This is the first time I have been asked to describe my style and having to answer this question made me realize that it's not really easy to do so. I can certainly say that the animation world has greatly influenced my way of drawing. As an Animator and a Story Artist I frequently have to adapt my drawing style to the projects I work on. I can safely say that Asian Art has been my muse for the longest time. I consider Chinese and Japanese design beautifully daring and sophisticated.
I greatly admire those artists whose style is unique or very different from what is already out there. I believe that developing a style has a lot to do with the kind of exposure an artist has during hers or his formative years - that delicate age where all is wonder and all is possible. Some of the artists that still powerfully linger into my mind are those who illustrated the stories, comics, and books I used to read when I was a very young girl. Sergio Toppi, Alberto and Enrique Breccia, Dino Battaglia. and Giorgio Cavazzano are some of the artists.
I believe the influence of my culture's (Italian) history and art is significant in the way I think and in the way I see the world. From Giotto to Michelangelo, composition has been one of the greatest tools used to tell stories. The way the surface of the painting was divided and the way the images were composed in it was is itself an art. When the first artists began to apply perspective to their works the perception of the world significantly changed and with it the way people thought. Said that, I suppose that, what is most distinctly Italian about my work is probably the mental process, the reasoning, the planning and the care that goes into it, to make sure that from the main action to the smallest of the detail the story is told in the most subtle and engaging way possible.
I wouldn't say my work falls into a category. I have just begun to explore the art of illustration and there are a great deal of ideas and subjects that interest me which are drastically different from what I have been doing so far. Since I have always associated drawings with the written words I tend to approach a new project from the narration point of view. The characters in the illustration must have a very clear story. Most of the works I have done were created as visual development for a script or a short story. Each work is just the visualization of a moment or an episode of the character’s adventure. It is very difficult for me to illustrate something that does not have a context. I suppose, for some, it may seem a limitation but to me the two are in fact one single thing. Ultimately the finished piece is never like the original idea I started with. The process is at times long and not free of frustration. I believe I must be the toughest boss I ever worked for.
The sketches are usually done in pencil on paper, which are then scanned in the computer and painted digitally.
The sculpting process is not much dissimilar from painting. Once the character has been established on paper, the building of the armature begins. For sculpting, my drawings are not as detailed and final has they are for an Illustration. In this way the sculpture is not just an execution but it retains the same creative attributes of a drawing. Sometimes the paper sketches are basic dark silhouettes and the final detailing is all done directly at the sculpting stage. I easily get bored. If I were to put too much time and effort into the basic drawing, I would lose all the interest in reproducing it once more in 3D.
Technically, the way I build the armature for the sculpture is very traditional. I choose a wooden base, large enough to contain the subject, I then tide together metal wires of different diameter to form the skeleton of the character I'll be sculpting. The clay I prefer is the Roma Plastilin, which is oil based and doesn't dry out.
I'm often reminded that my style is direct and simple. I don't know if this is true. What is true is that as a person, I am very direct and simple. I'm a listener not a talker, and if this part of myself comes across in my works, then I'm very happy.
So far my art has been for my eyes only or for portfolio purposes. I still have a lot to learn. Maybe one day I'll self publish one of my many projects. In the meantime, I guess the only place my works can be seen is in my web site.
Images for this article are the property of Emanuela Cozzi.