Dario Maglionico’s paintings of young adults wearing Adidas trainers, working on Apple Macs and drinking glasses of red wine in their shared apartments don’t seem too far off from reality do they? Except they are. Despite the photographic accuracy of Dario’s skilfully crafted worlds, the inhabitants often appear multiple times, either blending into the furniture or sporting missing heads and invisible torsos.
Based in Milan, Dario is a self-taught artist, something that is hard to believe considering his impeccably intricate and realistic creations. “My inspiration comes from real life, when something strikes me I take a photo with my smartphone or sketch a possible composition on my book,” the Italian painter tells us. Dario’s painted scenes are rooted in his surroundings; from the colours of the external Apple hard drives to the creases in the characters’ clothes when they move, Dario expertly captures the details of everyday life.
Dario spends the majority of his time sketching and photographing his friends and family as they work, cook, relax or interact with one another. He then uses these notations as inspiration for his paintings. “I tend to choose the best ones and return to the scene to take more photos once I have a clearer idea of my preferred compositions. After I’ve collected all the pictures, I go to my studio and work on a photographic collage on my computer. It’s this digital composition I end up referencing on the canvas,” Dario says. The final outcome often looks nothing like his initial shots. Each step in Dario’s creative process carries the painter in a new direction, allowing him to inject his wonderfully weird imagination into the works of art.
Transparent limbs and see-through faces, Dario’s focus isn’t on the individual but rather on their social encounters and daily conversations. Our identity, he believes, is shaped through the people we surround ourselves with. “Everything passes but it all leaves its mark in this eternal present which is our identity. Our experiences, our perceptions of the world and anything else,” the artist says. His translucent characters can be understood as a bid to shift the emphasis onto the social domains that bring people together rather than the individuals themselves. “I started looking critically at the spaces around the subjects. I always work aspects that define our identity, like memory. Now I’m investigating the relationship between light and space but I don’t think about where this path will carry me.”