Back in January, when I first saw these bright, obsessive patterns I was, well…mesmerized.
While they are more intricate and graphic than the black ball-point mazes etched into the back of high school notebooks or the graffiti tags crafted in a young artist’s blackbook, Flavio’s digitally developed pieces remind me of similarly self-contained and doodled worlds.
After more than a decade in the world of typography and graphic design, Flavio Melchiorre (aka Idro51) continues to win recognition for his uniquely abstract style. Entering Flavio’s visual world is a little bit like stumbling into the familiar, but puzzling set of someone else’s dream. Perhaps this feeling explains why one of Flavio’s ideal projects would be an oversized exhibit at the Tate Modern that would allow visitors to literally get lost in the work.
The bright-colored mirrored patterns, often combined with surreally juxtaposed everyday objects (see the chicken-hummingbird-iphone-gas mask combination below), have earned Flavio the distinction of being the only Italian in Taschen’s Illustration Now 3 and won him first place in the worldwide Citroën Creative awards.
You might assume that this international success has led Flavio to a flat in London, a loft in New York or a studio in Paris, but the truth is that this award-winning designer of an iphone case, a skateboard, sneakers and a car continues to live in Citta’ Sant’Angelo (population 15,000) just outside of Pescara.
Your style is called “hypnotic art” and is referred to as psychedelic. Do you prefer one term to the other? How would you define your style?
I think “Hypnotic Art” is the exact definition; anyway, psychedelism, surrealism, action painting and abstract and pop art are all connected, like the individual ingredients in a cocktail!
Your work appears as a separate, but parallel world. You’ve passed the doors of perception, fallen down a rabbit hole, lapsed into delirium, started dreaming or entered outer space…What transports you into a creative mindset? What’s your inspiration for this world of patterns?
My mind is like a sponge, all that I see, listen and read, stays in my mind waiting to be unearthed during the creative process. I like to create a visual harmony using many colors together, each element develops into something more complex. Patterns give me a sense of balance. My artworks are an expression of my madness, in a good way! Although my patterns may seem to be abstract nonsense, they are actually an expression of my thoughts, my dreams, my fears. I don’t know if people can see them.
You have contacts and clients around the world, but really you’re based in a city of about 15,000 people. Are there any challenges or advantages to working out of such a small town as a successful international freelancer?
Well, this is an interesting question. My environment has a great impact on my work. I live in a zone of Italy called “Abruzzo” known as the “Green heart of Europe.” My home is 10 minutes away from the sea and 30 minutes from the mountains, a place full of the colours of nature. These surroundings are perfect for making art – I’m talking about relaxation and a good quality of life, but at the same time there are many sides that don’t facilitate an artist’s work. For example, there are few art galleries and there are few customers with big budgets. But I don’t think this is a problem today: now, with a simple click, I can travel and meet people and find opportunities all around the world.
When you won the Citroën Creative awards you went to an awards ceremony on the Champs Élyseés. How was that?
It was a fantastic experience to see my art on the amazing DS3 exhibited in C42 (Citroen palace) in Paris. The prototype was ready in October 2010, but it entered the market with a color variation only two weeks ago!
You’ve been doing a lot of product design and seem to have many projects in the works. If you didn’t have to think about time, money, or clients what project would you most like to pursue?
I’d love to create an haute couture collection.
Which are you more likely to use as your form of transportation, the Melchiorre Citroen or the Melchiorre skateboard?
Citroen in Paris and Skateboard in Los Angeles