Artist’s Profile: Francesco Chiacchio

I love to grow words in my ‘word-garden’ sprinkle them with different signs, watch them grow from afar and pick them up with a drawing.

Francesco Chiacchio

Francesco Chiacchio is an Italian-born illustrator from Florence.

His illustration work includes the books “90 secondi all’inferno. Storie jazz” and “Dall’Atlante agli Appennini.”

His body of work can also be found in magazines and comics as well as on record covers and theater posters. He has also published for the daily Italian national newspaper, “La Repubblica”, and is now working with Curious Hat.

Can you explain this lovely quote from your bio: “I love to grow words in my “word-garden”, sprinkle them with different signs, watch them grow from afar and pick them up with a drawing.

I love the agricultural metaphor, from the seed to the harvest to the wait, all driven by experience. I’m attracted by words, they influence my sensibility all the time, like some encounters, with a person, a book, a record, a painting… they have the strength to change my style, my character. I love thinking that in all this there is a never ending process.

I’ve seen many of your sketches on paper notepads. You draw every day, you draw about emotions while traveling. How do you utilize a computer when you realize an illustration? How does it change your art when you use a pencil or a pen?

Notepads are a relief valve, on those pages I find the pleasure of the simple drawing; I enjoy the form/shape, the motion of a curve, the density of a stroke. I honestly have never used a graphic tablet! I’m planning to use one soon and I’ll keep you posted!

I’m very much attracted to the piece of paper, but curious to explore new options. On paper you don’t have the option to undo a step. If you make a mistake, you have to start over or find a solution in the mistake itself.

About X (Suite for Malcolm)

Your wonderful illustrations are the visual track of a live performance of the Tinissima Quartet. You abandoned pen and paper and started using your hands, a glass and black ink. The results are very powerful images and a new style. For an illustrator, how does this new medium open unexplored avenues?

This is a project I love very much and it is very close to me.

The style is actually not new. I wanted to explore the ink over vinyl after a live show of Gek Tessaro, a great artist. I borrowed the idea and ended up creating something different. I was interested in working with a transparent medium, to overlay multiple drawings in order to have new combinations and alternatives. Vinyl does not absorb and I was able to wash away the ink with water every time I wanted to, modifying the drawing many times.

All of this gave me freedom I never experienced before and it has definitely affected the outcome. I’m convinced that every new method of self-expression helps us learn more about ourselves. There is a nice quote from Niccolo’ Fabi, a songwriter, that says: “Leave to get to know yourself”. I could not find a better definition.

You have created 6 wonderful illustrations for our “Eye Paint Halloween” app. Children from all over the world are coloring them using a mobile device like the iPhone or iPad. Tell me more about your feelings using the app and seeing your drawings painted by children.

It was fun to paint my drawings using the colors of objects found around me. I was fascinated to see how the “monsters” I drew can become something different every time in an endless transformation. Watching the kids being part of my drawings through their colors was exhilarating!

In your opinion, how important is it for children to be exposed to visual language in their early years?  

I believe it’s very important. My mother is an artist. Since I was very young, she took me to museums and exhibitions with my father. I always had illustrated books and painter’s portfolios.  This influenced  my view a lot. My research/exploration process  has roots exactly in the curiosity I had as a child, when I lost myself in images, experiencing how beautiful or scary they were.

Images are a strong alphabet that helps us to communicate and imagine things, two fundamental aspects of our life on planet Earth.

Thank you Francesco for this interview and for becoming part of the Curious Team. We know he’ll continue to surprise us with his style and ideas!!

  • Lisa Massei

    Very amazing interview!