Intriguing, story-driven illustrations by Marianna Tomaselli
Marianna Tomaselli is an illustrator living and working in Milan. Stylised and story-driven, each of Marianna’s artworks eludes to an intriguing backstory.
Often focusing in on a single scene within her illustrations, her background in animation is evident – as each image hints at a deeper narrative. We start to consider the characters (often naked or partially clothed) and puzzle over their situations; a woman having a conversation with a tiger; a couple, dressed in S&M gear standing in the doorway of a child’s bedroom; another woman naked and swinging from a tree. Her work is curious, intriguing and invites us to explore and project our own meaning.
As you examine each piece, desperate for clues to what exactly is going on, there are crafted design details to appreciate. Throughout Marianna’s work, both the characters and setting strike a balance between sleek shapes and natural textures, bringing added depth and tactility to her work, and also giving the impression of energy and movement. Marianna’s pattern work is particularly vibrant, whether composed of people prancing around with wild cats, or wobbly potted plants weaving around one another. Her work is full of vitality.
By contrast, her depictions of the cityscape at night inject atmosphere. As the light source comes only from street lamps and lit windows, basking the image in dark navy hues. These scenes create an almost cinematic affect, reminiscent of Edward Hopper’s infamous cafe painting.
Much of her work depicts scenes between naked people and wild cats in leafy jungles and sandy deserts.
Marianna often works in GIFs, bringing her images to life in subtle ways; a single flashing car light, or flickering TV screen adds an extra layer of enjoyment.
Whether it’s because you are transfixed by the design details, or distracted trying to conjure up a backstory for her characters, it’s easy to get lost in Marianna’s work. You may not work out the story so far, but you will without doubt be curious to know what happens next.