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There aren’t many young illustrators who, full of dreams, leave a small
village in the Marche region and arrive in Milan to work for major brands. Antonio Colomboni is one
of them. Born in 1983, he’s one of the Italians to keep an eye on. Born with a pen in his hands, he
tells TheCornerZine about himself.
‘Illustrator, since 1983’. I’d say that means your career has
been marked since the very first day.
Yes, I put this date in my Instagram bio, because my relatives always
say that when I was little, if I had a pen and white papers in my hands, I could spend hours
drawing silently. I think I was born with such a passion. It’s a talent, something that comes to me
naturally, something I can use to better express myself.
You also collaborate with Toilet Paper Magazine, one of the most
interesting projects of the Italian editorial scene. What’s your relationship with print and digital
media? Do you really think the end of paper has come?
My collaboration with Toilet Paper Magazine dates back to when the famous Kenzo
adv campaigns were released. Then, after a two year work break in Spain, I came back to work with them
again. I don’t think paper is living on borrowed time. Of course, in the last years, the digital world has
gained value and popularity. That said, new magazines are coming out. I think I’m nostalgic, I’m one of
those people who, in front of a book or magazine, smells the paper.
On Instagram, your nickname is ‘ScombinAnto’. Where does it come from?
‘ScombinAnto’ was an idea of my girlfriend. Like most artists, I’m really messy.
I just added the adjective ‘scombinato’ (‘messed up’) to the abbreviation of my name ‘Anto’ and I ended up
The artistic project you’re most attached to and proud of?
The projects I’m very attached to are the ones I realized in collaboration with
Toilet Paper Magazine. For example, the campaigns made for Kenzo, M.A.C. Cosmetics, Ok Cupid and Lavazza.
They’ve been wonderful experiences.
You recently took part in a ‘Made by Ikea’ project entitled ‘Modular
Portraits’. If you had to choose a past and present celebrity to represent and to spend 5 minutes with,
who would that celebrity be? And why?
I’ve been carrying out the project of the Modular Portraits for many years now.
It was born as an experimentation and it’s about creating abstract portraits made of small modules
(geometrical stamps, lines and calligraphy markers). In the last year with Ikea Italia, I’ve managed to
bring them to the general public and it’s been a wonderful experience. I really enjoyed seeing enthusiast
people queuing in front of my stand. If I had to choose a celebrity to portray, I’d pick David Hockney. I’m
a big fan of him and, for sure, I’d ask for a bunch of advice. As to the celebs of the past, I’d be very
undecided, I’d like to have the chance to pick at least 10! If I really had to choose one, I’d say Nina
Simone…she could delight me with her voice while I draw her portrait.
You’ve collaborated with several, important realities (such as The
Grammy’s, Converse and The Billboard Music Awards), but what project are you most proud of?
I’ve been fortunate enough to collaborate with some incredible brands over the
last few years and on some really amazing projects. The work I’m most proud of has to be a recent
collaboration with Dior to create a series of GIPHY stickers for their Resort 19 Collection. I used
elements from their reimagined ‘Toile de Jouy’ print and created the suite of stickers, which is now live
on Instagram Stories. Dior is a brand I’ve always looked to and admired, so to be able to work on something
like this was a total dream.
The last movie you saw? And your favourite?
Lately I’ve been watching more tv series than movies, I have to admit. The last
beautiful film I saw is ‘Dogman’ by Matteo Garrone. Among my absolute favourites, there’s ‘8 1/2’ by
Federico Fellini. I like all his movies, but I love this one in particular.
If you could only bring one colour to a desert island, what colour
would it be?
Only one colour? You make things difficult for me! I’d bring red, that’s for
sure. It’s my all-time favourite colour: the colour of blood, vitality and, of course, passion.
For many artists, traveling is a true source of inspiration. What’s the
travel that has enriched you the most?
I think traveling is one of those things that make you grow the most, and that’s
not only for artists but for everyone. By traveling, you can get in touch with different people, cultures,
stories and ways of living. Traveling is not only a source of inspiration but also a proper enrichment.
I’ve tried to grasp what I possibly could from all my travels. For sure, the most interesting ones have
been my travels to Africa, New York and Spain.
Speaking of cities, you’re based in Milan, but you come from Marotta, a
small village in the Marche region. What’s the place where you really feel at home?
Yes, I come from a small village by the sea in the Marche region: Marotta. At
first, I just wanted to escape, rolling the dice. Sometimes, the reality of a small village doesn’t allow
your dreams to come true. I kept being told I wouldn't be able to make a living out of my drawings, but I
felt like an opportunity was awaiting. I also had the belief that anyone can do whatever they want in life
and succeed in making it a job. Then, as time passed, I realized I owe many things to my hometown and I
ended up being proud of it, being in love with it. I don’t have just one place where I feel at home, as
I’ve lived and traveled all around Italy and Europe. Every time I go back to those places, I feel a bit
like at home. That said, Milan is the city where I’ve lived the most.
What’s a typical outfit of an illustrator? What’s a must-have of your
Just like what happens with illustration, also in the field of fashion I like to
play and do some research. Lately, I’ve been filling my wardrobe with hoodies of different colours – I find
them super comfortable. As to fashion, I really like to look back and mix the past with very modern pieces.
Are you into reading? What’s the book you love the most?
Yes, I like to read a lot. If I had more time, I’d read books from morning to
night. In particular, I like to read when I’m on public transportation. I still don’t know the reason why,
but they induce the reading. One of my favourite books is ‘A Fortune-Teller Told Me’ by Tiziano Terzani. I
love his way of describing the place he’s been to and the different cultures.
Which piece of advice would you give to a young illustrator who wants
to pursue your same career?
For sure, my advice would be to start experimenting, do and do forgetting about
what others are doing, even though it’s very hard to do it nowadays, with all the different social
platforms bombarding us. I often have creative blocks, especially because I’m not one of those people who
throw themselves into a project. I like to sketch first, study the project and think about it a thousand
times. That said, I give this advice: just try and follow your instincts, something beautiful will come
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself working, but in a place where the quality of life is higher than in
the city. The ideal place would be a hot one, where you can go surfing. Nowadays, with the internet,
everything is possible, who knows in 10 years!
Make a wish.
Aah…that’s it! I’m sorry, but I can’t share it with you. If you tell a wish, it
won’t come true.
Collarless wool blazer
Crew-neck cotton T-shirt
Prince checked chino trousers
Willenhall leather loafers
Cotton-piqué polo shirt
‘ This young Londoner is a graphic designer, art director and, most
importantly, one of the most ironic creatives of the Instagram era.
‘My body is my temple’. That’s one of the mantras of the Lithuanian
illustrator Egle Zvirblyte, who built her artistic career on important themes.
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