Lorenzo Mattotti was born in Brescia on 24 january and is an italian comics and graphical artist aswell as an illustrator.
His illustrations have been published in magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Vogue, The New Yorker, Le Monde and Vanity Fair. In comics, Mattotti won an Eisner Award in 2003 for his Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde graphic novel.
He studied architecture when he was young, but did not finish the course. Instead he became a comics artist. After a few traditional comic stories he decided he wanted to tell different kinds of stories and portray these in a different style.
Il Signor Spartaco was the first comic made under this ambition. The story centred around the dreams of a train passenger making it possible for Mattotti to use forms and colors in a way previously unseen in the classic French-Belgian comic world. He focused more on the inner world of his characters en the total absence of an adventure was also a radical change in the comics universe.
Mattotti is mainly inspired by painters, musicians, writers and directors. To him, the relation between text and image should be the same as with text and music. The two should enrich each other. Unusually, in Mattotti's comics the text illustrates the illustration instead of the other way around. He always makes sure the text has enough freedom for multiple interpretations.
- Interview with Lorenzo Mattoti
- Who are the creators who have influenced you, and who led you to comics?
In this period there was... you know, it was a time when comics were beginning to get away a little from the industrial model. On the one hand there were all the classic adventure comics, and on the other, all the undergrounds.
So, there was Robert Crumb and all the other Americans who gave you the idea of being able to tell your own stories and experiences. It was a little like starting a rock band — you know, it’s like that.
And then there was the great pleasure of reading professional comics. I remember copying from Uderzo, Dino Battaglia — and Breccia, who was like a towering landmark. There’s still a point of reference in his experimental exploration.
There were also the classics like Pratt. Very important too.
Another very important artist for me, especially as a theorist, was Renato Calligaro, who did — does — satire. In fact, with him and other artists, there was the idea of changing the visual elements within a story — telling about emotions through a change of colors, or with figures who change their form according to the situation or emotions.
All that was in the ’70s, the end of the ’70s. It made me want to think a lot about those things.