You live and work in one of the smallest countries in the world, Most Serene Republic of San Marino, with a population not more than 30.000. Three towers of San Marino, that includes the magnificent Guaita tower which is built in the 11th century, are watching the country from the top. Your hometown looks very inspiring and peaceful just like your name. Do you like your location or are you planning to move in the near future?
I like the view from the three tower of San Marino. I often happened to make images with that kind of perspective. During my adolescence years I felt also the need to meet up different kind of places and people. So I spent some years in Urbino where I studied. Today I wish I could live nearer the sea. I love the sea in the early morning. But I use to spend most of my time at home drawing and drawing so my life would be similar wherever I live. I am lucky since my boyfriend is an illustrator, too, so we work together all the day, keep each other company and share comments and opinions.
Talented children's book illustrator Eva Montanari says “I don't think about children or readers in general, when I write and sketch my ideas. If I did, I think I won't be able to make anything creative at all.” Do you agree with her? What are your methods for communicating with children by using your brush?
I do agree with Eva. When I create, I mainly try to follow my own inspiration. Without worrying too much about the rest. Since very soon at school I've started to be interested in illustration. I still remember some beautiful illustrated books I’ve seen in my childhood since I was very young. I’ve never stopped loving looking at and buying illustrated books. I always felt the need to create my images starting from a story. The way I started to draw was naturally near the children’s world, round shapes, fantastic themes. So I naturally decided to go through that field. Now when I create a book, I try to do that following my taste, my feelings and then I hope readers will follow me. A book should stimulate the readers’ mind and senses, it has to surprise him/her and it enriches his/her view. A children’s book is for a child and it’s just his first chance to meet with art maybe. I have the chance to give my own point of view on the story I’m illustrating and to share my view with far little hands I cannot see. That is a great privilege.
Can you please tell us what your workspace looks like?
My work room is never big enough for all of my papers and colours, broken dolls and toys that I collect. I use to work, surrounded by a big confusion and I sometimes find it hard even to find my own illustrations. I find hard also to find space enough for all my new experiments with computer, airbrush and clay characters.
You studied animation and cinema in Istituto Statale d’Arte di Urbino (Art Institute of Urbino) and then you decided to paint and make a living from that. How did you get acquainted with painting? Do you have any plans for making an animation film in the future?
I’ve been initially encouraged to try to work in the books field after the selection for the Bologna’s Children’s Books Fair Show in 1995. It is a show that selects the best in books illustration. From that time on, I slowly started to work in this field and I never stopped. No I don't plan to work on an animated film. I always preferred working on still images instead of creating moving ones. But I love and I am inspired by a lot of animators. My favourite is the Quay Brothers.
A few years ago, television shows and comics for children were much more innocent. Softer drawings and classical music were accompanying their good times. Now, everything is being changed rapidly and they prefer feeling themselves like warriors, monsters or soldiers. How do you evaluate this process and the future of their innocent worlds?
I don’t think that it’s right to completely remove the ‘violence’ fact from children’s lives. The classic fairy tales are full of cruelty to serve. But it’s for developing the child and teaching him some way to understand the reality. Of course, at the same time, too much violence in games or cartoons may create a sort of addiction to violence, which is negative. But in general, I’m opposed to products for children that are too cloying.
Illustrator and painter Alex Dukal dreams of moving to Barcelona while the talented designer Andrio Abero says he would like to open an all-in-one place with a storefront, gallery and a design shop. What’s your greatest aim in life?
I just aim to find new inspiration and interesting projects to work on. The best in my job is that it is always different. Every new project lets you discover something new and unexpected. I try to find a different approach on each project. I want to keep my relation with drawing and my job alive. Besides the job, I aim to travel more with my boyfriend Stefano.
Imagine that you have got a time machine. Which artists in the art history would you like to share your dinner table with?
There are so many artists. Maybe Jeronimus Bosch first.
"I have the chance to give my own point of view on the story I’m illustrating and to share my view with far little hands I cannot see. That is a great privilege."
- Nicoletta Ceccoli / Bak 10