Mixing his passion for literature, psychology, and philosophy with the clean style of his designs, Italian illustrator Elia Colombo gives us many reasons to think. In his work, where bittersweet humor meets irony, and intense color joins pure composition, we can see reflections of today’s life. We recently asked Elia a few questions about his career, inspiration, and other passions. Continue reading and get to know the artist behind the work.
I read on your website that you were a pizza boy in the past. How did you become a full-time freelance artist?
Yes, it’s true. I was a broke student with a pizza boy employment when I started experimenting with vectors. The decision to undertake the freelance path came after graduating in design and working in a studio for over a year. I had no clients and literally no idea what to do. But I hated so much (and still proudly hate) the idea of not mastering the time of my life that I basically had to quit my job and get independent. That is how I did it: by only escaping what, in my opinion, was a horrible life.
What made you start creating such thought-provoking works?
It’s never a choice. It’s more of a necessity. I’m firmly convinced no one can rule the flow of thoughts, as well as no one can rule the passage of time. Those ideas came to me, and I simply turned them into artworks.
You take your inspiration from today’s society and technology. What is the message of your art?
Although contradictions of today’s society represent an important source of inspiration, they don’t represent the whole. I mean, I don’t spend my days bumping my head against social issues wall. They’re just a side interest of mine. My main inspiration comes from philosophy, psychology, anthropology, physics, and literature. Today’s society is just a poor, little thing compared to those topics. Indeed, the real message of my art stands beyond the social commentary surface: I aim to raise individuals’ awareness. We’re forced to believe there’s no alternative to the so-called “system,” and this is a huge lie. Life is way bigger than that: there’s always an alternative.
Which of your illustrations is the most important to you and why?
My most important BC (before covid) illustration is “Breaking the rule.” The reason is pretty simple: it sums up my entire view, and it has defined my artistic direction so far.
You are very consistent when it comes to your work style. How did you develop it?
I honestly don’t know. I don’t think a personal style is something we can control, and I have no idea how it can be developed. I found this style comfortable at first, over 10 years ago, and I have never stopped implementing it ever since. Now I can’t imagine a different way to depict my concepts.
What do you consider the most exciting in the art world right now?
The most exciting in the art world right now is the NFT revolution. No doubt about it.
You started selling your NFTs. What are your thoughts about it?
NFTs are the future of digital art. This year, something magical happened to me, which brought together the pieces of my life: I found a place in the NFT space. It fixed many issues I, as an artist, used to face. For example, the problem of being underpaid or not paid at all, or the frustration to see my art running around without people knowing nothing about me as the creative mind behind that. I can say that 6 months in the NFT space gave me more than 10 years in the art field. And it’s just the beginning.
Are there any artists that you look up to?
I always take a look around in the art field. The ones I mostly look at are Malika Favre, Steve Cutts, Timber, Mr Bingo, Joan Cornellà, Markus Magnusson, and David Sossella.
How do you imagine the future of art and design?
The future is always unpredictable. Nonetheless, I imagine a future in which people get more used and more sensitive to visual art and visual communication. I think there’s still room for art and design to make the world a cooler place, at least.
What do you consider your biggest challenges in being an artist?
I think my biggest challenge in being an artist is to get the proper recognition. It’s hard and constant work that requires a lot of energy and passion.
What is your biggest success so far?
Hard question. Maybe having become a professor in a well-known digital art school.
Apart from creating art, what do you like doing the most?
Reading, walking around and relaxing. I’m a simple person.