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A young German illustrator, who lets himself be carried away by the social topics that surround him and finds a way to represent them on paper in a completely authentic and colorful way. Ironic, original, empathetic, real. Call him Mowri!

illustrator MAurizio onano "mowri" at work

I’ve been impressed by your name, because it seems to have some Italian origins, isn’t it? To discover it, tell us a little about yourself, please.

My father is Italian, my mother is Half-Italian. But I was born and raised in Germany. There was a short period of time when we’ve lived in Italy, but I was very young and I have absolutely no memory of that. But my name does not only confuse my Italian followers — I get talked to in Italian all the time, even in Germany.

When did you started drawing?

People keep asking that, but I don’t think I’ve ever decided to “start” drawing. As long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed drawing and painting. When I turned 18 my mom gave me my first sketchbook when I was like 2 years old. (I used to copy Snoopy pictures we had on our fridge.)

Is drawing just a passion, your job or something more for you?

It’s my job — I’ve studied illustration and visual narration for 6 years, now I’m trying to live on that profession. I’d rather call storytelling as my passion and drawing is my medium to tell those stories.

illustrator MAurizio onano "mowri"'s artwork

illustrator MAurizio onano "mowri"'s artwork

What do you prefer to draw more than anything?

People. I just love drawing people.

What is the creative process that is finalised in your illustrations? Where do you get inspiration to give life to creations?

From life, haha. I think that’s honestly the most important thing when you want to become an illustrator. You have to start observing everything around you. When I see something that is somehow interesting, I take a picture. Smartphones are great for that, you always carry them around and it has become so normal photographing basically everything that nobody really cares anymore.

illustrator MAurizio onano "mowri"'s artwork

illustrator MAurizio onano "mowri"'s artwork

Let’s talk about your works! For example, “Oma Herbert”. Why did you decide this title? What is the aim?

“Oma Herbert” (Grandma Herbert) is a story about a transsexual grandma. Herbert is a typical old man name in Germany, so this title sounds a bit funny, it kind of says what the comic is about and it piques the reader’s curiosity. The character Oma Berta (that’s the name she’s chosen as her true self) came out very late as trans* so the confusion and struggle in the comic is still there, but Berta is also a very happy, optimistic and humorous person who does not take herself too seriously. I don’t like to point my finger at problems, I’m trying to create a status quo in my stories where the fact that you’re trans* or whether you prefer boys or girls is as important as if you like apples over oranges or if you drink your coffee with or without sugar.

“Ça va?” - I saw on your portfolio that you wrote and drew a comic based on your experience in Brussels, called “mes expériences à Bruxelles”. Why did you choose this city? Could you describe us this experience?

Brussels is like the European capital for comic books. Many of the really great comics like Astérix, Les Aventures de Tintin and Lucky Luke have their origin in Belgium. Germany is not like that, we almost have no comic culture at all here — so if you really want to study comic, you have to go abroad. That’s what I did, I’ve studied comic for one semester during my master’s in the école supérieure des Arts Saint-Luc Bruxelles. All the courses were in French and the first 3 or 4 weeks I did not understand A WORD, so I made a comic about learning French and the “faux amis” and misunderstandings that happened.

illustrator MAurizio onano "mowri"'s artwork