Tell us about your logo for Asinello Press.
The main identity of Asinello Press has been design by Giovanni Pezzato, who is also the editor of the project. He asked me to come up with an idea for the ex libris or bookplate that was supposed to come together with the first issue of the publication. The ex libris was an element to connect this experimental publication with a long-established tradition. Then when they received my illustration, they liked it so much that they decided to use it as the official logo of the whole project. Asinello Press is a publishing platform based in Genoa, a city in the northwest of Italy. In Italian ‘asinello’ means ‘little donkey’. This was the idea behind the illustration: a simple logo-like drawing, a handmade donkey hoof stamping on the ground. The mark of a donkey referring to those semi-manual processes and obsolete technologies used in short-run print publications.
What do you find so powerful about charcoal as a material?
In 2013, the Vitra Design Museum contacted five design studios working in the Netherlands to collaborate with a Swiss partner to develop a design proposal for an exhibition called Confrontations. Formafantasma was one of them, and working in collaboration with a charcoal burner they developed a project called Charcoal. Collaborating with Formafantasma, I had the great opportunity to develop a collection of charcoal drawings as part of this project. They drew inspiration from the tension between the dystopian connotations of charcoal, causing pollution and destruction, and its beneficent use in healthcare and water treatment. Alongside the series of jars and charcoal filters they designed, I created twelve hand-made charcoal drawings portraying trees burning, polluted cities, fumes and black rain. The drawings were on display at the exhibition to highlight the misuse of charcoal throughout time.
Charcoal was both the medium and the topic of this series of illustrations. Instead of ink, each drawing was made using real charcoal from burnt wooden logs. Experimenting with it was particularly inspiring, and it led to results difficult that would have been difficult to reach with classic drawing charcoals. Used pure or grinded to a powder, the charcoal was mixed with various chemicals. I experimented with benzine, turpentine and ammonia, to get the best expressive and chromatic effect and to recreate the knotty texture of a burnt tree trunk.