Sunday, 15 September 2013

Giuliana Saladino - a documentary

Giuliana Saladino was my grandmother's sister. She was a political activist and a journalist, quite reknown in 1970s Sicily for her reports about mafia and widespread corruption.

When Palermo-based Playmaker Produzioni asked me to get involved with some animations in a documentary about Giuliana, I simply had to accept. It was challenging, not just because of the realistic visual style but also because I felt emotionally burdened in telling the story of a member of my family.

I reviewed hundred of photos in old family albums, and strayed from the familiar path of cartoony Flash-animations to work in Photoshop Animation and AE instead.

Here's a few character design studies:
Giuliana in her 60s.

Giuliana in her 40s.

Giuliana in her 20s.

Marcello Cimino
The job took me all of summer of 2013, and while London went through an unprecedented heatwave, it felt to me like being back in Sicily.
The documentary has premiered at Italian Doc Screenings in October 2013.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Cute Catholic Saints: Saint Agatha

My first thoughts as a kid of 9 upon seing a painting showing Sant'Agata (Saint Agatha of Sicily):
-Oh, she's offering sweets... Oh wait they're her... BREASTS? Why?
Thus I found out about martyrdom. Gory business. So I'll just leave it to you to understand why she's holding her severed breasts on a tray (while miraculously contrieving to still have a pair in the right place).

Aside from that, Saint Agata is one of the oldest martyrs we know about, and over time has come to represent a few different concepts, or expertise areas, like "breast cancer patients, martyrs, wet nurses, rape victims, sterility, bell-founders, bakers, fire, earthquakes, and eruptions of Mount Etna."

On the grand days of her festival (3 to 5 of February, plus the 17th of August) in Catania, a special treat is prepared: "minne di Sant'Aita", sort of breast-shaped pastry.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Cute Catholic Saints: Santa Rosalia

SANTA ROSALIA should be translated as Saint Rosalie. She's the patron saint of Palermo (my place of birth :) ) where she's often referred to as "La Santuzza" - the Little/Sweet Saint.

The celebration is held in Palermo tonight in the wake for the 15th of July.
And today there's 29° in London and I'm a bit tired so I'll recur to Wikipedia to let you know how the story goes:

According to legend, Rosalia was born of a Norman noble family that claimed descent from Charlemagne. Devoutly religious, she retired to life as a hermit in a cave on Mount Pellegrino, where she died alone in 1166. Tradition says that she was led to the cave by two angels. On the cave wall she wrote "I, Rosalia, daughter of Sinibald, Lord of Roses, and Quisquina, have taken the resolution to live in this cave for the love of my Lord, Jesus Christ."
In 1624, a horrible plague haunted Palermo, and during this hardship St Rosalia appeared first to a sick woman, then to a hunter to whom she indicated where her remains were to be found. She ordered him to bring her bones to Palermo and have them carried in procession through the city.
The hunter climbed the mountain and found her bones in the cave as described. He did what she had asked in the apparition, and after the procession the plague ceased. After this St Rosalia would be venerated as the patron saint of Palermo, and a sanctuary was built in the cave where her remains were discovered.

Disclaimer: I'm not a catholic myself. I honestly don't know why I'm drawing this saints series.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Drawing Portfolio

I've put together a drawing-only-portfolio. Will it get me some illustration jobs to do from the comfort of my home studio?
The 35-pictures limit forced me to further select from my previous works selection. If you want to take a closer look go here.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Collective Nouns

I've been surpresed to find out that animals' collective nouns -AKA "terms of venery"- in English where so many and different.
So I set myself to the task of illustrating some of the most hilarious expressions, and finally here's a series of very literal-minded takes on the fascinating world of these old fashioned and poetic figures of speech.

The collective nouns illustrations are now also available for sale at
my brand new online shop!

Friday, 5 April 2013

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Standing on Giants

I was helping animator Matthew Keen in a series of videos for Man + Hatchett's Standing on Giants campaign. Isn't the style just adorable?

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Vintage Emporium

The Vintage Emporium, off Brick Lane, has been offering free life drawing sessions on tuesdays.

the atmosphere is right

                                                             you can have teas and cakes
                                     but last time I was upset by the hipster hereby depicted

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Cute Catholic Saints: San Valentino

SAN VALENTINO, or Saint Valentine, was a martyr and the bishop of Terni, in Umbria.
In ancient iconography he's represented close to an axe and a tree stub, but the internet's got no explanation for it.

The feast happens in the same days as Roman Lupercalia, fecondity celebrations somehow connected to the wolf cults.

Valentino is considered to be the saint patron of LOVE, young lovers, happy marriages and EPILEPSY.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Monday, 28 January 2013