Your art is characterized by a pop aesthetic, why this choice?
Mine is mainly an aesthetic choice, obviously, pop art is an art movement that marked an era and that is still alive today. All artists in my opinion, sooner or later, collide with this phase, which is part of a globalized and contradictory world, of excessive information and repetition... so basically, it is a way of telling the stories of my time, with the knowledge that we will always be influenced by our predecessors.
All this operation is addressed in a modern way, always trying to make people think but occasionally tearing a few smiles.
Is it a way to reach different audiences more directly?
It is not my main thought, but I realize that the accentuation of certain colours on the canvas or the more or less popular subject can attract a wider audience. I do not consider myself a commercial artist, I paint what my instinct, my heart dictates ... then, if the final solution of the work results in an aesthetic that approaches more tastes, I am delighted. Selling your artworks and knowing them at the home of someone who appreciates and shares your art's approach and your ideas are the greatest satisfactions for me.
The protagonists of your paintings are anthropomorphic animals, what do they hide and what do they reveal?
It is a long and elaborate path that led me to this research. I have always loved the human figure, since my first painting experiences. The turning point came with the series "Deconstructions" in which I wanted to break down and recompose the figure and create surreal poses that are almost on the verge of equilibrium but always maintaining a correct style. The only thing that seems strange is that the figures had no faces. It was important, I focused more on the body, its strength and its beauty.
After a few years, I took a break and worked on "Kaleidozoo", an in-depth study on animals, their expressiveness, emphasizing the dimensions to show their more subtle facets.
The colours on the canvas changed, they instinctively modelled themselves to my taste of the moment... these artworks travelled around for a while, both in Italy and abroad, some came back, others did not, but every time I found myself in the studio with them and with the "Deconstructions" I had the feeling that the two cycles were talking to each other, communicating with each other.
After days of observation, I realized that a symbiosis had to be created. I started with sketches on paper, technically developed in collage and mixed media, from there the step was short, I had everything clear: I could use oil on canvas, my favourite technique, to recreate what I had imagined about human figures. I wanted to represent the humans marked by the animal that could express the inner emotion: that anger or that joy, that amazement or that curiosity, typical of the primordial instinct. They are short tales, "Little Stories" in fact, which contain, in every single artwork, my personal artistic path. A story can hide many messages and reveal many others as well.
Are you interested in bringing out the wild from a human being or the other way around (the humanity from an animal)?
Each artwork represents a story, it may depend on what you are observing. In the "Deconstructions", the human being was at the centre of the story but the movements and the extreme poses approaching an animal world. "Little Stories" is a hybrid, it's not a research-based on giving more or less the sensation of man as an animal or vice versa. As I said before, it all started with observations and ideas, they were dictated by the observation of my own works, and by what society offers us every day. I am always curious, however, to listen to a person who observed one of my paintings notices something new, a different story-telling, a reading opposite to mine.
What are your favourite readings or sources of inspiration that feed your paintings the most?
I love Dick and Ballard to name a few. They opened in me a disruptive and passionate vision of a human society, sometimes paradoxical, other times ironic. Then and still now, I enjoy reading the biographies of artists. I have always been fascinated by the chronicle of these characters' lives, their follies, their passions, their mysteries since I was studying at school.
Surely in my artistic life, I was influenced by the charm of surrealism. Actually, I don't know exactly, I just know how to appreciate many more art movements, even those that appear as far away from my style.
Your technique presupposes a fascination for cubist collage and bricolage (also looking at its meaning for Levi-Strauss), where do you get the visual materials and how do you reorganize them within the confines of the image?
I already said, the collage phase is the beginning of the journey to create my "Little Stories", I need this stage to figure out the image that will then be definitively represented oil on canvas.
What I consider and have mentioned as "sketches on paper", on the other hand, are often finished, unique, straight off artworks. This is why, when I organize an exhibition or present this cycle, I like to bring canvases and papers to almost the same level, trying to tell a mental journey.
On where I collect the material, I could answer from any source that might intrigue me and that I have never stopped probing and storing. I have always kept aside and then used, images that stimulated me and that were and are part of my background. This situation has always made me think of the stories about Bacon's study, that was full of objects, instruments, sources of inspiration, perhaps my archive is less manic ...
In your paintings, there is the man with his vices and habits, even viral (think about the presence of the smartphone) but also his education: many capital letters appear in the background. How important is the image's educational value for you, also given your activity as an illustrator of children's books?
Yes, indeed. I actually have been taken in my last artworks to represent the 'man as a slave phone or any means of social communication ... but always ironic, or at least playing down the situation. Perhaps, in this case, the anthropomorphic figures have helped me to experience this reality as a game, a primordial instinct, an urge to roar towards others but never directly, rather with elegance, in intimacy.
The capital letters, numbers and symbols on the background enrich the picture, fragmenting and reassembling themselves to give a title, sometimes musical, to the finished work. Intriguing the viewer from the banalest stroke on the bottom of the canvas to the final brushstroke is a goal. Making people hear a deafening noise or a musical note accompanying the silence is the most beautiful of sensations at times ... "Little Stories" contains a world that I try to tell, perhaps already known, but to be explored carefully.
Describe what "game" mean for you.
"game" is a complicated word for an artist. I feel constantly at stake, my life is completely given to art, on the one hand intellectually, on the other professionally. Then there is my family, the art's game, in this case, becomes real life and I have to deal with reality.
The word "game" is really complicated for me... it would seem, for a layman, that an artist lives a life of his own, "super partes", in an alternative world, in who knows what parallel universe. It has never been like this for me...I have always tried to get involved with the reality that surrounds me, I have always kept my personality, I have played sometimes but with the desire to transmit a message anyway.
Even in my alter ego as an illustrator, I always try to tell and to transform a small drawing into a great message. In short, I play, paint, draw, illustrate, live in a world so complicated that it does not allow mistakes.
Game…. A complicated word for an artist in 2021.
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ph: Mauro Molle