Born of a seafaring captain with wild tales to tell, emerging from a home of art, books and love, Marco Brollo is a gentle man, romantic in vision and humourous in delivery. His work stands like himself, unusually without ego and steeped in an animistic imagination. He is master of magical beasts appearing for example where else might you see a miniature french bulldog as the angel Gabriel or a tasmanian devil perched upon his head looming? But don’t be fooled, the echoes of classical influences run deep in his veins and shadows through his images. It is our great pleasure to present today Marco Brollo, a delightful and eclectic artist, who seeks to enhance that which makes his heart smile.
PP. Where do you come from?
MB. I grew up in a very small village in the northeast part of Italy on the border with Slovenia and Austria, surrounded by green landscapes and woods. My father was the captain of a big commercial ship, so every year he would take me to some amazing places around the world. So even though I was living in a small village I was lucky enough to travel and experience some extraordinary cultures. This was the happiest period of my life.
PP. Perhaps that was also the reason why you are an extremely romantic guy with a vivid imagination. Is that true?
MB. I was born romantic. I still remember clearly falling in love for the very first time when I was only 4.
PP. Perhaps with a pirate from one of your trips?
MB. No, he was a boat mechanic, a real worker. Ever since then, these kind of guys are ones I fall in love with.
PP. Do you often fall in love?
MB. No. I get easily fascinated but not in love.
PP. There are some fabulous creatures featured in your work. Were you always interested in animals?
MB. I was always more interested in spiders, bugs and bees than playing with kids. When I was 3 years old I would draw these fantasy creatures and place them in scientific tables explaining where they live, what they eat, etc. So even though I would create these animals from my imagination they would have very realistic qualities. I was always fascinated by the science as well as art.
PP. Where do you find people you use in your work?
MB. I work with common people I meet daily through different situations. Usually those who can make my heart smile end up in my work. I love cute people, just like cute animals. For me a human is not much different from an animal, a part of a nature where I belong as well. We just have egos that animals don’t, and of course we speak, but that’s it. Everything else is instinct and survival.
PP. Where does your love for art comes from?
MB. It comes mainly from the books that we always had in our home. Also my sister is a librarian and I remember spending so much time mesmerised and astonished by images I came across in her library. My mum and sister preferred to send me there so I could stay out of trouble.
I learned a lot from paintings such as Caravaggio, Piero de la Francesca as well as unknown painters of the Middle Age, Ancient Egypt imagery… I have always been fascinated by shapes and forms depicted in religious paintings. In my work I use those today where I position people referring to Beato Angelico’s Annunciation or Bernini’s Ecstasy of St Teresa for example.
PP. Are you religious?
MB. I am religious but without a God. Gods demand rituals, obedience and restrictions, something I don’t believe in. My religion is about love, one without rules.
PP. Do you love your life?
MB. Life is not easy, and that perhaps counts for everyone. There are great moments in one’s life but also bad ones that we learn from.
PP. What excites you?
MB. Seeing a squirrel in the park or a smile on a stranger’s face, an old lady with a peculiar hairstyle, humour… I love humour, sarcastic one of course, one that comes certainly from my father. Being politically incorrect makes me excited.
PP. What do you mean by politically incorrect?
MB. By being politically incorrect one is able to say the truth, not pretend or say what other expect to hear. And this comes from modesty, which can help you to do the most amazing things imaginable.
PP. One of your biggest qualities is a complete absence of ego. While many artists are enslaved by their own self, you are not. And this is what makes you very special Marco.
MB. Nothing good comes out of ego. It can only make one’s life filled with misery and hell. It is attractive of course for many, like a light for a butterfly, but the light that can also burn the wings.
PP. What is your understanding of art?
MB. Art is the ability to get connected. Art is like chemistry in search of formulas that can improve ones knowledge and make us learn from successes as well as failures. True art should make you see deep into yourself, which could be scary yet necessary in one’s discovery.
PP. Could you imagine your life without art?
MB. Absolutely not!
PP. What is your biggest dream?
MB. I have many dreams and wishes that there is not enough time or space to mention it all here. Right now I want to cover my entire body with tattooed flowers and animals, not exotic ones, but the simple creatures, grass, field blooms and insects, those we see daily around us. I wish to become an old man covered with flowers.
Text: © Predrag Pajdic, 2011
Images: © Marco Brollo