s LAYERS OF SURREALITY - Swarm mag

LAYERS OF SURREALITY

“I get inspiration everywhere and all the time. Sometimes more, sometimes less.” Switzerland-based illustrator Luca Schenardi unearths the thought and creative processes in an exclusive interview for SWARM Mag.

Are you currently working on a new bigger project or exhibition?

I had been working on a big exhibition during Art Basel as I am nominated for the Swiss Design Award. First, it was postponed because of Covid but now it’s canceled altogether! Instead, I’ve been trying to develop new ideas for starting a book project. 

Were there starting points for choosing the themes and topics of your paintings and illustrations, which merge kitschy and surrealist aesthetic?

Actually, there is no “starting point”. It’s more of a development of a constant workflow (I’ve been working as an illustrator for 16 years now) and definitely a big interest in surrealism and psychedelic conditions, manifested though the language of dreams and fairytales. I love nature and its endless diversity and can’t stop being excited about a beautiful sunset.

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What is the main theme that connects your works and the techniques you work with?

I love depth. Crazy, weird, funny and spooky stuff. I am a political-thinking character with a high interest in actualities, newspapers, new media and the specific historical background of it all. Research is important, curiosity as well. Mostly, I start with photo-collages, modeling the figures, the scenery and the background. After that, I start with digital drawing (all illustrations are drawn digitally in full). The granular effect on the surface of my pictures arises from the raster of a bunch of diverse old laser printers I have in my studio.

Does your place of birth reflect in the works?

That’s an important point. I was born in a small town (around 20,000 inhabitants) surrounded by more or less wild nature, quite high mountains and filled with rednecks. I think that is visible in my work. We still have a mountain cabin where we (me and my girlfriend) spend around five weeks in a year. Silence gets more and more important for my work. In the last few years, I realized that I have to meditate and spend as much time in silent woods as I can. At the same time, I love big cities… maybe just a little bit less than wilderness.

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Is there an ecologic background to your work?

Yes. Definitely. We have to defend the resources of our planet and especially the diversity of species against the overexploitation by our shabby system. I am convinced that the constant increase of monetary value is a bad disease.

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Is the current political situation in your country reflected in your pieces?

Definitely, yes. But I also have to keep a kind of a distance and protect myself against negative influences because it’s not healthy to absorb them all the time. I also should reduce my consumption of media and newspapers sometimes.

You often criticize politics and social media in your works, is there a deeper, personal meaning?

Art is my „weapon“ and it helps me process all the influences that constantly beat down on us. I always prefer artists who really reflect the time and place where they live and those who are honest and give insights into their daily struggles.

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BIO / Since 2003, independent Illustrator Luca Schenardi has been developing a unique illustration style combined with a deep commitment to the themes he deals with in his commissions. He readily addresses challenging societal topics such as genetic manipulation, comfort binge watching, Süddeutsche Magazin or historical topics such as plague pandemics in Europe for the NZZ. Schenardi also works in the cultural field for magazines such as 041 or makes story illustrations. He’s also been involved in long-running projects such as the poster series for the Schauspielhaus Zürich where he worked closely with the directors and playwrights to fully grasp the essence of each play.

Over the years, Schenardi has developed a specific, hybrid-like technique for his illustrations. Combining digital and analogue approaches, he layers patterns resulting from printing with various laser printers to create an analogue texture for his digital drawings. His expressive style also reflects his interest in music and he often designs concert posters and album covers. Involved in international collaborations, he has designed sleeves for the electro/ambient label Patience and an exclusive T-shirt for the Australian psychedelic rock band Tame Impala.

Luca Schenardi is a regular illustrator for the WOZ and his illustrations have been published in the kinki magazine, Hochparterre, NEON, NZZ, Rolling Stone magazine, Strapazin, WWF magazine, DIE ZEIT, and Züritipp. He has published two books with Edition Patrick Frey: Meyer spricht von Gratiskaffee in 2017 and An Vogelhäusern mangelt es jedoch nicht, 2012, both designed by the former Hi studio.

For more artworks visit Luca’s website / www.lucaschenardi.ch

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Artworks / Luca Schenardi

Interview / Markéta Kosinová

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