• 6

    Ugo Gattoni: Bicycle

Illustration

Terrifyingly detailed cycling publication by bicycle-fanatic Ugo Gattoni for NoBrow

Posted by Liv Siddall,

You may have come across images of renowned page-filler McBess drawing insanely complicated, and seemingly endless, monochrome scenes straight on to a wall. Well, if you were wondering who the smiley man drawing on the wall next to him was, it’s Ugo Gattoni – extraordinary artist and creator of jaw-dropping new publication for NoBrow. We chatted with Ugo about the making of Bicycle, his love for cycling, and his ping-pong style of collaboration with his good friend McBess.

When did NoBrow approach you to do this piece? How did it come about?

Firstly, I met Nobrow at the book club, where my friend Mcbess invited me for an exhibition in August 2011. Nobrow saw my illustration Highways at this occasion. I then showed them my huge drawing Ultra Copains, and a couple of months later, they contacted me about the book Bicycle with a very simple concept – the city of London, with a crowd of bikes, for the 2012 Olympics.

Since the summer of 2011, I came to London almost every month. The city inspired me a lot, the architecture, the open-mindedness of people, it’s a really cool city! Between that, I came in January to do a live-painting with my mate Mc Bess at the Hayward Gallery for Nobrow’s pop up store, it was my first collaboration with them! You can see the video here.

Are you a cyclist yourself?

Yes! I’m totally crazy about cycling! I’m the proud owner of a fixed gear that I built myself, and for me, London is a bicycle paradise. I didn’t want to illustrate the fashion and hipster aspect of bicycles (it’s already been seen too much) but I really wanted to put in bold all the aspects of the cyclists – elite athletes to cycle couriers, commuters, bankers, delivery boys, mums with kids, youths on stolen mountain bikes to fashionistas and hipsters on fixed gear bikes.
 

  • Bb4

    Ugo Gattoni: Bicycle

  • Bb

    Ugo Gattoni: Bicycle

  • 2

    Ugo Gattoni: Bicycle

When starting a picture, how do you decide where to begin?

The original of this drawing is a paper roll which measure five meters long, so I began, most simply, at the beginning of the roller!
I move forward one metre at a time, imagining as I go a composition of streets and elements. I then do a fast sketch of that, after I do the layout and then finish the shading! I spend around two weeks per metre, then I unwind the paper up to the following metre, etc, etc…

Your other similar drawings seem to have an element of destruction or apocalypse in them, could you tell us a little about that?

Destruction is not important for me, I used that in two or three of my drawings just because it’s a cool way to tell stories and interactions between characters. Also, for the graphism, I really like to decompose or to cut things, to play with materials like rock or smoke. It’s maybe an unconscious pretext.

You once covered a 33ft long wall in minuscule, black pen drawing. What is it about the trusty black pen that you love?

Yes, I’m keen on these pens, very pleasant to draw with, they slide on the paper and I can draw fast with a lot of precision. Of course for a drawing like that, I kill many fine black fine-liner pens! But I alternate with graphite or pencil, both of which I also hold dear to my heart. They allow me to use different levels of grey. For example my piece Sa Majeste.

  • 3

    Ugo Gattoni: Bicycle

What do you do if you make a mistake? Do you use Tippex?

Haha no, I never cheat! The trick is to draw a huge fresco or drawing with lots of little details. Thanks to the details surrounding the mistake, you can’t see it anymore as it is embedded. It’s such a clever technique, I should really patent it…

You work with the artist McBess, tell us a little about your system of working together.

Mcbess is a very close friend, we have some similar features in ours drawings. We draw in black and white, we often draw food and various jokes. A collaboration with him is like a game of ping pong – one of us draws something and the other completes it, etc, etc… No constraints, just pure fun!
 

  • 8

    Ugo Gattoni: Bicycle

  • 9

    Ugo Gattoni: Bicycle

Ls-300

Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our editors. She oversees itsnicethat.com and has a particular interest in illustration, photography and music videos. She is also a regular guest and sometime host on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Illustration View Archive

  1. List

    I came across Assa Ariyoshi’s work while perusing the latest issue of Mood Magazine where it brought alive a feature on the weird and wonderful world of Icelandic cuisine. I love the way how in this surreal dinner arty scene the shark looks like he’s drunkenly ranting at the puffin. We’ve all been on both sides of this I’d wager.

  2. List-176-holidays

    Jean-Jacques Sempé has something of a varied CV. Having been expelled from school, he went on to become a door-to-door tooth powder salesman, a soldier and a comic book artist, before going on to creating some rather iconic covers for The New Yorker and cartoons for Paris Match.

  3. New-list

    If our interview with Brown Cardigan as part of our feature on to digital publishing has taught us anything, it’s that you shouldn’t underestimate the power of a GIF. Introducing then Japanese illustrator Nimura Daisuke, who has perfected the art with some of the sweetest, rudest moving images we’ve ever seen. How could you not fall for a shot of a woman flashing at a grumpy man as he looks the other way, or an unfortunate schoolboy leaning over and having the full conents of his rucksack crashing to the floor?

