WHATSGOOD. WITH MARCO MELGRATI

We enjoy illustrations and we particularly enjoy illustrations with meaning behind them. Take Marco Melgrati’s work for example, he mixes contemporary topics and simple illustration to leave you questioning the way you lead your life. It is exactly this thought-provoking work that made us get in touch with Marco and find out why he does what he does. Check out our short interview with him below.

Tell us a little something about yourself and your background.

My name is Marco, I am from Milan, Italy. I am actually living in Mexico City at the moment. It is a huge and chaotic city but I love it. 

I studied painting in school and then I started working as freelance illustrator for magazines and newspapers in 2008. For a year now, I am working with clients in different parts of the world via a Californian agency named Salzman International. It is kind of strange to work for people that you never seen in real life but it's also amazing to work with people so far away from you. The best part about working this way is that I can work anywhere in the world as long as I have an internet connection. 

Your work contains a lot of symbolism, subversion, and metaphor, how did you get into creating work like this? 

I think that symbolism, subversion, and metaphor, are the best ways to transmit a concept and to create an image with a lot of impact. I'm not too attracted by realism as it is better to 

Where does the inspiration come from? How would you describe your style?

Nowadays we are literally surrounded everywhere by images, inspiration can come from anywhere. A lot of my inspiration comes from the work of other illustrators, even from the ones that are completely different from my style of drawing. And of course the history of art is another great archive of inspiration; the history of painting and painters in general, are always source of inspiration.

Fortunately, in Italy we have tons of amazing artwork, however unfortunately not always given the appreciation they deserve

More great sources of inspiration for me are movies and literature. Lately, I am a little bit obsessed with Russian literature, and writers like Gogol, Dostoevskij, Gončarov, Cechov.

About my style, I try to make illustrations as simple and effective as I can according to the topic I am illustration.

How do you create your work? Is it mainly computer aided graphic design or do you draw the pieces fully or partially? 

I start on paper; it is still the best way for me to graphically express an idea. Afterwards it put it on the PC and use a monitor tablet and use digital painting programs like Corel Painter. I still prefer the traditional stuff like oil and watercolors for my personal work, but for commissioned digital work (magazines and newspapers) I use computer programs for efficiency.

Your work often as a political message to it that reminds us of a lot of graffiti and street art. Have you ever considered creating street art?

I’m really interested in history and contemporary topics; I really enjoy illustrating political issues, news about our times and literature as well. I love to spray paint and make something that is visible for everybody. Every time I have the opportunity I try to paint on walls because it is the best medium. When I am doing it I feel that the images are very fluid and I love the fact they can’t be moved, forcing you to really think about where you should place it. When I was studying in Italy I sprayed a lot with friends on abandoned buildings and other locations, and actually a lot of my friends are painters and illustrators themselves. 

What plans do you have concerning your work in the future? Will we see it in a gallery soon?

My future plans are to increase my collaboration with magazines and to evolve my style as best I can as well as trying new things like animation. What I like most about my work with magazines is that it obliges you to constantly update your skills.

I am not much in the gallery scene and have not done very many expositions. You will more likely see my new work in magazines and newspapers and perhaps sometimes on walls.

Head over to Society6.com to purchase Marco’s work and check out more of his fantastic illustrations on Instagram @m_melgrati.