Interview with Artist Lorenzo Mariani

By Bradley Smith

 

The concept and expression for the new Darkthrone is quite a dark and apocalyptic vision.  What medium is it in?  Where did you get the concept for it?  What sort of ground rules did you receive from Darkthrone?  So far what sort of feedback have you received for it?

 

For the cover I used my classic medium: itís a drawing with pencil, stump and smooth white cardboard.

Of course the simplicity of material and the use of black and white are not casual at all. They fully reflect my idea of music and poetry in Darkthrone.

I cannot say the concept of the cover is ďapocalyptic.Ē  Itís not about the end of the world like in the Apocalypse.  I made a quotation of an artwork by Gustave DorŤ, an artist I really admire and whoís been used by many black metal bands like Emperor or Blodsrit and so on.

Nocturno Culto didnít give me any specific instruction, he asked me for something that could reflect my idea about Dakthrone, which has been summed up in the picture youíve seen.

Feedback has been really positive, and that makes me happy. If it wasnít I would have been happy the same, because I care about the opinion of Nocturno Culto and Fenriz. Youíll read some words about this in the CD inlay.

 

How did you get in contact with Darkthrone?  Did you have to convince them that you were the right man for the job or did they seek you out?  What do you think of Darkthroneís music? 

 

It all began a year and a half ago, when I was in contact with their webmaster, mastermind of Jernbyrde, to whom I made the logo. He was impressed by my drawings and I asked him to show them to Nocturno Culto who liked them really much.

Then I showed him some sketches and he suddenly liked the one that became the cover, so maybe I was the right man in the right place. Iím honored and proud to have worked with Darkthrone and I also hope to work with them in my future.

Since I have been listening to black metal, Darkthrone has always been my favorite band. I can almost say that there are black metal and then Darkthrone, two different things. Darkthrone is Darkthrone: the best.

 

What is your favorite medium to use for your artwork?  Do you have any favorite subjects?  I noticed that almost all the artwork on your website is centered around unusual portraits.

 

My favorite subjects, as you can see, are black metal musicians. Their way of combining looks and music has always fascinated me, I think itís amazing. So in my opinion the perfect expressive medium is black pencil on white background, just like face painting.

 

Your website has a great layout and is very nicely constructed.  Did you design it yourself or who did you have work on it with you?  How do you feel about the internet as a means to promote your artistic visions?

 

Thank you! I think itís quite a nice site, minimal and with impact, as I like them, though it lacks a bit from the html codes and the technical point of view. I think that the net is one of the greatest inventions of the last century, especially if you consider people like me who cannot let others know them in other ways.

 

 

How did you first get into black metal?  Do you have any bands in particular you would call your favorites?  What about the music style appeals to you?

 

I began listening to black metal when I was younger. Iíve been listening to black and extreme metal for many years. I repeat, my favorite band is Darkthrone and nobody else. Of course I love Emperor, Satyricon, Immortal, Marduk and other bands, sometimes unknown. I adore the musical aggression of black metal.  It has got a pathos that is not comparable to other musical styles. Instead I disagree with the ones who link this style to extremism and close mind. Black metal must have some influences, like every other kind of music, obviously with some limits.

 

It seems there is a lot of gothic and vampiric imagery in your art as well.  What about that imagery appeals to you? 

 

I have always liked Gothic art and vampires in literature, instead Iím not linked at all to that kind of low quality illustrations that use this cultural source, with really bad pictures that unfortunately many people like.

However right now Iím interested just in the relationship between art and music, I will go on this way, I feel it is 100% mine.

 

What are some of your personal philosophies and how do you represent that in your art?  Do you feel you share some of the same philosophical themes with the black metal musicians you use as subject matter?

 

My philosophy is quite complicated to explain and Iím not sure I understood all the things in my mind, Iím still ďexperimentingĒ. About the link between my work and black metal philosophy, it depends on what you mean, because Iím not interested in second-rate satanic themes, connected to teen concepts that donít belong to such a wide and deep subject. Luckily for many bands, and we know who they are, black metal doesnít mean just that kind of things.

 

Most of the subject matter in the artwork in your gallery is of people?  How do you feel about subjects like landscapes and still lives?  What about surrealism and abstract artistic visions?

 

I really like still lives, while I like less landscapes. However I love the whole art history, surrealism and abstractism, too, two great artistic movements indeed!

 

Have you had any formal schooling for art?  How much of what you have done would you say is a result of natural talent versus what you were taught? 

 

Yes, Iím still attending an art school and there are not many good things to tell. Art schools in Italy are mainly a tragedy.

And you also canít learn art at school, it is a gift of nature and if you donít have it you canít do much. You must be sensitive and talented.

 

 

Being from Italy how do you think that has influenced your choice of subject matter?  You have also done a couple of portraits of what appear to be Hindu women.  Have you ever traveled to this region?  Where would you say outside of Italy is your favorite place to visit? 

 

Being Italian obviously influenced me for my art knowledge. You know that Italy is really full of history and art.

Iíve never been to India but Iíd love to go there, as well as in the rest of the world because I love traveling and among the places  I want to visit as soon as I can thereís Scandinavia, Iíve never been there!

 

Are there any artists you admire and you feel that have influenced you?  What styles of art do you hate if there are any? 

 

I admire first of all Caravaggio among the ďclassicsĒ and Luciano Ventrone among contemporary artists, whom I have been lucky to meet. I donít despise any style, but I donít like some ďsolutionsĒ and the 99% of ridiculous figurative art of the contemporaries.

 

Are there any other bands you would like to work with in the future?  What are some of your favorite bands at the moment?  If you could pick one band/person as your favorite subject, which one would it be?

 

I would be really glad to work with Satyricon and other bands from Moonfog!

And about other bands who play other genresÖ Opeth! But also some great artists like Diamanda Galas or Bjork, why not!

In this period Iím listening to a lot of music, but my favourite bands are still the ones I mentioned before. My favourite subject is Kvitrafn from Gorgoroth , but heís not in the band anymore, so Abbath from Immortal.

 

 

Do you have any active interests or projects outside the field of art? 

 

Of course. Art is almost everything for me. Right now Iím just trying to enjoy my vacations.

 

I must say I am highly impressed with your talent and your expressiveness.  Good luck with your future endeavors.  Any last comments for the fans of and neophytes to your artwork?

 

I thank all the ones who appreciate or will appreciate in the future my works. It is important to see that someone understands my message.

For all the rest, visit my website www.lorenzomariani.it . A new version with many other artworks will soon be online. Thank you.