I first saw the work of Marco Mazzoni, currently based in Milan, Italy, last year and shortly after he made the cover of Hi Fructose magazine. It’s not often that you see an artist use a medium like colored pencils, and produce something so painterly and delicate at the same time. The works are filled with color and have a sculptural element to the figures that Marco achieves with the chiaroscuro technique, rendering with darks and lights. I am very happy to have Marco kick of the site as the featured artist for 2012, the 5th year the site has been going. After the images and short interview, make sure to head over to Marco’s site for more work and updates.
(Interview has been edited slightly for translation)
Creep: You have drawing since you were younger, did you attend an art college and if so what was your experience like?
Marco: I attended Brera Art Academy in Milan, but in 4 years of school a lot of the professors tried to get me to abandon drawing to be a painter.. so I really think my “school” was all the time I spent using pencils.
Creep: Who are some of the artists, current and past, that have influenced your work?
Marco: I love some current artists like Nicola Verlato and Nicola Samorì¬ because they are italian in their works, and I think that the roots is the basis to be international, I really love Martin Wittfooth, Turf One and Josh Keyes, but the artists that influenced my work the most are Ribera and Goya. Their chiaroscuro technique is the fundamental part of my drawings.
Creep: You primarily use colored pencils. What is it about this medium that you like?
Marco:MIt’s a medium for children, and I am interested in bringing a medium considered easy to be extreme. The pencils are fantastic for glazing and also doesn’t have the drying time that oil has.
Creep: When did you start creating your current style of work, figures with plant life, and what was the inspiration for this?
Marco: I started this kind of work after reading “Malleus Maleficarum” in 2009. I try to speak about the women and their knowledge with medicinal plants. Here in Italy we lost this knowledge because the church eliminated those who could use alternative medicine.
Creep: In each of your work there is a variety of plant and insect life. Can you tell us a bit about your favorite plants and insects, and what they mean to you?
Marco: In my work the plants are all medical or hallucinogenic plants, I did a lot of research to select the floral subjects and the insects. The birds are most of the time butterfly and hummingbirds because they are the animals that move pollen, so it’s a kind of circle that creates and cares for life.