Interview: Carlos Dattoli

Carlos Dattoli

Name: Carlos Dattoli

Where do you live: Cuernavaca, México.

Known for: Illustration.

When did you realize that you were going to work with this?
I always knew that I wanted to do this, but I didn’t know I could work with it until 3 years ago, when I was doing an illustration Master in Spain.

If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why?
That is a hard question because I would love to live in different places, for different reasons, but if I had to choose only one, at the current moment, I will say Paris, France, because for me it is the kind of city in which I will find inspiration at every corner, maybe because I’m such a daydreamer type of guy, and I find Paris to be very romantic and inspirational, like a dream city. I imagine myself walking through the streets every day or sitting on a bench at night next to the Seine river illuminated by the light of the Eiffel tower, to draw or write, I think it would be fantastic.

How would you describe your design?
I consider myself to be a very multifaceted artist, in terms of the subjects I choose. I’m always trying to paint new concepts, from science fiction to humor, or from philosophical illustrations, to commercial. I really like to paint very different things, I guess that is how I would describe it – you would never see me painting the same thing over and over.

How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner?
How? It was after I did an illustration that many people liked (Fat Heroes DC), that was shared all over the internet, and that gave me a lot of work.

When? I am relatively new on this whole “illustration scene”. I started working like two years ago, but then I stopped because I wanted to make a portfolio really representative of who I was, because my first portfolio wasn’t showing this. After I finished it, I returned working again.

What do you do at the moment?
At the moment I’m working on several projects, some for clients and some for myself, it’s a very busy season thankfully.

A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business?
Well, first of all you have to be sure of what you want to do, because you’re going to put so many hours into this, so you have to absolutely love it. Then you have to be sure you are on a professional level, speaking of skill levels, so you can take any project that could come to your door. Also it’s very important that you create something that represent you – it could be a different kind of style, an idea, or a big project you came up with, but it has to be different or good enough, so that you catch people’s attention. And so, when a client hires you, it’s because you will give him something that no other artist has.

And a golden rule is to be patient. At the beginning everything will look hard, but if you stay strong, eventually you will get where you want to be, no pain no gain.

Tell us how it all started.
This is a long answer, but I guess it all started with a kid who was more comfortable drawing imaginary worlds than playing sports or talking to other kids. Till this day I think I spend more time in my head that in the “real world”. That is how it all started, from the first paper drawing, to my first job, but of course it wasn’t a straight path. I studied graphic design, because at the moment I thought it was the safest option for me, and the most similar career to art. But of course at the end, I realized that it wasn’t. I finished that whole career, but as soon as I realized I could draw for a living, I quit the graphic design world. I bought a digital tablet and I fell in love with it.

What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you?
Any place where I can paint in peace, with not so many distractions, much light, nice ambient, and some space to stretch my legs once in a while.

What is your favorite film?
Cashback by Sean Ellis.

Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why?
Stephen Hawking! Why?… Oh boy! I have hundreds of questions that I would absolutely love to ask him. It would be awesome to have those long night talks about all kind of crazy ideas that not too many people like to talk about, like space, time, life itself, where it’s all going, infinity, stars, life on other planets, black holes, all of those ideas that float deep inside my head. I’m sure it would be totally wonderful.

How do you like to spoil yourself?
I love candy and junk food! So for me that is it! When it comes to spoil myself, watch a movie and eat a lot of junk food.

What is luxury for you?
Amm… I don’t know, dinner at a fancy restaurant maybe.

What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your design, and from whom?
It was from Mike Butkus, an incredible artist, who told me that he knew I will do very well in this career. Maybe he was just trying to be nice, but hearing this from an artist like himself was an extraordinary motivation to me.

What do you fear most?
Death, sounds dramatic but yeah, it’s true. I have had so much fear and respect for death since I was just a little child.

What is a happy life to you?
I imagine would be… living in a beautiful and calm city, where I could walk more than use the car. Surrounded by people I love, in a warm house where I can paint and write all the time, having accomplished some of my dream jobs and projects while working on new ones. Being healthy and travel a lot to some new amazing places on earth – that would be a happy life to me.

What does a regular day look like for you?
My life now is very much routine, so I will choose Wednesday, it’s one of the days that I do some things different. I wake up, do some exercises, I work on a client’s or personal projects, eat, go out with a friend to the movies or just talk, then I come back and continue working, write or read and then I sleep.

Tell us about your dream project.
Well, my dream project will be a novel that I’m currently writing, which is going to be both written and painted, in two separate books. I would love to see that come to life someday.

Who is your favorite designer?
I have many favorite illustrators, I couldn’t name one. I get inspired by a new artist every day, but I admire those who make things different, those who have their own voice.

How would you describe your style?
I have asked myself that question many times, I guess I’d describe it as a very detailed work, I’m so passionate for details and you can see it immediately in every work. It doesn’t matter if it is a project for children’s illustrations or for science fiction, I’ll always put so much attention to every detail in there. Another thing, is that I always try to put as much personality into a piece as I can. I don’t know if it works, but I always try to do it.

Which is the one thing you can’t live without?

What inspires you?
A lot of things, other artists, books, movies, life itself, experiences, music, childhood memories. Sometimes an idea just sticks to my mind and I cannot rest until I do it.

A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life?
There was a book that I read when I was little, called “Brother in the Land” by “Robert Swindells”, a post-apocalyptic novel that takes places after a nuclear war in a town in Britain, told by a child’s perspective, who went through all of this, and his loss of reality to become a survivor in an early age. It definitely made me feel a lot of things that I couldn’t find in other books, I don’t know if it was the fact that I read it when I was a child, or the fact that it’s a subject that I care about till this day.

Connect with Carlos on Facebook
Check out his profiles on Behance & Deviant Art

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  1. I find Mr. Dattoli’s work very provocative. It creates a magical world that scares and inspires at the same time. No doubt that this artist has talent and it’s maturing as a story teller very fast. I look forward to see more of his work.

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