Hailing from Milan, the Italian capital of design, Alessandro Paglia has always been fascinated by the sheer elegant simplicity of that most classic of colour combinations, black and white, whether it be in the fine-arts, design, fashion, film or photography. With an education and background in product design and over ten years of experience in that field, Alessandro says “Objects attract me, in particular their aesthetics, textures, materials and volumes. I feel inspired by the stories they tell, their personalities, the ingenuity of their creators, their hidden world. At some point I simply felt that I had to combine these two passions.” The result of this fusion are his exceptional artworks.
The use of pen, unlike pencil, allows Alessandro to achieve richer, vivid tones and vibrant textures within his compositions. He utilises intense inky blacks to amplify the interplay between the natural light and his chosen subject. The rough surface of the paper further accentuates this effect. The technique he employs is relatively simple yet quite laborious in its execution, Alessandro says.
“I draw the subject with the pen, many pens for each illustration actually, by superimposing layers of chaotic lines on top of one another, until I achieve the right nuances in even the smallest details“. He uses felt-tipped pens with intense fade-resistant water-proof black pigment with tips ranging from 0.1 to 0.8mm. The paper is extra white cold pressed 100% cotton at 640gsm.
His method is normally not as simple as just reproducing what is seen in life. Alessandro selects and studies his subject carefully, taking it to the studio he distorts it, enhances it, submerges it, imbues a solid surface with a liquid finish, he breaks it or rebuilds it by combining it with other objects. He then shoots dozens of photos attempting to find that elusive perfect image in terms of composition and contrast of light and shadow.
“I want to get a surprise, I want to twist and deform the object’s story“. Alessandro then further augments this image with his own hand as he meticulously reproduces his subject in black ink on rough grain paper. Each illustration can represent anywhere from 50 to 250 hours of work.
Alessandro’s subjects are often iconic pieces of design history or pop culture. Each of us will be familiar with his subjects and relate to them in our own personal and unique way stemming from our individual experience and memories. However in Alessandro’s work we’ll find these objects subverted and given new context and meaning.
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