Marco Oggian has wanted to be illustrator since he was just a little kid. Describing his style as “simple, strong, a five-year-old could do better”, it seems that a lot of that energy has stayed with him. Although most small children don’t quite have Marco’s client base, there’s definitely more than a touch of the playful to the Italian illustrator’s colourful approach. But his simple shapes and bright colours are often deployed to highlight more serious issues, from the environment to the war in Syria.
Born in Italy but now based in La Coruña in Northern Spain (for his “lovely girlfriend and of course tapas and beer!”), Marco is largely self-taught, after being expelled from college pretty-early on. Ever the optimist, the young illustrator frames his departure from formal education as an opportunity for self-study and to gain life experience. “Since I had the chance to start working earlier than my peers, I have already done a lot of interesting things: travel, give talks, put on exhibitions and performances – all this is incredible,” he enthuses.
One of his biggest clients to date is Nike, for which Marco created a social campaign to coincide with the launch of its React technology, a flexible, shock-absorbing sole. Animating directly on top of smart phone-shot footage, the project involved – quite literally – putting a spring in the step of one Nike wearer. “We thought we could represent the new technology through elastic clouds with large springs that come out at every step, in space with rockets and stars,” explains Marco. “The idea is simple but it worked perfectly. Less is more, as always.”
One of Marco’s favourite recent projects was an illustration to accompany a poem about the siege of Aleppo for Italian publication Viva Magazine, which mixes his childlike surrealism with a more meaningful subject matter. “The illustration represents a crying baby while crocodile-shaped bombs and airplanes in the shape of a huge triangle destroy the city of Aleppo,” explains Marco. “This is a strong, sad illustration and it is right (unfortunately) that it should be so.”
Aside from learning how to translate his archive into grin-inducing gifs, Marco’s heading back to university in Spain and Lima, Peru, in the coming months – but this time as a tutor teaching expressive typography. As well as some big commissions he can’t yet reveal, he’s also planning on dedicating more of his life to his cooking. He says, “If you like my illustrations you should try my risotto!”