Artist of the week: Nicola Napoli

If you’re living in Berlin, Nicola Napoli’s work shouldn’t been something new to you. His graphic work is often seen for club promotions or commercials. His second flyer for Berghain – Panorama bar was out not so long ago. We’ve been trying to get the interview done for quite some times now, but being both busy it wasn’t such an easy thing to manage. All things come to those who wait, we’ve finally managed to sit down and chat.

KALTBLUT: So we finally managed to catch up … We’ve been really busy lately, are you being submerged by too much work request?

Nicola: Kind of! I’m working full time on a big-scale project that mixes my work of illustrator with my educational background in Architecture. It’s being quite tough since I’m dealing with many aspects of the project at the same time, but on the other hand I find this experience very challenging from a creative point of view.

KALTBLUT: Wow this sounds really interesting. Can we know a bit more about this specific project? So you mention the fact that your educational background was Architecture, how did you to make your way to illustration after that?

Nicola: I’m curating the design for the interiors of a residential building in Berlin. This is the third time I work with spaces (after designing a laundry shop in Spain and art directing an event hosted by Absolut Vodka in Berlin last year) and I have to say I really enjoy this kind of projects. I consider physical space and deep backgrounds as very important aspects of my illustrations, contrariwise is also very interesting to develop a ‘flat’ illustrations in a real ambient.

About my educational background, yes I have a master degree in Project Design. I chose to study Architecture since I found it more complete and challenging than many other art-related careers. But once I finished my studies I instinctively came back to my deepest vocation, Illustration. It’s hard to explain the reasons of this choice – let’s just say it’s something I couldn’t have avoided. I began to draw when I was three years old and I kept doing it every day since then. It’s a sorta of need for me. So if I worked as an architect now I’d probably be more coherent with my choices but also less happy with myself.

KALTBLUT: So it then all make sense then, why working on this project is so satisfying for you: it mixes what you love the most: Architecture and Illustration. Talking about your Illustrations, your style is very unique and easily reckonable now – which is a good thing. It seems like Berlin nightlife is very inspiring to you. ..

Nicola: Yeah from an artistic point of view I would say that each one’s inspirational process starts from the concrete things that surround and attract us most. Berlin nightlife is indeed a very powerful visual element, it’s at the same time wild, sexy, bizarre, hardcore, poetic, funny, dramatic, playful. People see these parties as a temporary escape from every day’s grayness. It reminds me a bit Roger Rabbit’s Toontown, do you remember that movie? A grotesque cartoon world on the other side of a road tunnel in L.A.

KALTBLUT: Who framed Roger Rabbit?! Of course I remember it, Judge Doom was so scary! What’s your vision of parties? Do you see it as an escape from your daily life?

Nicola: Of course I enjoy partying a lot (we are still in Berlin after all!) but in my case I wouldn’t consider it as a breakaway. On the contrary, my daily life is somehow connected to the party world since I provide quite often designs to clubs, djs and musicians. So let’s say that rather than an escape, parties probably ARE my real life! –

KALTBLUT: I think that, specially in Berlin, parties are really more like a lifestyle than the usual breakaway thing. Maybe it also has to do with the fact that the queer scene is more establish here, and somehow, being queer in Berlin, you don’t have to hide so you do not need this breakaway…

Nicola: Yea I totally agree with your point of view, I think this is also the reason why Berlin attracts so many artists from all around the world. Here people can experiment and be themselves without feeling judged, diversity is always appreciated and in many cases rewarded. I experienced this sense of freedom myself, it’s not a case that I developed my personal style straight after moving here.

KALTBLUT: Do you mean that you find yourself artistically here?

Nicola: For sure here I understood I wanted to be an illustrator (as I mentioned I studied Architecture and first moved to Berlin for a study exchange). I dunno if the city made me take this choice cos there are many other factors involved, but indeed Berlin helped me a lot to trust in my choices and go ahead on a path (Illustration) in which it’s generally quite hard to stand out.

KALTBLUT: Your last works included an other flyer for Berghain, commercial works, what are you working on right now?

Nicola: I’m working on a new series of illustrations focusing on …. {suspense!}
Plus I would like to go on with the Tarot series of the flyer soon, time permitting.

KALTBLUT: Sounds great.. When are we gonna be able to see it?

Nicola: Hopefully as soon as possible! Not sure yet about the right period but for sure something will come out in the first months of 2017.



Instagram: @nicolanapoli_