The Q&A: Fabio Consoli

By Peggy Roalf   Monday May 21, 2018

Q: Originally from [where?] what are some of your favorite things about living and working in [your current locale]?

A: I live in a fishing village in Sicily, Italy. I recently left my studio in the city center to work from an old camper van. I have a few favorite spots near my home where I can park my camper van studio. (Think of it as a short commute to a natural office.) The difference from my studio setting is that every morning I have a different, beautiful view of the sea from my window. I think that I continue to live in Sicily because of its strong connection to unaltered nature.  It attracts me and I am sure that it has an influence on my work as well. 


Q: Do you keep a sketchbook? What is the balance between art you create on paper [or other analog medium] versus in the computer?

A: I draw a lot in my sketchbook. I have travelled around the world on my bicycle, always taking my sketchbook with me. It was a great way to discover the beauty of the world we live in.

Q: What is the most important item in your studio?

A: My guitar! Whenever I want to take a short break I play my guitar. By doing so I can rest my eyes and re-energize myself before returning to work.

Q: How do you know when the art is finished—or when to stop working on it?

A: I think knowing to not overwork a particular illustration is one of the most important aspects of any creative job. I think I could work for ages on one illustration, so I give myself a certain amount of time to spend on an assignment. The time allotted depends on the aspects of the project, as each project is different. I believe this time limit helps me focus and not overthink a project. It is like having a predefined goal in mind and working towards it. In this instance the goal is to finish the project in a specified time, and when the time is up, I’ve met the goal. In retrospect, perhaps for this reason, I enjoy working on projects with short deadlines. This way I don’t have to decide when to stop.


Q: What was your favorite book as a child? What is the best book you’ve recently read?

A: Around the World in Eighty Days. This book doesn’t need any explanation; for me it was the icon of adventure and travel. And the most recent one is Barbarian Days: A Surf Life by William Finnegan, which is about traveling and surfing. My love of traveling shows by the type of books I read.

Q: If you had to choose one medium to work in for an entire year, eliminating all others, what medium would you choose?

A: Acrylic colors forever! If I could choose, I would use only acrylics on canvas for all my illustrations, but I am not good enough to take the luxury to turn off the computer for the assignment, so I do this only on the weekend.

Q: What elements of daily life exert the most influence on your work practice?

A: Coffee, guitar and bicycle. Coffee helps to think more; guitar and bicycle help me to think less.

Q: What was the [Thunderbolt] painting or drawing or film or otherwise that most affected your approach to art? 

A: My parents told me that when I was 4 I had already said that I wanted to draw for living. At the time I had no idea about what to do, so at 14 I attend art school. I was more interested in comics than art. Dylan Dog was my first love, and my dream was to create a story and a world with my drawings. Later in my twenties, I discovered illustration, and I had the maturity to appreciate the great masters of paintings. Gauguin was, and still is, my favorite artist of all the time. 


Q: What was the strangest/most interesting assignment you've taken that has an important impact on your practice, and what changed through the process?

A: My most interesting assignment was an animated spot for Red Valentino. It was my first animation and it was great to see my illustrations moving and creating a little world. In the end the client decided to not publish it so I can’t show it to anyone, can you imagine? What you think is still your best creation can’t be seen by anyone.I learned to take it professionally and to think as a designer and not as an artist.

If I think as an artist I tend to think that my creations are part of myself, so if the art director makes corrections or refuses my proposals, it would feel like it is as a part of me that is refused. If I think as a designer, I accept the fact there are decisions that have nothing to do me personally. Art directors sometimes have a good idea of what the illustration should look like and have to make decisions on what is best for the entire project.

Q: What would be your last supper?

A: Seafood on the grill (I am from Sicily you know), white wine, mixed salad, oven potatoes, cheese cake, Malvasia (Sicilian Liquor) watermelon. Because it is my last supper and I don’t need to worry about gaining weight!!!.

Fabio Consoli

After studies at University of the Arts of London and School of Visual Arts of New York, Fabio has based his illustration studio in Acitrezza, a Sicilian fishing village at the foot of the Mount Etna volcano. Partial clients list includes: Red Valentino, Pentagram, Apple Japan, American Airlines, Seiko Watches, NPR. Recent honors include the American Illustration Annual, 3×3 Magazine and Jungle Awards. He teaches illustration at Abadir Academy of art.
Representation in US and Canada: Purple Rain Illustrators
Web site:
Instagram: @consolifabio


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