His dreamy and romantic imagery takes us to a parallel reality, where intensely lived passions are celebrated in their marvelous fragility. Read the interview to learn more about the world of Pietro Tenuta.

Pietro, looking at your melancholic and dreamy illustrations we feel like we know you a little bit already, but we'd like you to tell us about yourself.

Who am I? I'm a 26-year-old man with an immoderate propensity for beautiful things and all the forms with which beauty chooses to reveal itself before our eyes. I'm a graphic designer and I've found the right compromise to be able to express myself at best as an illustrator. I have a very introverted personality, and I'd say that I'm like a Diesel car: I need to take my time. Sometimes I struggle to live in the present, because my head goes back and forth and I think illustrating helps me slow it down and live in the present, a present marked by pencil lines and delicate shades.

Pietro Tenuta

His dreamy and romantic imagery takes us to a parallel reality, where intensely lived passions are celebrated in their marvelous fragility. Read the interview to learn more about the world of Pietro Tenuta.

Pietro, looking at your melancholic and dreamy illustrations we feel like we know you a little bit already, but we'd like you to tell us about yourself.

Who am I? I'm a 26-year-old man with an immoderate propensity for beautiful things and all the forms with which beauty chooses to reveal itself before our eyes. I'm a graphic designer and I've found the right compromise to be able to express myself at best as an illustrator. I have a very introverted personality, and I'd say that I'm like a Diesel car: I need to take my time. Sometimes I struggle to live in the present, because my head goes back and forth and I think illustrating helps me slow it down and live in the present, a present marked by pencil lines and delicate shades.

Pietro Tenuta

Sometimes, talking about a problem is really the first step and, through an illustration, I can move forward, even if not always.

We're curious to learn more about your path towards the many forms of art you love to explore. When was your passion for drawing born? And when for writing?

More than a passion for drawing, I'd say that I’m passionate about creating: I've always had a strong propensity to create and communicate my feelings in my own way, even without opening my mouth. I've been drawing since I was a child like everyone else, but it was only when I started attending high school that I realised I wanted to be a creative. The school I attended was chosen by many for its ease, but I saw something more in it, something for myself. Illustration arrived in 2015 for me, I was hand-drawing in black and white at the time and founding it so liberating, only then I realised there was still so much to learn. As for writing, I suddenly felt the need to express my thoughts even more and, with writing, I was able to expand the scope of my work. My first book will come out next year and it combines my illustrations with texts I wrote for them, I'm really excited about this project.

While observing the works you post on your Instagram page, I focused on your name: @maniacodamore (in English, love maniac). It's evocative and representative not only of your art but also of your personality: would you tell me about your decision for this name?

In 2017, I decided to create the account and I knew that I needed to find a name that was fully reflective of me. On that occasion, a photo I took a year earlier came to my aid. It was taken in San Salvario, an area of Turin known for its nightlife. Staggering through the rivers of alcohol, I leaned on a door and my sight fell on a yellow-lit doorbell reading: “maniaci d’amore” (in English, love maniacs). I didn't understand what it was at the time, a house or something else, but a year later I found myself looking for the picture of that bell, and when you adore all forms of love in a maniacal way, you can't help but be a love maniac.

Turin is your city. “Beautiful, deep and enigmatic” as artist Giorgio De Chirico used to call it. Tell us about the relationship you have with it and how you'd define Turin.

Thank you very much for this question. In recent years, I've developed a visceral love for my city. I don't know what it’s about but I'm madly in love with Turin. Poetic, romantic, historical: these are just some of the words that come to my mind when thinking of it, as well as enigmatic (as if it still has something to say and show you, without ever revealing itself completely). If I had to define Turin, I'd say that it's a city made of romanticism.

One of the themes that you often address in your work is love. What does love mean to you?

I think this question can’t be answered by looking for the answer in your head or past memories. To answer this question one must not look at all, but feel with their heart and all the veins in their body. If you ask me what love is for me then I’d say: love is that one feeling that makes your heart skip a beat every time you see them.

