I’ve recently got in contact with my art school classmates. We hadn’t talked since 1995! Time flies and some things change, but not all.
It’s sort of enlightening to talk to people I haven’t seen in over a decade, especially people we shared similar dreams with.
For all these years some of them pursued the passion for art and illustration despite the numerous difficulties (I left Italy just to have the chance of working full-time as an illustrator); some decided to take a new direction and focus on family or other activities.

I’m a bit saddened to see that some of these talented artists had to struggle so much. Things aren’t easy in our profession, but I can assure you that in Italy they are worse. They deserve a lot better, especially with the great artistic tradition they have.
I hope we’ll at least collaborate on some competitions for fun, posting in art communities and such. It’s something that has proven to be very motivational for me, because I’m rather anti-social and I tend to isolate myself pretty easily.
At least the internet has become my window to the world.

Talking to them again sort of encouraged me to look at where I am now to judge myself objectively.
While I still have dreams to pursue and things to accomplish I can say I’m pretty happy on a personal level when it comes to my approach with illustration. I found a way to work the way I like, walking a strange line between the path of the traditional artist (craftsmanship and formal research) with that of the illustrator (narrative and pop culture). I like this strange route, for now it’s my own and I’m curious to see where it will lead me.
It’s something I had no idea of 10 years ago. Even just 5! It’s a little light in the darkness, a hint of a direction at least. It makes the journey even more thrilling.

Anyway, I want to post a few links, to introduce some of my ex-classmates.

Cinzia Di Felice‘s main expertise are comics. She published a few comic books (samples are in her website), she’s been the assistant of the popular comic artist Massimiliano Frezzato (who’s been our teacher as well) and now teaches in the same art school we all attended. She’s funny too. 😉

Andrea Gatti is a freelancer who does a bit of everything (traditional and digital). He drew an amusing series of historical caricatures, but what struck me the most is the collection Sunk World that I linked here. Check it, it’s really cool.

Sauro Quaglia has a very confident comic and animation style he used to impress us with during our school days. He was already good back then. He now works for Leo Burnett in Italy, but check his blog, there’s plenty of stuff he enjoys doing in his spare time.

Simona Traina currently enjoys painting. Her style is a very lovely mixture of children-book and cubism. I really like her work, she can’t believe it, she’s too modest.

Elena Pianta works as a comic artist at the major italian comic publisher, Bonelli Editore.
Her site is work in progress so I’ll just link something I googled.

There might be more, so as soon as I get more links from the rest of the ex-class I’ll post them here.

4 thoughts on “Past and Present”

  1. I also feel sad/mad because, you spend many years and hard works to acquire high level skills in art (especially in art field), yet you are not well rewarded financially. Some people are lucky enough to have success, yet many others just like your friends are struggling.

    I always saw smartly dressed (suits and ties) young people on the street and think “gees, this guy probably earn more than me and he is younger than me. Am I really lack of talents?” This guy probably just spend four years in Uni, and went into well pay sectors like finance.

    But for art professional, our studies never stops. beside our works, we alway strike for improve ourself, imagine the hard works we put in for all these years, yet this young lad get paid more than you just because the job he do, not because the hard works he did.

    Ah~ better stop typing before I feel really depress . I just drop by to said hello. Haven’t seen you online in Steam for more than a month, you traveling?

    1. ah! The great struggle. Money and success.
      With art is a bit different. Many Art oriented people identify success with the ability of achieving the best result on the work itself, rather than monetary retribution. This is both good and bad. Good because that’s what work should be, bad because artists seldom make money and they kinda accept it that way.
      Nobody ever decided becoming an illustrator to become rich.

      -“I want to be rich! I will study art!”

      Impossible ahahah
      It always starts with the passion for art and there it stays most of the times. Trend will favor one artist or another, but that doesn’t mean one’s a better artist necessarily. Sometimes they are more experienced, but not really more talented. Well, it’s quite complex, much more than the little manager of something that makes more money, because some jobs are highly paid because of economic reasons, but I also notice that these little kids with suit, tie and fat wallet don’t have much else going on in their lives.
      Those few I met were rather boring individuals.

      Money only buys things. Sure, we need that to get good health and education, but what I mean is: money doesn’t buy achievement.
      If I became billionaire tomorrow I’d surely improve my lifestyle to a better ideal I have, there’s much I want to improve for my own good, but ultimately, once I’d buy what I need, I’d end up in the exact same place as before: what now?
      The answer to me is and will always be the same: work. By work I don’t mean job, I mean work itself, doing the things that fulfill me as an individual.

      I like passionate people, with doubts, who know struggle, who have endless dreams and big imagination. They are the ones who spend too much time thinking and too little time making money. They are also the best company one can have. They are the ones who (like you say) come to good terms with the idea that improvement is endless, so we better enjoy the journey. There’s no definite goal, just a series of stages leading up, somewhere.

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