Whenever I see some great animation I find myself wondering how the designers learned the art of drawing like that. Mauro Carraro, in art Mapo Mapos, is the talented hand behind the success of Matatoro (with the collaboration of Raphael Calamote and Jeremy Pasquet) and since the beginning he knew he had a future in this field. Raised in a family full of artists, he attended art and visual design courses at school in Milan and Turin, then following a suggestion from a professor he turned to animation, an art that took him first to France and now to Switzerland where he continues to create work that is a celebration of originality!


Mauro Carraro aka Mapo Mapos

Mapo Mapos


How much of your experience is reflected in your artwork?

My drawings usually reflect what I really live, then I transform it in a little legend.  Anything can inspire me. For example, the last prize I won was for work that showed some concerts that took place at sunrise here on the lagoon in Genève; the link between city, water, sun and music inspired me so I created a storyboard that was highly appreciated!

Does your art take you beyond Europe?

I have contacts in the US, but I’m not interested in America since they have a different attitude to animation. I prefer a more documentary approach, a European style. The system is also different; in Europe movies are made thanks to cultural and state funding, while in America all the money is private, so it’s difficult for independent films to emerge. Also, all of my themes are linked to Europe. My drawings are based on what I see and live, like bullfights in southern France, my journey to Compostela… everything is related to my life. You still can make people dream with these themes, it doesn’t have to be something strictly fantastic, poetry has its share.


Mauro Carraro aka Mapo Mapos as a Matador

Mapo Mapos as a bullfighter


Do you prefer working on 2D or 3D projects?

“Matatoro” is a 3D hybrid. There are different types of 3D, for example the one used in Shrek is called “photorealistic 3D” meaning that it respects the way things happen in reality (light is real, skin becomes transparent with light in the back), or you can have “non photorealistic 3D”, meaning that you create characters from stylized drawings, like “Matatoro” which seems to be made with ink and watercolors, but is really 3D. I did a lot of research in this field, trying to reproduce my style of drawing, and it gained a lot of success. 3D is a bit annoying because you have to stay in front of a pc but then you really enjoy the final product; 2D gives you more little satisfactions like starting and finishing a drawing in the same day, while 3D goes through many steps before you can see a complete image. I’d also like to try set design for theater since it is quite similar to the creation of a cartoon that entirely begins in your head. I think about a cartoon as a theater scene and I even imagine how it would be to adapt one of my cartoons to theater.


What pictures/posters/photos are on your walls at home?

I have a blackboard where my girlfriend drew a house with some trees, although it’s actually supposed to be for my to-do-list! Then, a friend of mine gave me a seriograph that she made. Then an illustration from a talented artist from Paris. Then a little image from Matatoro! And books…


Mauro Carraro aka Mapo Mapos working on a animation

Mapo Mapos working on a drawing


Is there anything Italian that you need no matter where you’re living?

Here in Genève there’s a big Italian community so I have to admit that I usually hang out with Italian people more than I did  in France because there are a lot of international companies. Music! I’m very proud of that, from Neapolitan to rap. Then I’m always very informed as I read the news in La Repubblica. Of course coffee, that you can find everywhere, even if moka is quite irreplaceable!

Be sure to check out one of Mapo Mapos’ latest projects.  Enjoy!