|Alice in Nukeland by Alejandro Dini|
I’m a bit of a fan-girl when it comes to my favorite artists, and I wanted to introduce you to Alejandro Dini. He is a very talented Italian artist that hails from Hong Kong and whose art I find so incredibly inspiring. So, I asked him a bunch of questions and he was kind enough to answer them! Here’s my interview with the talented Alejandro:
When did you first get into art?
Drawing has always been my thing, since I was a kid. All through my primary school years I used to get encouragement from friends and teachers, but it’s only through the horrible years of high school and its dry math, exams and inhuman competitiveness that I thought “I don’t want a job that resembles any of this, I want to make a living with drawing”.
That’s probably when it officially started.
At what point did you decide to become a professional artist?
Right after high school, when I had to pick a university. I was struggling between choosing medicine or psychology to follow my parents’ path, but I insisted on art. After university things weren’t easy at all and I was about to give up a few times due to lack of jobs in Italy, especially in my hometown. Moving to Hong Kong was a blessing in that sense.
What influences your art? Are there any particular artists or mediums you turn to for inspiration?
|Galaxy Express 999|
As a kid I got all [of my] inspiration from cartoons, and comics. As a teenager I grew up with tons of
70s and 80s anime. Maybe I even overdid it. I particularly enjoyed Leiji Matsumoto’s cosmic stories like Captain Harlock and Galaxy Express 999. It’s amazing how this man left a mark on me. I don’t know why, but his space pirates and flying trains will always resonate with me. It was all so darkly romantic.
Another favorite of mine was “The Rose of Versailles”, a fictional take on the french revolution. I still consider it one of the best anime to this day, with a great director and soundtrack.
However, now I don’t particularly like what I see in the commercial arts world. It saddens me and I don’t want to say there aren’t good things, because there are thousands of great artists whose work give me a boost whenever I need it, but the ultimate source of inspiration for me has to be the “inner world” and books.
I’m mainly interested in the “untold” and the “unexplored”. In other words, instead of drawing what’s in front of me, I want to catch what’s behind. It’s truly impossible to entirely grasp it because what’s behind your back is always in the dark. The only way to catch a tiny part of it is to feel it. That’s what artist[s] spontaneously do, but they also often fall back to reproducing the ordinary and the obvious (the front part). That’s what I try to avoid, possibly.
What is your favorite medium to work with?
During the art school days I preferred colored pencils and watercolors or a mix of the two.
After buying my first Wacom tablet in the year 2000 I used that for everything, out of necessity. I still like it. Now, after more than a decade, I feel a call towards traditional mediums again, but I’ll let that grow a bit more. There’s no rush and I enjoy the digital medium. We plug guitars in amplifiers. We can plug pens too. It’s an electromagnetic world. Maybe that’s my medium.
Is there a particular piece or project that you especially enjoyed making?
What you see in my website is a selection of my favorite pieces. It’s all personal work, because I work as a full-time illustrator and I’m not looking for constant freelance work. Hence I showcase what I enjoy rather than what pays.
However, out of the whole list I particularly like the Prince Frog illustration and I had fun with the process too. It’s rare for me to have fun through the entire painting process from beginning to end. Fun comes and goes, but I got used to the turbulent journey and if I feel connected to the drawing I go through it to the end. Once the end is there I feel an exciting relief and desire to share it.
Part of why I wanted to interview you was because of your web comic, Toxitizens. I’ve really been enjoying reading it, and I really love the bold graphic style you use for it. How did you come up with the idea for Toxitizens?
Thank you for this question! It’s the first time someone [has] asked about Toxitizens.
It’s an unfinished side project of mine, something I wish to continue, but I couldn’t keep up with the expected web-comic pace of a chapter a week or so. That’s why I never received comments from anyone (except from friends at the beginning) and I never knew whether anyone was reading it or enjoying it. It can be very discouraging, because it takes a long time for me to produce a single chapter and I always have to juggle my free time between that, painting and my daytime job.
So I decided to make a comic about people discovering special abilities in a messy city like Hong Kong, where you can’t fly nor jump on roofs without getting entangled in dirty cables, provided you manage to reach an actual rooftop. But I also wanted to create a story in the city I live in and about generic people who are not heroes for the masses. Besides, nobody in Toxitizens can nor ever will fly. I like grounded characters.
What is your process for creating Toxitizens?
(Another questions about Toxitizens! I might continue the story just for you!)
I would love that 🙂
I have a general idea about the whole thing and the characters I want to introduce, but I want it to be mostly improvised to keep it fresh and running along the emotions of the moment. Anyway, I start with a quick outline of the story to highlight the key-points of the chapter and its ending. I write the dialogues and then I sketch the entire Chapter very quickly. While drawing I might still tweak the story or dialogues. I realized I need to literally see something in order for me to complete it with words, so I’ll never be able to stick to something I previously wrote and follow it blindly. Probably the overall approach is more North-American than European.
What kind of projects have you been working on lately?
Apart from what I do in my day job I have no personal projects. I wish I had, but I don’t want to burden myself with long term schedules, unless the project strongly speaks to me.
I even thought about a board game about fairy tales, but the rules so far don’t fully satisfy me, so…I’ll see how it goes. My dream has always been to find a good writer to work with, someone whose inner world resembles mine. It’s as hard as winning the jackpot, but maybe there will be a right time for that too.
Is there anything in particular you would like to mention? A project you’re working on, a blog or a website you would like people to check out for example.
Sure. My website and blog at www.creationspot.com
Apart from drawing, one thing I also enjoy is to blog about things that interest me or strike me as relevant. I post all that in my website under the blog category “Articles”. I like to question things as deep as I can, especially anything concerning media, ideologies and the arts. I consider it an important aspect of the profession I chose, which is first of all a vocation. But I’ve always been inquisitive, since I was a child. I wasn’t outstanding at school because I could never been the model student who repeats what’s in the book. Most of those books were terribly written and left no room for further questioning.
In the end, whatever I do, whether it’s artwork, writing or reading, is to me like the work of the alchemist in a metaphorical sense. There’s always transformation. The alchemist changes through the Work itself. Some things remain, but most mutate. It’s a path of numerous deaths and rebirths. Mostly an unpopular and solitary road that turns more colorful the more I accept it. In fact art to me is not so much about creativity (because nothing is being truly created) but a process of exploration and deconstruction, like dismantling a wall (the word world) to reveal the light outside. Or is it inside?
Thank you so much for taking the time to share with me and the lovely readers of Horror Made. I can’t wait to see more of your work and I hope you find your perfect match in a writer soon!
Help support Alejandro but checking out his work or perhaps even purchasing a print or two.
His website, blog and link to the web-comic Toxitizens: creationspot.com
His Deviant art page: aledin.deviantart.com
Where you can purchase some of his prints: fineartamerica.com
Or you can just friend him on good ol’ facebook: facebook.com/aledin.art