With his talent in refining complex, far-reaching issues into a simple, striking image with something to say, Marco Melgrati suits the editorial world.
Unsurprisingly then, the Italian illustrator – who is now based in Mexico City - has graced the pages of Variety Magazine and has a lot more planned.
Digital Arts: How would you describe your style?
Marco Melgrati: “I think it is commonly called conceptual illustration - a style that is basically focused on the idea.”
DA: A lot of you work is grounded in real events – why is that?
MM: “What I love about illustration is that it’s so connected to real life - working for newspapers and magazines forces you to think about what's happening in the world.
“That's why a lot of my work talks about war and social media: war because unfortunately it is always present in man’s history (and these days are no exception); and social media and the internet because they are one of the greatest changes in the history of human culture.”
DA: Tell us about your creative process.
MM: “I always start with pencil and paper. There is not tablet that can replace it. Once the work is commissioned, I use the sketches so the art director can choose the best idea for the final.
“It feels freer to start my ideas in that way. After I have done the sketch, I pass it onto the PC and, with the Wacom using Corel Painter and Photoshop, I make the final.”
DA: Which contemporary illustrators do you admire?
MM: “That's a really hard question. There are so many awesome illustrators. Also some of my work takes inspiration from painters in the past.
“Like one of my recent illustrations - Social Media Narcissism [shown] – was born from a famous canvas of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. I think the art of the past is a huge reserve of inspiration.
“Anyway, my true love is paint!”
DA: What couldn’t you live without as an artist?
MM: “I think this sounds really trivial, but the answer is drawing. For me, it is the most directly way to explore and connect with the world. I draw a lot - most of the time for myself and not only for work.”
DA: Which of your works would you rather forget?
MM: “I think some of my first works, but in fact every work helped me to evolve. I feel that I made a lot of progress since the start, but I also know that I still have to work hard to get better.
“I just hope that my best hasn’t come already.”
DA: What are you working on right now?
MM: “I’m working on an illustration for a poetry magazine call Popshot. I love to illustrate literary stuff, as it give me a lot inspiration.
“I’m also working for magazines and journals with Salzman, a Californian Illustration agency.”
DA: What’s next for you?
“I’m living in Mexico City – which is awesome. But I want to go and stay for a while in New York as soon as I can.
“I think it’s still the capital (along with Berlin) of contemporary art and illustration. Travel is one of the things that I love the most – and it’s a good inspiration for work too.”
DA: Where would you like to take your work in the future?
MM: “I hope my work gives me stimulation to do better. I love works with magazines, especially politics and literature ones. I hope to improve my collaboration too.”