Antonio De Blasi is an Italian illustrator and portrait artist from Orbetello, Italy. His passion for drawing grows in time, expressing his impression of life and the evolution of his artistic maturity. Self-taught artist, Antonio explores every-day gestures and human emotions with graphite and pencils, playing between the figurative and surrealist imaginary to give form to his subjects on paper.
The investigation of human feeling is combined with the inspiration coming from the sea, that gives to the artist’s figures a unique personality. Because of the ephemeral and magic character of his subjects belonging to a mysterious world, the artist often collaborates with publishing houses to capture the atmosphere of poetry and narrative. The use of graphite and the sea imaginary accentuate the intensity of the emotional expression, guiding the imagination to infinite stories.
The artist just left North Carolina after the solo show The Black Sea at the Jake Roger Gallery, following the collective exhibition LP_Lost People in Tuscany. While waiting for Antonio’s next destination, we asked the artist about his work and his artistic inspiration.
1 – You are a self-taught artist with a strong passion for drawing. Which style has inspired your personal artistic journey?
Yes, I am a self-taught artist: I ever had masters nor courses. I did explore drawing in the museums around me, copying the works of the greatest masters and analysing art catalogues. I also love the artist’s biography, I have lots of them, they have always been a central point of my activity. I have been inspired most by Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Hayez and Modigliani while, between contemporary artists, surely by James Jean, Nicola Verlato, Saturno Buttò, Marco Mazzoni, Agostino Arrivabene, Andrea Martinelli.
2 – Which subjects are challenging and motivating your artistic research?
I love the human figure in any of its forms and I love to represent it both in a realistic and surrealistic way, often combining it with elements connected with my other main passion: the sea. My current production is going in this direction. My artistic research focuses on the study of the sign and on the form before the colour, the study of darkness, I use just little colours that are emphasised by the blackness around. I do not paint or use brushes.
3 – Between your past projects, which one has most influenced you as an artist?
Surely the illustrations for books allowed me to work with editors, writers, poets and journalists; the exchange with these personalities was, and still is, fundamental for my personal growth.
4 – You have been part of the group exhibition LP_LostPeople, about loneliness, loss and travelling. How these concepts are relating to your personal artistic vision, also in relation to the Italian situation?
I feel very internally the theme of loneliness: is a fundamental element not only for drawing but also for my personal equilibrium (I am happy and a good company only when I have been enough on my own). The figures of my piece are the portrait of my loneliness, and my studio is the ideal place to give form to my works. About the idea of travelling: I see my artistic path as a long and undefinable journey that with pleasure also ended up in Badia a Ruoti with the group exhibition LP.