Raphael Vicenzi is certainly an interesting man. His work is all over the place, focusing on the female form and abstraction. Check out his interview.
Are you from Brussels or did you move there?
I was born in Charleroi in 1972 but then I moved to Brussels when I was in my twenties. Brussels seemed more interesting coming from a small industrial town. It’s still a small city compared to many other capitals around the world.
How do you think you have matured artistically since you began illustrating? How has your personally maturation paralleled or diverged from you artistic maturation?
I think that I have more experience now on how to achieve a certain idea than when I started it all. I did not know what to do exactly so it was more about copying other artists than anything else. I am always striving to progress, but it’s in small increments, experimenting one thing than another until it becomes something that I am confortable with. I really started illustration by doing vectors but the themes I explore were already there. Then I was bored with vectors so I took back working with photoshop, just to do something else. My illustrations are influenced by who I am at that moment in time, so they’re a loose roadmap to how I matured in life, or not.
What is your goal through the use of color in your work?
Most often, it’s just my personal taste and I don’t think it’s a conscious goal. I am not using colour theory as much as I should. I think it’s always related to my unconscious moods, drifting from one state to the next but even if I want to convey a feeling through colours, it’s relatively simple. Sometimes it makes sense to use one colour or the other if I manage to keep the theme in my mind but I do like to break soft colours with bold ones fro example.
Is there a particular reason that you focus on feminine form in your art?
I thought I had an answer to this one but no. I don’t really know. It’s just seem more natural for me to use a feminine figure than anything else. Without it, I’m always thinking that something is missing.
What was it like to collaborate with Nathalie Odette? How did each of your styles compliment? Who proposed the collaboration?
I really enjoyed it, it opened up a new way for me to work on pictures in a collage style. She contacted me first, then I contacted her again to do another serie because I was inspired by her pictures. Our styles fit perfectly as we both like fashion pictures.
What is important for a successful collaboration?
Trusting the other person that you’re working with. Something new will emerge from the re-mixing of different influences.
What was the avenue you went through to get featured in Advanced Photoshop? Tell us about that experience.
They contacted me directly. It’s just that by self-promoting myself without thinking about getting in one publication or another it fianlly comes your way.
It’s nothing special but I am really happy that they thought my works were interesting enough to be featured.
What is a major lesson you have learned from being featured in different publications?
That I should keep doing what I do despite self-doubts and mistakes. Aim to make what you’d like to see and the rest will follow.
Which of the pieces that you have made for clients has been the most rewarding? Why?
It’s hard to answer because I try to adapt myself to the client but without losing too much of what I usually do. I enjoyed working for Write now in a serie of illustrations for a notebook and for a website background for Sociality squared. They were challenging enough and at the same time they trusted me to be creative within the constrains imposed.
Have you had a really poor experience with a client? What made it so sub par? How did you respond?
Yes. One experience was really difficult but I can’t blame the client. Sometimes the expectations of the clients are not in synch with what I am able to do and it becomes impossible to find a common ground. When a client is too directive it becomes difficult for me to let go and be inspired as much as I could. I wanted to give it up but I finished the work to the best of my abilities despite that none of us were happy of the end results.
Who are some of the artists that you consider your influences? How has their work affected you?
I trace back my influences to Carson, THS, Eduardo Recife, Banksy, Vault49, Klimt, Muscha…but there are many others. I think they influenced me in the way that I borrowed little parts of their work to make it something more personal but it took years. I keep looking out for new influences to incorporate into my works. I am certainly unaware a lot of other unseen influences through my life who have shaped my tastes.
What are your working on now? What are your goals for 2012?
More commissions and personal works. I am dabbling in collages works as well. I’d like to be part of an exhibition.