You have so many tattoos that decorate your body and tell who you are. Which ones do you love most? Did you draw them yourself?

By now, you know I really don’t even know how many I have anymore (Laughs, E.D.). Last time I counted how many I have, it was nearly thirty, but I should recount them one of these days, as I always miss some! (Laughs, E.D.) I think one of the tattoos I feel most attached to is the anatomical heart blooming on my left arm, it expresses the concept that all things take time to blossom and, throughout my life, I've found myself there many times. Anyhow, generally speaking I have a very personal relationship with my tattoos, almost all of them have a special meaning for me, others I just like (I think a beautiful subject deserves as much as a more meaningful one to be worn on the skin). The designs are by my tattoo artist, Davide Monz, who always manages to represent my visions.

Let's talk about your inspirations: your illustrations show many recurring elements, such as organs, flowers and whales, that are now a part of your style. Do they have a symbolic value for you?

Over the years there’s been recurring elements. For me whales represent something big and heavy that can become light, and I see myself in this a lot, as I always try to lighten things when I can. Flowers are delicate, they express my passion for nature and their fragility makes them very similar to the human being, who needs to be cared for and looked after in order to bloom. In the end, organs are the representation of my interest in looking beyond appearances, a bit like peering into the soul of a person. Over time, I've realised that many of them lend themselves very well to the kind of message I want to get across.

Is what you draw inspired by real experiences and emotions, or is it a part of your own imaginary world of sensations?

Very often I’ll draw something that’s in my aesthetic taste. Other times, it's my heart asking me to express myself in my own way and this is the best for me. Illustrations come from my visions, my past experiences and the ones I’d like to live. They're like the representation of my soul, which suffers a little, loves and wants to be loved.

Did you have the opportunity to exhibit your works? If so, in what context? Where do you dream of seeing your works set one day?

In recent years I've come into contact with many artists and places where ideas are shared, I had the opportunity to display my works in a gallery for a collective exhibition of illustrations. I took part in numerous events, including Bologna’s Ateliersi for the 2019 and 2020 Renner Award. Finally, last year I had my first personal exhibition, thanks to RKH, a Turin’s production studio and more. It was really amazing, there were also live performances by some singers and musicians including Raige, Blu Virus and Yota Damore.

Let's talk a little about your style. In what garments do you feel most yourself? What elements are essential for a Maniaco d’Amore look?

I really like the world of fashion and clothing, I see it a bit as a language with which to express myself. My way of dressing is quite minimal: I don't have many items with graphics or writings, I tend to wear simple items but with colours and tints that are able to represent my mood on a given day. My look ranges from vintage to basic and even hipster, but generally speaking I look for pieces that make me feel comfortable when I leave the house.

What’re the five most personal objects you couldn’t do without?

If I think about the things I couldn’t live without, listening to music, taking photographs, having coffee and, finally, working on my desk, which has seen many of my ideas come to life, are the first things that come to mind.I need to create a relaxing atmosphere in order to be able to really work more efficiently.

One of the themes that we often find in your illustrations is loneliness, a feeling that we’ve often faced over the past months. Do your artistic expressions help you fight this feeling? Is your art an outlet for you?

Of course, my art, if it can be defined as such, helps me a lot to fight against the most harmful states of mind. Sometimes, talking about a problem is really the first step and, through an illustration, I can move forward, even if not always. Loneliness is a feeling that I feel very much, not because I don’t have people close to me in times of need, but because my romantic nature always carries it with me, the solution is to follow that feeling without fear in order to understand and control it.

What advice would you give to the digital creators of the future?

To the digital creators of the future, I'd like to say: create! Doing leads to creating, and there's no time to remain silent.

Sometimes, talking about a problem is really the first step and, through an illustration, I can move forward, even if not always.

To the digital creators of the future, I'd like to say: create! Doing leads to creating, and there's no time to remain silent.