For many of us fuzzy felt was a vital part of our first experimentation with creativity, crafting a neverending chain of scenarios with a range of fleecy shapes. Jacopo Rosati has taken the creative journey the other way round, starting off as a tech-savvy digital illustrator and forging a new path with a much more tactile medium.
Carefully plotting, cutting and arranging felt fabric, the Venetian-based artist makes comical scenes featuring bright pops of colour. We love him for all the nostalgic fuzzies he's unearthing, so we got in touch to have a little chat.
What is your name and how old are you?
I'm Jacopo Rosati and I'm 25 years old.
Where were you born and where do you live now?
I was born in Italy and live in the mainland of Venice.
How does where you grew up and where you live now affect your art?
Venice is a very inspiring city, it's like a parallel universe in which the arts is fairly encouraged. On the other hand, I think despite the fact that Venice has been the centre of printing in the past, the illustration world is looked down on compared to classical gallery art.
Please describe the space where you do most of your creation – whether it's your art studio or kitchen bench!
I work at home in my studio on a wide table, which allows me to handle and cut big pieces of felt fabric. For the photographic aspect, I have a couple of studio lamps and a tripod which I assemble when I need to snap the final picture.
What kind of mediums do you use? Why do you choose to use these mediums?
Until the last two years I was working exclusively on digital artworks. I was pretty sick of working everyday on just a computer display, so I started wondering how I could find another way to express myself with handmade artworks. I've chosen fuzzy felt because it's a medium that is rarely used within the world of illustration, and now I'm trying to develop a unique and consistent style with this technique.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using this medium?
Fuzzy felt allows me to create very unique artworks, but on the other hand I depend a lot on the fabric's availability. With time I've found several suppliers, although I'll never have the complete colour palette that digital art can offer.
Is there a running theme to the work you create, or do you just make whatever comes to mind?
Most of the time I work for editorial or advertising projects in which you have to convey a specific message. When I create a personal work I try to represent a pop world through classic stuff such as comics, movies and music, but I also like common life scenes.
Did you play with fuzzy felt as a child?
It sounds strange, but I've never played with fuzzy felt until now!
In what ways do you approach design differently when working with physical materials?
You have to consider the dimensions of each single element because with handmade crafts you've got to find a compromise between the artwork size and the level of detail. I definitely have some trouble cutting tiny details, so I need to develop the whole image starting from the smallest elements that I can actually cut with my scissors.
What kinds of ideas and things are you working on at the moment?
I'm working on some editorial projects right now.
Do you think people need to understand the artist's intention to appreciate the art?
I think that as an illustrator you have to put people in the right conditions to understand your artworks. Usually I prefer arts forms that are more explicit, rather than something cryptic and introspective.
What do you doodle when you are daydreaming?
Mostly abstract geometric shapes, architectures and typography.
What other budding artists do you love?
Umberto Mischi, who is a friend of mine, and Eiko Ojala from Estonia who uses an interesting technique.
What do you enjoy doing when not creating art?
I like to play guitar and seek inspiration from common day life, music and books. Plus, I work for a company called Maikii as designer of USB flash drives. We have created different series so far, including Star Wars, The Smurfs, Lupin the 3rd, The Simpsons, Hello Kitty and many others.
Where can we see more of your work?