"I just didn’t want to look back and regret, that I didn't take a chance upon myself."
Today we are in conversation with artist, illustrator and photographer Alessandro Paglia. The 38 year old, hailing from #Milan, whose exceptional pen and ink drawings always elicit a response: "That is definitely a photograph." The near photographic illustrations, created entirely by hand, first through a pencil sketch and then through the use of superimposing a layer of lines with black felt-tipped pens, make collectors very happy.
Tell us a little about yourself . Who are you? And what do you do ?
What’s your background ?
I've always been on the creative side. I have an education in product and graphic design and ten years of experience in the same. I’m also passionate about photography, and at some point I felt that I had to combine these two passions into some exiting art form.
" Isn't it true that, this is something that many of us really desire, to make something you love, something you wouldn’t really even call “work”, and to express yourself through your passion? "
Is it true that you left your full time job in a communication agency as a designer to pursue your love for drawing? What led to this shift and decision ?
Yes!! But Isn't it true that, this is something that many of us really desire, to make something you love, something you wouldn’t really even call “work”, and to express yourself through
your passion? I was 36 when I started, not exactly young, but I wanted to give it a try anyway.I just didn’t want to look back and regret, that I didn't take a chance upon myself. I started drawing in the evening at a friend’s condominium, a small porter’s lodge for a couple of months until I sold my first piece. That gave me the#courage to leave my job and dedicate myself to this full time.
Was this shift easy? What difficulties did you face in the beginning?
Despite what I believed, it wasn't that difficult. I was afraid, that this sudden freedom, would lead to a feeling of being lost and eventually being lazy. But on the contrary, I was really committed & focussed towards my work. My first goal was to share my work with an audience and get noticed, and hence I thought instagram would be
right platform for this, But as we all know, we are in a quite competitive phase of the social media , so I was just one of the tens of thousands of artists seeking visibility so I continued making the type of drawings I liked without getting discouraged. Eventually a small group of passionate fans started to notice & follow my work & the first collectors started to buy my art from around the world.
Majority of your work is in Black and White Ink? Why is that ?
I have always been fascinated by the elegant simplicity of that most classic colour combination whether it is in the #fine-arts,#design, #fashion, #film or #photography. Also I liked the idea of using one of the simplest drawing tools to draw extremely laborious works. The choice reverted on the black ink pen. There was a horror comic book I used to read when I was a kid in Italy “Dylan Dog”, it was in black and white and my very first “serious” drawings were along the same lines.
Recently we saw some coloured illustrations on your profile, what led to that change after working majorly in black and white?
Yes, after quite some time with black and white, I turned to colour, first with golden colour touches, then with monochromatic pieces, and now with full coloured tone subjects. I wanted to renew my work and find new creative stimuli. I think I’ve kept my thing anyway, simple tool (pencil now) combined with a meticulous technique resulting in a realistic piece.
What is integral to your work as an artist ?
I think that living a varied life, being exposed to different stimuli, being involved and inspired by different experiences, travelling, and being around positive people is the best recipe to produce quality works. Questioning everything like a child, experimenting with ideas, letting things flow freely, ultimately trying to please others’ eyes with love.
How has your style evolved over the years ?
What I wanted from the beginning was to make realism less lame. I always liked true-to-life works but at the same time was disappointed by the limited variety of subjects and techniques. I saw tons of oil portraits, landscapes or flowers, always in the same type of settings and using the traditional techniques like oil colours. I wanted to create something exiting, something that catches your attention in the first two seconds. I think and I hope that I am still pushing forward in that direction.
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