A whirling series of images spins towards me, like the slots of a digitally-charged photo carousel shot out of an artist’s imagination.
Launching the images is Domenico Tedone, graduate of Italy’s Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) and former resident of LA, a city where he lived and breathed the energy that exists in “a humongous receptacle of all kind of artists.”
While the stated purpose of his stay in LA was to improve his English, Domenico freely admits that “as you see, studying English wasn’t the real purpose of this trip …eheh.” From the portfolio it is clear that what he did develop was his visual language.
I pull up one design in the wheel … CLICK! … and I slide through my interview with Domenico image by image.
Lines that curve into flowers. For someone who spends most of his day on the computer, where does the inspiration for this refreshingly “natural” work come from?
When I was between 5 and 10 years old I used to spend a lot of time with my Grandmother Stella. She loved nature and we used to go to collect some spring water. In order to get to the spring we had to walk across a steep path in the middle of a little grove (it’s not there anymore). It was like we were in a painting brought to life surrounded by many kinds of plants, flowers, ripe fruits. I was young and curious, and I believe I absorbed all that visual beauty through my eyes. I’m pretty sure this experience led me to my passion for design and also influenced the illustrations that are in my “flowery” type of style.
Cinema icon Sofia Lauren emerges from the dark, leaning seductively into the shadows. What influence did LA have on Domenico?
I found LA to be a very stimulating city in terms of general creativity. I remember that during the first part of my stay, I felt like there was some sort of “electricity” and energy in the air – it’s a beautiful sensation. Plus I met a lot of eclectic people (including Ganzo’s CVO, eheh, Ciao Vladi) who helped me diversify my point of view on a lot of things, including my design style. And I’m telling you this as a person who is as stubborn as a mule and who rarely changes his views, so you can understand how important those experiences were for me.
The glossy red curves of a letter. How does Domenico’s personal vision translate into concrete images?
I find it pretty hard to answer to these questions, since it’s all really about the flowing of the creative juices inside you, how you feel that particular day and if something makes you angry, happy, nostalgic, extraordinarily full of life. I believe the best work comes from a mixture of all life’s ups and downs.
My inspiration may come from the memory of something brought about by a certain song, from the genuine facial expression of a three-year-old kid or from the scented trail of a woman’s fragrance. It really comes from everything.
I often design in my mind: outdoor, shortly before I fall asleep, sitting on the sand facing the ocean… later on I organize digitally. I like to digitally design in a quiet environment, alone, or sometimes I may prefer some background music.
CLICK. The final image
An eye drips with inky tears into the word “YOU” as though talking directly to the viewer. How does Domenico know when a piece is complete?
My design is finished when I raise a smile while looking at it.