Interview: Nazario Graziano


First the traditional introduction – can you tell us who are you, where are you coming from,
what are you doing?

My name is Nazario Graziano, i’m an italian illustrator. I also work as art director and graphic designer. I live with my family and 2 cats in the centre of Italy, in a country side, between sea and hills.

Your usage of elements, shapes and colors, your style in general is very approachable and recognisable, if you look back, how quickly you found your own style?

I can say that I started making collages since I was a child, at the age of 8-9. I cut-out the sports newspapers of my father and my mother’s fashion magazines. Then fast forwarding about 15 years when I started to manipulate images on a PC and doing my first digital compositions with an old computer. When I think back to that period makes me smile tenderly.

Basically the way I express myself through these compositions is in flux, nonstop and I do not think you will never stop. I like to experiment everyday and if i see today my work I made 6-7 years ago I find them very different and quite distant from what naturally comes to be expressed today. I think my style and my creative side changes every year …every day.

“While I was ”playing” someone started to send me emails to commission me for some works, and these first customers were MTV and New York Magazine.”

Personally I love the strong collage vibes in your works and how you’ve ”commercialised” it. When you started, did you start straight to way to do commercial stuff? If not, how easy it was to transit from artsy projects to commercial stuff?

Thank you.

I don’t know if what I do is considered as something artistic, that’s fine in commercial area or vice versa, something that is going well in the market and in publishing and who might find a place in the field of “pure” art as “exhibitions”.

Since I started, I never wondered whether it was a “commercial” or not. Everything I’ve always done has come out very naturally and spontaneous. Then, while I was ”playing” someone started to send me emails to commission me for some works, and these first customers were MTV and New York Magazine.

How your time divides between art/personal projects and commercial stuff? How much you can put you/your personal stuff into the commercial projects? If you compare a personal to commercial project, do you have to hold back with your ideas or do you go wild every time?

I would like to have more time for my personal projects but it isn’t easy when you work as an illustrator and a lot with the publishing industry that has always a tight deadlines.

About “creative / wild side” in commercial works, it depends very much on the customer and the project. There is no fixed rule. Often there are clients who ask very conceptual works where it’s nice and easier to work, and you have less and less restrictions cages. Sometimes however, in advertising, there are many more rigid rules.
The ideal customer, who I love, is the one who leaves you “freedom” to create with your “wild side”. It’s no accident if they are the jobs that have a better result.


When do you start to work a new work, how do you approach your subject? Tell us about your creative process?

I don’t use a standard process. First of all, if work is commissioned by a client the first thing I do is analyse the brief and try to understand what they would like. When I start a personal project, they are often influenced by something: music (overall), art, books, movies, art… life day by day. I believe that my work is very “sensitive”.

About my technical process, I like to mix digital elements with paper/physical elements. Sometimes I like to draw with pen and pencil, hand lettering in particular, scan it, then combine everything, the images, brushes, pictures and all.

How easy or hard is to finish your works? Do you ever get burnt out on a art work, and then what do you do to keep working and being productive?

I’m very instinctive. Sometimes some illustrations appear already completed and finished in my head before I start working on them, something like an electric shock on my mind.
Other times I work on an idea for a long time without success and eventually after a while abandoning the idea.
I have hard-disk full of initiates and never finished works. I could make a parallel project 🙂

What’s your favourite work? And why? What makes it stand out?

It’s hard to choose just one work, there are many that I love for different reasons. As I said before the best jobs are those where customer gives me more freedom.
About personal works my favourite is always the last one …because it’s the latest of my personal creative process.


What would be your dream project or client?

I spent much of my adolescence with skateboard under my feet. I started to get interested in the world of graphics admiring all those board graphics. So I’d like to make a series of boards for some company in the skateboard industry.

I am also a music lover and musician (guitarist for italian post-rock band: il rumore del fiore di carta) so another area where I like to work is music industry. Fortunately I’ve done some important works in this sector, but I’d like to do even more, maybe even for foreign bands, rock, indie, punk, electro, post-rock… and more. Work for bands like Mogwai, Radiohead, Tortoise, Blonde Redhead, Beach House, Bon Iver, etc. Those are some of my favourite bands, so that would be a beautiful dream.

You have already done so much during your career, showcased your works art in various art shows, founded the ANTI and RevolverLover, been featured and interviewed in magazines and art books just to name some things… So what’s next? What drives you forward?

I read this question and actually I realised that many years have passed by when I’ve done this work. It’s funny 🙂

I don’t know what will happen and what I can invent. Meanwhile, recently, I did something I have never done. I published my first personal mini-book (self-released) “TEMPO ROMANTICO“ with some personal works from recent years. And thinking about this, I’d like to publish a book with more collected personal works, a book valuable, rich in details.
Perhaps this was part of the previous question …about the dream project 🙂

If you should describe your art with one word, what would it be?

I think: Romantic.

Nazario Graziano around the internet: