you ever used a fake story to your advantage?
No, but thanks for your idea! My fake stories usually take life as a fantasy game: I gather many images from the web and I try to interact with some of those in order to create stories with possible endings…
You have an interest in Shamanism. Where did that come from?
I read a lot and I am curious, My interest in Shamanism comes from an interpretation, that is very personal, which I’d call “positive karma”! I am an optimistic person and I am totally aware of the fact you can end up getting lost if you don’t know yourself well enough and you are not spiritually oriented… Sometimes you see that in my drawings.
What is wrong with the art world at the moment?
Thanks to the technology, today, the instruments to make art are very much available. Many people forget that technical competence, doesn’t necessarily mean making art.
When you’re on the phone, what do you doodle?
I usually just draw casually… most of the times ironic comments about the phone calls!
Well, if Antonio Colomboni does draw doodles that relate to his phone conversations, I would love to know what the hell he talks about. Swide are also proud to have been presented with an exclusive image from the artist, using his unique style and what it is that represents Swide. We LOVE IT! Thanks!
For more from Antonio Colomboni, click the Swide image about or here.