We’re very fortunate to have artists from all around the world as part of our community. It certainly makes for some very fascinating and eye-opening interactions! Recently we had the chance to journey-by-proxy to Milan, Italy by chatting with Davide Magliacano, who’s known for his stunning portrayals of cities in the sky. Read on to find out more about what makes him tick:
Did you ever consider an alternative potential career, or did you always just know that you were going to be an artist?
In some respects I’ve always considered being an artist as the alternative potential career to my job! Every day I wear the shoes of a Proposal Manager in a telecommunications company, but after a long day spent working, when I come back home, I born again as my real self and unleash my creativity, because for me art is not only a path to follow but sometimes it’s simply what you’ve always been. The will to create is a constant and unstoppable pulse.
So my answer is: Yes, being an Artist is my alternative in life!
There is also another alternative! I have recently taken accords with a local association in my town to start teaching watercolours. I’m organizing evening painting courses. I’m really excited about this new adventure!
That does sound like a fantastic new adventure! Let’s back up for a second though. Buildings feature prominently in your art. Did you ever consider being an architect?
Yes, absolutely I’ve thought about becoming an architect! But in life sometimes we make choices that carry us away from a path, only to join it again in another moment of our life! While I don’t exactly make buildings now, in my works I have the possibility to ignore gravity and the limits imposed by physics. Actually, there have been occasions where I’ve worked for architectural firms, making 3D renderings of projects, such as a complex of apartments on the shore of an artificial lake or the interior design of a pastry shop.
Maybe one day some “archistar” will decide to take inspiration from one of my works to create a new Babel tower… In that case I’d like to know how many stairs and lifts would be necessary to build it!
Tell us a bit more about your Babel Project and the floating cities. What was the inspiration behind it? Do you reference real buildings to make sure that all the architecture looks believable?
My Babel Project starts slowly, from the stratifications of events, passions and travels. I’ve always been attracted to buildings and the human propensity to create structures that can challenge the sky. When I was young, during the holidays my parents used to take me and my brother around, in the cities of art such as Florence, Venice, Rome, Milan and Naples, and I remember I used to spend a lot of time with my nose to the sky, watching all the wonderful buildings. But most recently, travels to New York and across Japan gave me the right push to start the “Babel Project”. In my drawings I generally don’t use references from real buildings. Usually I just start sketching lightly without an idea and create the volumes and the main structure to provide a sense of equilibrium and harmony, and then I add details, shadows, textures and colours. I do admit that sometimes to push the fantasy I start checking out architectural books, photos of elements, materials or maybe just a detail.
All those cities sound so dreamy! There have been numerous renowned Italian painters over the years – da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Caravaggio, Donatello… Has living in a culture with such a strong artistic history had an influence on your art and aesthetics?
For sure this has influenced my family…my father’s name is Leonardo, and my full name is Raffaello Davide! Maybe it’s a very long name, but it fits me perfectly because I live life as both Raffaello (the artist) and Davide (the salary man)! I think that every artist in the world has to compare in some ways with Italian Renaissance artists, and being Italian is an additional push, given by the pride of being born in the land of such giants of the art world like those.
So which artist do you really admire?
Too many people! Caravaggio, all the Italian Renaissance, Tullio Crali, the Futurism and Hokusai. How to forget the great Miyazaki and Mike Mignola? Last but not least, my watercolor teacher and great friend, Gionata Alfieri.
Fantastic roster! Do you like listening to music while you create? If so, what kind?
Why just music? I watch movies or series (sci-fi, horror, thrillers, comedy, anime), or animal, history or science documentaries. It depends on how I’m feeling, but there are moments in which I just “enjoy the silence”, while other times I’ll listen to rock, electronic, classical, or heavy metal music. When I’m in “music mode” I like all the old hard rockers, like Metallica and the bands of that period, but also Depeche Mode, Slash, Queen or just the radio.
If you’ve had one, what’s been your biggest ‘artist disaster’?
Artist disaster… You mean the time when I wanted to take part in a painting competition, and my wife toppled the dirty water of the water jar onto my watercolor work, when the delivery of the artwork was due within four days? Well, as you can imagine, pouring water onto a watercolour painting isn’t good!
Luckily the story has an happy ending. My wife is still alive and I still love her so much. In that occasion, I also discovered a new incredible blur effect that adds more intensity to my work, and I won a prize!
That’s fantastic that everything worked out well in the end! What sorts of projects are you thinking of working on next? What are you really excited about?
I have a lot of projects in mind! First of all, I’d like to create and publish a book of my Babel project, containing the illustrations and photos of the works in progress, as well as sketches and other goodies. There is still an enormous quantity of work left to do, but I want to start a crowd-funding campaign as soon as possible!
There is another itch in the corner of my mind: I’d like to expand the idea of Babel and bring it to a new level by adding the third dimension. I want to create a bass relief of one of my floating cities! I have a passion for sculpture, modeling and mold-making, and I’m constantly in search of new materials to try and use. There are also other ideas about sculptures that are pushing to come out of my mind and hands. I want to make a series of toys representing characters, all belonging to a common universe – but this is still top secret!
We’re looking forward to hearing more about the Babel project book campaign, and your secret project! Let’s finish off with some words of wisdom: what does every up-and-coming artist need to know?
You just need to make, draw, paint what you feel and really love. Put your heart in it and be proud of what you’ve done. Sometimes in order to grow you’ll have to be critical of your own works, but never be destructive, because if you aren’t proud of it and leave it in the closet, no one will ever have the possibility to discover and appreciate you. And never give up… Never!