The amazing majority of Marco Mazzoni’s drawings are done in coloured pencils. He tried working with oil, but found it “impossible”, so he prefers to work with dry media. The result, however, is anything but. Instead of being dry, his themes are bursting with life. In them, Mazzoni brings together lore and nature in a manner most fruitful –and the fruit can be as much good, as they can be bad. In his drawings, Mazzoni deals with flora in a way that reminds one of Baudelaire, visualizing the same dangers that Baudelaire poeticizes. His artistic fauna can become no less intimidating. And yet there exists a duality that constantly challenges the impression of good and evil. It is a function shared with one of the artist’s favorite sources of inspiration, the janas, the mythical creatures in his country’s legends, or the similar brujas and the cogas, all of them creatures that maintained a close relation to nature and used it to either harm or cure others.
Mazzoni, who studied at Milan’s Brera Academy of Fine Arts, paints mostly women. They are surrounded by nature, though not in a decorative style per se. Instead, both his figures and the surrounding nature are seen struggling for dominance over one another. As faces are left incomplete, the fight can seemingly go either way –or it could just as well stay frozen in ambivalence. Sometimes, the faces are consumed by plants, butterflies and other elements. At other times, faces appear to emerge as one with their surroundings.
Referencing masters like Goya and others, his work enjoys an intricacy that points to significant talent, a talent that allows him to indulge his thematic preferences without denying himself the opportunity to evolve aesthetically. His more recent works, such as the illustrated book “Marta and her pawsome friend”, which at some points appears to evoke Maurice Sendak’s work and is funded through kickstarter, continue to embed different dimensions of nature and lore onto one another, though the overall style, still rich in subtext, becomes decidedly more inviting.