Italian artist Marco Mazzoni creates amazingly detailed color pencil drawings that depict the cycles of nature through flora that appear to grow on and around an agonizing face of a woman. More recently he brought other life forms like fish and bird that are similarly trapped or stuck in tormenting state. Marco’s art is heavily based on Italian folklore where mysterious female spirits rule and he exhibits their tales with symbols and metaphors. Use of color pencils is much debated owing to their limitations but Marco used them with such a perfection that his Faber Castells compete with hand blended pigments of old masters. Here he’s telling us about himself and his work:
I was born in 1982 in a small town in northern Italy. After realizing that I was not a good drummer, I started to dedicate myself full-time to drawing. I spent some years at the Brera Academy and then immediately began to work with galleries. I am fortunate that now it’s become my full-time job. I live in a small home/studio in Milan where the music has to be always on.
It was not easy because I always had negative opinions about the choice of medium. In Italy, the use of paper and colored pencils is looked down upon. People don’t treat you as an artist if you’re not a painter, someone who paints in oil. But I have found galleries who always cared about the execution of the work and the final outcome. Jonathan LeVine and Benoni Christensen were the first outside Italy that gave me the opportunity to run a show with my work.
I don’t know, I can’t share what I feel about things that I do. I do what I think everyday life affects me. I do this work because they are two thing connected.
These are stories of Italian women of the countryside. These women practiced the profession of doctor (with medical plants), psychologists and midwives. When the Catholic Church arrived, they were termed witches and executed. My drawings revolve around their life and their sufferings. It is an attempt to portray a story for cycles to reinforce the matriarchal figure. Italy was born like a matriarchal society, a culture removed from a religious power. It should be discussed why we destroyed and concealed those ancient wisdom.
I exclusively use Faber Castell polychrome colored pencils and Fabriano Schedario paper (and moleskin paper). These materials are most suitable for my work and I realized it after many attempts.
Which one of these drawings is your favorite?
It is ‘Pietas’ (see below), because is dedicated to a dear friend whose father recently died. It is an attempt to speak about the “passing of the torch”, in the race of life.
I love everything that is contemporary. I think that Internet has allowed people to make our work known more easily. I never think that I have to make sense of something that is contemporary because it is a fact that we’ll come to know its worth and effects in years to come.
I am preparing a book. I love many artists and I recently had the good fortune to meet Andrew Hem in person. He is one of the best living artists in my opinion. I like sites like Hifructose, Oh Deer, Savage Habit, Platinum Cheese… I have no particular motivation, more than anything else I need to fear that help me to run to save myself.
To take a dog, the work of the drawer is no timetable, and the dog gives you a way to divide the day, and is important to don’t turnover the day with the night.