  4. List-14592817705_06714ea8ff_k

    Kevin McNamee-Tweed by name, twee by nature, I’d assumed, casting an eye over these sweetly, naively sketched wee pictures of books. Then I read the titles. One contained the word “shart.” Another proclaims, “It’s Only Your Fault: How to Help Yourself”, while a more philosophical tome proffers the question “who is….BIRD HUMAN?”

  5. List

    Jean Jullien is many things. Artist. Illustrator. French. Recent emigre to New York. It’s Nice That favourite. So hot right now. He’s also the final artist to have a show at Kemistry Gallery’s current east London home before it closes its doors early next year (although as has been reported it has some excitingly ambitious plans).

  6. List-2

    A couple of weeks back a parcel containing the newest issue of The Pendulum made its way through our door, leading us haphazardly but happily to the website of its creator, Liana Jegers. Chicago-based artist Liana is an illustrator as well as a co-ordinator of printed imagery, and her Tumblr is full of snippets of sketches in progress which stand up admirably on their own.

  7. List

    Last week the third issue of Danielle Pender’s Riposte magazine was launched and after she and designer Shaz Madani set such a high bar with the first two issues, we were interested to see how they’d followed up their previous success. The early indications are very good. Although we haven’t seen a copy in the flesh we have had a sneak peek at some of the content and once again the title’s smart curatorial approach is very much in evidence.

  8. List

    German illustrator Nadine Redlich just keeps going from strength to strength, her catalogue of exuberant characters growing day by day. Though there’s no doubt at all that Nadine’s masterful at creating truly cheerful chappies, there’s a growing number of creatures in her portfolio who look like they’re ready to hibernate for winter, staring out at you blankly as though they wish they’d been left to sleep. Of course there’s also the belligerent mountain, the cherry at the end of its tether and that creepy fellow with the giant aubergine who I can’t help but find menacing, resulting in an altogether impressive cast of characters in a portfolio we can’t get enough of. If you want even more, Nadine’s got a comic out with Rotopol Press that you can get your hands on here. Now, back to enjoying that dog on the chair…

  9. List-tatiana-bruni_-the-drunkard_-costume-design-for-%e2%80%98the-bolt%e2%80%99_-1931_-courtesy-grad-and-st-petersburg-museum-of-theatre-and-music

    We’re no ballet aficionados, but we wouldn’t usually associate drunkards, typists and factory workers with the grace and poise of the discipline. However, as these beautiful gouache painting by Tatiana Bruni show, there’s much more to ballet than tutus and swan lake, with her angular figures, bold colours and sometimes grotesquely postured characters. The paintings show costume designs for Dmitri Shostakovich’s 1931 ballet The Bolt, and are going on show at London’s Gallery for Russian Arts and Design alongside a series of period photographs. The ballet itself was bold and striking in its use of real hammers, machine-inspired choreography, aerobics and acrobatics, and the costume images are equally as dynamic, inspired by “the aesthetics of agit-theatre and artist-designed propaganda posters”, according to the gallery. The sense of movement is palpable, whether in the graceful billowing dresses or the staggering legs of our brightly-coloured drunkard, working against the geometric rigidity of the style to beautiful effect.

  10. List

    Josh Cochran is one of those illustrators who, even though he’s been around for ages, still manages to keep his work endlessly fresh. His fantastically atmospheric, often surreal illustrations, keep going from strength to strength, building in textural complexity and narrative devices. Perhaps that’s the result of his nomadic lifestyle moving between Taiwan, Los Angeles and New York. Or perhaps he’s just got an endlessly inventive mind and creative spirit. Either way, he’s a talented dude.

  11. List

    A cute little one-eyed book reading a cute little two-eyed book greets us on the site of designer and illustrator Julia Boehme, offering an irresistible invitation to delve into her portfolio, which perhaps unsurprisingly, leans toward all things bookish. The wee anthropomorphised tomes also star alongside pretty girls reading books in some great work for Hungarian University of Fine Arts, for which she’s produced a small brochure explaining the four arts libraries in Budapest. Cuteness is very much the order of the day throughout her work, but she manages to stay just the right side of sickly. We love the simple, tongue-in-cheek Wes Anderson aesthetic of the Year Book project from 2011, which acts as another excuse for us to post some ludicrous, large-specs-based portrait photography.

  12. Main1

    Art and music go together like warm Yorkshire puddings and gravy, everyone knows that! But it’s even more delicious when the artist and musician love each other so much that they collaborate again, and again, and again. Such is the nature of Norwegian duo DJ Todd Terje and artist Bendik Kaltenborn. Bendik’s been cracking out spectacular designs, posters, comics and illustrations for years and has spent his time of late designing album artwork for the wonderful Todd. Now I’m not saying no one would listen to Todd’s music without such appealing album artwork (if you’ve ever seen him live, you get the feeling that a lot of people love his music a LOT) but with sleeve artwork as good as this, how can people not buy it? Here’s to two good friends who are making a living by feeding off each other’s talent (Todd recently made special songs to accompany Bendik’s book!) and long may they continue.

  13. List

    One of the best things about working here at It’s Nice That is when one of our colleagues tips us off to a creative superstar we hadn’t previously heard of. It was yesterday that our art director Jamie McIntyre casually dropped the name 44flavours into conversation and when I got round to checking out their work today it’s fair to say my flabber was ghasted.