Interview: Davide Bart Salvemini

Equipped with a boundless imagination and buckets of talent, Davide Bart Salvemini creates surreal worlds populated by dinosaurs, giants, angels and two-headed humans.

As well as these more surreal subject matters, exploration of the human form is prominent within Davide’s work. Whether it is comes in the form of headless-humans, naked devils or his erotic illustration project, his grasp of the human figure is impressive.

Also noteworthy is his us of colour. Inspired by black and white imagery but feeling drawn to bold colour schemes, Davide strikes the perfect balance, adding a unique graphic element to his cartoonish style.

We caught up with Davide to find out more about what inspires his other-worldly creations.

Hi Davide! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I was born in Puglia and I have lived in Ravenna for more than 15 years. I’m currently in Paris to write my thesis for my Master’s degree in illustration. I attended 3 years in Bologna at Art Academy and then I began the Illustration  Master’s degree at I.S.I.A. in Urbino

You live and work in Italy. How is the creative scene there?

Italy is a country with so many disadvantages, especially for my work because in Italy creative work is seen as a hobby more than real work. But it’s a fascinating country with spectacular views and a colossal ancient and modern culture. All this atmosphere inspired many of my works;  for example, the poetry and Dante’s hell were important for my art imaginary.

What is a typical day like for you?

I’d like to wake up at 10 am, drink an half a litre of coffee,  watch a movie,  go to exhibitions in the afternoon and come back home where I would work all the night. But I usually wake up at 9 am, I drink a coffee and  I work all day long.

What is your studio like?

It’s a mess: full of books, posters and empty cups of coffee.

Can you tell us about your creative process?

I always start from random words that I write on my notebook; I look for the power of imagination of these words with the help of photos, movies and image collections. When I  finally find the right way, I begin to sketch with a pencil and then I draw with micro pens.

You tend to use strong, bold colour combinations within your work. Is colour something that is particularly important to you? How do you decide which colours to use?

I love black. I love Charles Burns, Jim Woodring and Robert Crumb, artists that created masterpieces in black and white. But, when I work , I feel something  that prompts me to colours. I think that through colours I can direct the viewer’s eye, I can decide to get them lost between the characters and  the details, or to give the right path to read my message. I always try to create strong contrasts.

Your illustrations have included so many different subject matters; from flying angels and naked devils to giant, fire-breathing fish. How do you come up with your wild ideas?

I think that my brain and my eyes are like big sponges. I try to get interested in many subjects, I take inspiration from directors movie (Terry Gilliam, David Lynch, Wes Anderson, John Carpenter, David Cronenberg, Zack Snyder and Spike Jonze), books (Niccolò Ammaniti, David Sedaris, Chuck Palahniuk, Bukowsky, Hunter S. Thompson and Guy de Maupassant) and music (Board of Canada, Kraftwerk, Jon Hopkins, Iron and Wine, Seasick Steve and Alessandro Mannarino). I think of the creative who inspire me as many “friends” that help me when I visualise the image.

How do you keep note of your ideas and concepts once you have thought of them?

I sketch and  so I can’t forget.

Do you have a favourite piece of work you have created in the last few years?

I’m very fond of Lucifero’s fall project. The good and the evil are relative concepts, and I sometimes try to take the side of the evil, because it’s often misunderstood.  It has been very exciting to study the king of evil, and  to discover that his place is at the beginning of the human culture. I’m not a religious man, but these things fascinate me.

Who or what influences your work?

Cinema, books and magazines had the major influences on my work, but what has  truly moulded my style, is Ancient Greece, Maya, Aztec and Medieval designs.

Is there anyone you would like to work for or collaborate with?

My dream is to collaborate with Henning Wagenbreth and Nobrow Press.

Do you ever suffer from creative block? What is your cure?

It happens occasionally. I usually have wrong and confused ideas. In these cases, I think that the cure is just a good cup of coffee.

Finally, where do you see yourself in five years?

I don’t like speaking about the future. In the last few years,  a lot of things happened that i didn’t expect. I’d like to learn French,  to live in Paris and to collaborate with a lot of magazines. The news-stands and  the libraries are a  kind of paradise for me. |


Posted on Nov 7th, 14 by

Greg McIndoe - also known as Headless Greg - is an illustrator and design writer based in Glasgow, Scotland. He regularly writes for design magazines and online platforms, interviewing fellow illustrators and leading creatives.

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