From Taranto to Vicenza to Bologna. These are the places of the Italian illustrator, Mattia Caracciolo. The 31 years-old artist is a stubborn capricornus who began to approach the world of art at the age of 3. Mattia followed an artistic training, starting from high school and then continuing with his university studies in illustration and comics at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, where he began his career in 2014 as a freelancer.
“My passion for the storytelling came a little later. - he says to gaypost.it - I remember spending a lot of time alone at home inventing stories and talking to myself, creating hypothetical worlds and life options. Basically I was always dissatisfied with my own, so I started to create parallel worlds that were then realized in drawings and later in illustrations with lots of stories attached.”
His first exhibition took place in Bologna at GalleriaPiù and it consisted in a mix of food and illustrations. After this experience he began to exhibit in the most popular places in the center of the city while always working as illustrator and digital content creator for several brands such as: Lush Cosmetics, Roberto Collina, Ippolita Jewelry NYC, Alberta Ferretti and Saatchi and Saatchi.
About his work we can say that Caracciolo's art is a mix between fashion illustration, abstractism, digitalism and street art. His illustrations are a colorful, surreal and contemporary place where love, self-affirmation and freedom create a creative galaxy that always communicates with the world around.
“My art has always been against hate, violence and racism. It is about love, hope, peace, harmony. A celebration of life and humanity.”
Two of the most famous work of the artist are Tim&Tom and the Charlatan Fish. About the design of these characters Mattia says : «I came from a Parisian holiday where I had imagined what my ideal relationship would be like when I went to the city of love. Using two stereotypical characters of me and my hypothetical man, I cut out two paper shapes by placing them in the most famous or unlikely places in Paris, telling their love story.The magic lasted a few months, then I got engaged to a special guy, but that did not look like my stereotype and, maybe a little out of jealousy or respect for him, I decided to stop the project. I thought I had already realized my romantic dream and I could no longer continue this little game of "Ruby Sparks". So I stopped the project to give space to my little fishes that gave a more universal flavor to my concept of dream and love.»
The Charlatan fish represents the artist alter ego. He faces the desire for freedom, emancipation and desire to discover the world through Charlatan. «After being betrayed by my boyfriend I decided to found the brand that is a concept brand that ranges from clothing to home living, to performance and fine art. The logo is the Charlatan fish, a storyteller fish with a hypnotic eye.» In this way, the little fish becomes a symbol of independence breaking the patterns of the conventional he swims upstream in order to prove that life is made of bets, courage and respect for the different.
In addition to his artistic experience, Mattia also participated in social initiatives to combat the prejudices of LGBT community. One example is that of Lush, a cosmetics company that launched the "Gay is ok" campaign. Taking the chance Mattia had the opportunity to speak to the people without constraints. There is only one word that represents this experience: freedom.
“I feel as free as the LGBT flag that flies 24/24 on Castro street in San Francisco. Everyone should feel that way these days.”
As already deduced from the experience with Lush, Mattia is very close to social issues that are still much debated today and that keep divided the whole society. First of all, the subject of Pride that we learn from him is seen in a very different way depending on the country you go. Our artist tells us that, even according to his American experience in San Francisco, he was able to find a different mentality, more open and extravagant, while in Italy some terms are not yet well understood.
“Pride is just the tip of the iceberg of gay rights around the world. Wake up Italians! We’re still at the Mascoline or Feminine step.”
Another social theme that has made the whole world think a lot during this period, especially America, is the struggle for the rights of black people, spread on social media with the hastag #blacklivesmatter. Mattia joined this fight virtually, with the following words: "My art has always been against hate, violence and racism. It is about love, hope, peace, harmony. A celebration of life and humanity".
Follow Mattia's work on his Instagram account.
Interview & Article by