Strikingly bold characters from the heart of Rome
Bold, angular, blocks of colour define the work if Rome based illustrator Denny Di Pasquantonio. He chats to us about his career to date, and where he hopes to go next...
Born in Rome, I quickly discovered my passion for art. In the early years of my childhood nobody could stop me from painting all over the walls of my father’s house. As I grew up I realised that my family home was too small a stage on which to unleash my creativity, and so decided to enroll at the Rome Academy of Art, where I studied Editorial Graphics. Upon completing my studies, I realized that my calling was Illustration. I never lost my interest in other design areas, but illustration is what I’m most passionate about.
My craving to travel took me to Spain – after spending a year in Poland – where I studied Illustration & Graphic Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Valencia. It was there I started to refine my approach, drawing inspiration from the world around me, such as people and other things that caught my attention.
I currently live in my hometown, Rome, working as a freelance designer. I now understand how important it is to have inspiration around me. It makes a huge difference to the way I think and express my ideas, especially during the first stages of the creative process.
Over the last few years, I’ve really been exploring my visual identity. It has only been during the last year and half that I’ve realized how strong my interest for illustration was, and my own visual language. Most of my work derives and revolves around basics shapes. It’s taken a lot of experimenting to recognize what kind of visual content connects with my personality.
In my free time I hang out with friends, go for a drink or catch a movie, but as an Italian I cannot deny that my great passion is for cooking! I try to experiment as much I can. Living in Rome means I have the opportunity to visit a lot of museums and explore a city I love. It never ceases to amaze and inspire me. Travelling is also a big hobby of mine. All of my brothers work for airline companies, so whenever an opportunity arises, I travel with them around Europe, even if it’s just for a weekend. It’s always nice to discover new places, cultures, and cuisines.
One of my biggest dreams as an illustrator is to paint the whole side of a building. I’d definitely put my all into a project like that. However, I also have a passion for illustrating children’s books, so both would be top on my “dream project” list.
My workplace – I think – reflects my personality, and my ideas about creativity. One thing I can’t work without is music. I always have it playing in the background. It helps me focus more deeply. I also collect frame illustrations from different artists around the world that act as visual stimulus, often inspiring my own work. My toolkit is pretty minimalist, consisting of pencils, paper and a Wacom. I like working with paper and how easy it is to manipulate. I’ve noticed a real movement of younger artists using paper to create masterpieces. It’s wonderful to see how powerful it appears in the final result.
I still consider myself quite new to the illustration industry, so I’m always aiming to create more and more contacts, and taking part in more projects which allow me to make a bigger name for myself. I’m really proud of a recent project, in which I created a set of illustrations for a Turkish art shop, Amant Turc. They illustrate characters and people you can find on the streets of Istanbul, focusing on the small aspects that represent Turkey’s amazing city. I’d ike to focus more specifically on editorial illustrations. One reason why I’m currently seeking representation from illustration agencies.
A project which I admire – and that captured my imagination – is the series of books made by Owen Davey about animals. I am a big fan of his work in general, but specifically his style as it has inspired my own work. Perhaps in a similar way over the next year I hope to create a book about colors, using plants and vegetables with characteristics, another is illustrating a type of dictionary explaining the beneficial properties of a green life.