cultura, disegni, interviste

Draw the beauty (interview to Gabriele Pennacchioli)


It’s been a while since I’ve missed here, so I’m glad to be back again with a new post. Try to figure my face, when one of my favourite illustrator and animator says yes to my interview. It’s big pleasure for me to ask something about the adorable panda Po or about his sensual and strong woman.

1) If you look back, to the guy who moved his first steps in the comic world, what did you feel you have lost and what do you feel achieved?
– Getting into the world of animation has allowed me to learn a lot from a technical and human level. It’s not always easy to work in a big team. You make mistakes and you learn from them. Following my passion for animation took me away from Italy. There were sacrifices. But looking back I think I’ve made the right decisions. Now I started directing animation films, a new career that I can’t predict where it will take me but that I feel ready to undertake.
2) I smiled a lot, bitterly, in reading some of the comments on your latest illustrations. How did you react to those who defined “unhealthy” the women you designed?
– I am a little bit scared about all this aversion, almost hate for curvy women. I recently posted on Instagram a picture of a couple who separated. The man has a “normal” body and the woman is curvy. The post itself got many likes but the comments quickly degenerated. I can not stand intolerance and at some point I started to erase them and unfortunately I had to erase many.

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3) In one of my favorite Stephen King’s book one character, Ben Mears, thinks that any social media comments about art is idiotic. Don’t you think that we should just go with a “like” or “don’t like” type of approach without explaining the reasons?
– I agree. But sometimes I like to read the comments. I got messages from curvy women that thanked me because my drawings helped them to feel better with themselves. I’m proud of this. Knowing that what I do has a meaning for some people is a wonderful feeling.
4) The female figure has priority in your work. How is a Pennacchioli woman created?
I love the human figure. I love to observe it, I love studying it. I’m also an anatomy enthusiastic. I have taught Human Anatomy at Dreamworks for several years. Regarding my creative process. Sometimes I have a definite situation in mind, I explore it with sketches and then step on the computer. Sometimes, however, I start from a pose that intrigues me and later on I build a situation around it.

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5) There is nude, so it seems like I want to moralize, rather I wonder how you are fighting the censorship of social networks.
Social network censorship is a limitation. But the advantage of limitations is that it stretches your imagination. Sometimes I find solutions that, thanks to these limitations, add elements that make the illustrations more interesting either from the point of view of the meaning and from the aesthetic.
6) There are couples, beautiful couples, close and distant at the same time. What did you think while drawing them?
My drawings are not autobiographical but are inspired somehow from my experiences. There are certain feelings, emotions and sensations that intrigue me. And I feel the need to illustrate them.

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7) Animation is part of your artistic journey. What do you feel when you see your own creations on the screen?
It’s a fantastic feeling. There is a lot of work behind the creation of an animated character and many people need to be credited for the final result. As an animator my task is to give life to the characters. Sometimes the characters are set by other artists and sometimes I have the chance to develop the characters. It is a team effort lead by the Director and his vision for the film.
8) You’re the one behind the animation of Po, the character so loved by adults and children, kung fu aside. Did it turn out as you hoped?
My experience on Kung Fu Panda was one of the best I’ve ever had at Dreamworks. I right away loved the story and its characters. My contribution, as an animator, was mainly on Po. During the animation development stage I gave some manierism to the character that then remained in the movie. I love Po, I think it is one of the most successful animation characters.
9) What would you like to illustrate or animate in the future?
Women and couples are what intrigue me at the moment. I feel that there is a lot to be developed with these themes and my wish is to continue with them so that people can feel involved and maybe feel some emotions too.

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