Carlo Stanga: Dream Job

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday August 6, 2020

If there is an “Honorary New Yorker Pantheon,” I would like to nominate Carlo Stanga as a fellow. Starting back in 2008—or perhaps even before—this Italian, Berlin-based polymath has shown his passion for the metropolis I call home. He created subway posters for the MTA Arts & Design program that began to appear in 2009 and 2010—architecturally complex and layered images that celebrate the intricacies of a city that never sleeps.

A few years later, he began working on a series of books for Moleskin Books, a series titled “I am City”, starting with Milan. This was quickly followed by New York and London. Each one is an immersive journey through a city that speaks of its character, landmarks, history, and quirks through the voice of the artist. The project, says Carlo, “was my dream because I had the possibility to match together all of my main passions: travel, architecture, illustration, writing, history and maps.”

Stanga continues, “I think of cities as having hidden secrets, unique personalities and soul….I love the layered metropolis, steeped in history. I decided to illustrate this incredible human phenomenon— cities, which are the very center of human culture.”

As a student, he pursued Architecture at the Polytechnic of Milan, then turned to design and illustration. He worked with the great Bruno Munari, in whose atelier he developed his approach and style to visual storytelling. Carlo quickly realized that the built environment was his platform; in his work, “architecture—and cities—became the protagonists….Everything today is happening in cities: art, culture in general, science,” he says. “To understand the world today, you really have to [experience] cities. Cities now are more important than the nations they belong to.”

Yesterday I reached out to Carlo to ask if more cities will be revealed on his drawing table any time soon. From his vacation at the seashore, he emailed that he is currently in discussions with the publishers, Princeton Architectural Press and Moleskin, to determine which of the great cities will be next. Stay tuned to find out if it will be your hometown: Chicago, Paris, Berlin, Los Angeles, or Rome. For now, an updated version of “I am Milan” will be out in September. And you can join his virtual workshop at Rizzoli from last June here.

I am City [series] by Carlo Stanga can be found here and here. The books are a feast for the senses, printed in Italy on heavy-weight bright white matte paper that sets off the brilliant colors of the artwork--and gatefolds that reveal the city's complex layers of architectural and historical value. When “I am New York” is updated, I am hoping for a few more pages on Harlem.

As an editorial and advertising illustrator, Carlo works with major Italian magazines and newspapers and with international clients in Europe and in the U.S. His distinctive style continually wins Italian Illustration awards and the work has been selected by American Illustration [37, 38] and won the Gold Medal Award in Creative Quarterly’s #15 contest and Awards of Excellence from Communication Arts. In 2015 he wrote and illustrated  I am Milan, followed by I am London and  I am New York the first title of a new book collection, published by Moleskine, dedicated to the main cities of the world. Carlo lives and works in Berlin. His online course, Architectural Illustration: Capture a City’s Personality, has already found favor with over 3,000 students.


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