EK Interview: Daniele Manoli

Daniele Manoli was featured on EK last February for his animated alphabet project, which consists of short videos for each of the 26 letters. Though born in Sweden, Manoli now resides and works in Hong Kong. We thank him for taking the time to respond to our questions. Check out what he had to say!

Please introduce yourself.

I’m Daniele Manoli, I grew up in a Stockholm suburb where I used to sneak out and do graffiti at night. Realizing that being creative was my passion I eventually moved to London where I studied Fine Arts & I’m currently living and working in Hong Kong.

How are the themes of each letter related to each other, if at all?

When I made this project I always had the whole alphabet in mind. The way I imagined it when I first started was to make a DVD where instead of there being different chapters of a movie, every chapter would be a movie in itself. This way you wouldn’t necessarily have to sit through the whole thing but instead just watch one or two stories at a time.

art blog - daniele manoli interview - empty kingdom

What inspired you to make the type animated?

When I got started in the motion design industry I had no experience at all, I just learnt on the job. So the A-Z was my way of, through experimenting, learning how to tell stories combining moving images and sound.

How long did the whole process take starting from the conception of the idea?
About a year and a half, but it was all done in my spare time while working a full-time job where I was commuting 3-4 hours on a daily basis.

art blog - Daniele Manoli - empty kingdom

Could you choose a letter(s) and explain the individual, personal value it has to you?

The video I did for G was a story I’d wanted to shoot for years. It was like a thought that haunted me. I had done a series of paintings on photographs and I really wanted to recreate that with moving images but had no idea how to even go about doing that.
The concept kept mutating in my brain and it wasn’t until I had the idea for the A-Z series that I could really create it and get it out of my system (in a good way). It’s also a metaphor about the duality within every human & the effect it has on the world we live in.

How did you end up in Hong Kong and how does living there affect your mentality towards creating your work?

While in London I met someone very special whom I followed to Hong Kong, it was an emotional choice rather than a rational one. I came with a suitcase full of holiday clothes and haven’t left since.
Living here is like living in the total opposite of what I grew up with. I’m totally surprised by something new everyday and I always find new and interesting places, so even after 6 years I’m constantly inspired by my surroundings.

You’re self-taught. How would you vouch your ability if someone were to question it?

Fortunately in this line of business it’s the end result that matters, not how you managed to get there.

How did you get into art both informally and formally?

I was raised in a creative household with my father being a musician and mother a painter (they both moved on to other professions though).
They always encouraged creativity so I was always drawing and painting.
Eventually I moved on to graffiti and from there I went on to more traditional painting (acrylics on canvas).
I’ve always really enjoyed to experiment a lot with materials and techniques and what I do now is just a continuation of that, only from time to time I get paid for it.

How would you describe your attitude and work ethic?

It’s very difficult to find balance when your job is doing something you love doing. For me it’s really hard to stop working, both physically and mentally. So I try to follow a schedule where I at least eat and sleep at specific hours. It normally works out for a few weeks but when there’s a tight deadline it’s often too difficult to stick to it. Then the cycle repeats.

How did you come up with the clashing elements for you Elements project?
It was a conceptual & visual experiment with opposites I wanted to try out.

art blog - daniele manoli interview - empty kingdom

art blog - daniele manoli interview - empty kingdom

art blog - daniele manoli interview - empty kingdom

art blog - daniele manoli interview - empty kingdom

Who are some artists you’ve enjoyed working with or for in the past?

I’ve been working a lot with Phoebe Soup since I did my A-Z (she did all the props + costumes for Q) & continue to do so.
We’re currently working on a long-term project where we’re trying to get funding for future videos by selling unique pieces that are featured in the videos themselves.

If you could choose to collaborate with any band or musical artist, who would it be, why would you choose them, and what kind of work would you like to create with them?

There are so many great artists around that I’d love to work with so it’s impossible for me to narrow it down to a specific person or group or even genre but my goal has always been to create a new kind of experience & I think that the key will be combining various creative disciplines.

Fill in the blanks.

The mushroom made a petrified noise when it ironed a duck. After calming down, the car turned and was happy.

Anything new that you would like to mention you’re working on?

I just completed a music video for Mexican band ‘KINKY’ who were kind enough to fly over here to shoot with me, you can see it here:

I’ve also set up my own studio where I do my commercial work:
& I’ve started a photo diary with street snaps from HK: