Y: Tell us a little about yourself and your work, your artistic style and chosen medium, anything about your art that you feel is important.
C: Good morning! First of all, let me introduce myself: my name is Crimson, I live in the suburbs of Turin and I am 26 years old. At the moment I mainly draw digitally!
During my high school years I dwelt on the traditional, as the height of technology at the time was Intuos Manga graphics tablets. Once I finished high school, I experienced firsthand the feeling of love at first sight, discovering the existence of Cintiq tablets and the performance of the iPad. As a result, my focus shifted to digital art and I "abandoned" the traditional; I must say I am very sorry to have lost it. For a long school period I had also been able to study painting and sculpture, and they were subjects I was passionate about, but the idea of a possible future professional situation pushed me toward different media: if I had continued to study traditional arts, I would have found it difficult to find a job with solid enough income to support myself. Within my small town there is a very strong pottery culture, which means that if I had focused on the art of pottery I would definitely have found employment, but I think it would have been rather limiting to stay there.
Regarding my artistic style, I can tell you that it started from the idea of "I want to become a mangaka" when I was 12 years old; as I grew up, my interest changed and I was able to refine my style. In fact, in the past two years, I developed my style towards "semi-realistic" fantasy, and deepened the aesthetic taste that characterizes what I create. I take a lot of inspiration from the ethereal figures of ancient artworks and I must admit that I often find myself losing hours just to draw the precise lace I have in mind.
At the moment I mainly draw on Procreate when it comes to commissions for individuals that I can manage to do in a week or two, while for more substantial projects I prefer to use Photoshop.
As a personal hobby, in my spare time I enjoy writing. At the moment I hope to be able to publish two novels that I have been pursuing for a few years, I have even thought about designing my own covers! It's a project I care a lot about, I even have two tattoos about it.
One of them is a historical novel set in the 1800s in France, I have to admit that the research part was quite satisfying, although quite complex. The story is a mix of topical elements, but set in an ancient era: the protagonist is a boy with great difficulties in accepting himself, being born in a very poor village and having an androgynous beauty he has always been the object of ridicule - The protagonist achieves, in essence, a level of aesthetic neutrality that was not even remotely thought possible at the time. From this idyllic introduction we later descend into the actual "drama" and a series of nefarious events; there is quite explicit violence exerted on the protagonist, the subject of sexuality is deeply analyzed. I do not deny that it is a raw book; I did not want to hold back in describing the ignorance of the people in the villages and the frivolity of the nobles. I was very much inspired by the Innocent comic strip, both in terms of writing and aesthetics and drawing.
Y: What is the art scene like in the area where you live, or where you come from?
A: The small town I come from, Castellamonte, is characterized by a very strong ceramics culture. As a result, there is a deep respect for the figure of the potter who is in charge of shaping clay to produce handmade plates, stoves and objects. It can now be said that the colors chosen, such as the yellow, blue and red of untreated clay, are the distinctive symbols of the village. The high school I attended even had a major dedicated to ceramics! (I, however, enrolled in the graphic design department).
As for the view of art, I can say that it is, understandably, viewed very well; rather everyone expects young people to become potters, and not artists of other kinds. Even the elders of the village invite young people to pursue artistic paths!
The situation changed a lot when I went to Turin, with the intention of enrolling in university. I felt like I was facing a wall: the art present in the city was completely different from what I was used to. I saw how everything articulate and baroque is left exclusively to architecture, the rest is much more simple and straightforward - in essence, contemporary art fits perfectly with the city's aesthetic taste. Faced with this situation, I made some wrong choices, I won't deny it. For years I distorted my art hoping to find a job in the future that would pay me a salary suitable for a decent life, but I was actually just destroying my dreams. I decided, therefore, to take specialized courses for the kind of art I was genuinelyinterested in: illustration and publishing. I wanted, and still want, venture into the world of art and writing at the same time.
As for the family situation, I must say that my parents have always supported and encouraged me without reservation. My mother, in the beginning, had pointed out to me about how it was quite a tough thing to understand, but not because the profession was not good enough, but because entering the working world would be much more complex.
Y: What prompted you to enter the world of digital art? How did you start your artistic journey? Tell us about your course of study. Did you study anything specifically related to art or did your interest stem from something else?
C: I have always drawn, ever since I was little; my mother still has drawings from when I was four years old. In addition, the secondary school I attended enticed students early on to pursue artistic educational paths, beacuse of the town's luster. When I entered high school, I actually wanted to study fashion and become a stylist - however, the famous "emo" phase that everyone goes through took over. I realized I didn't want to limit myself to creating clothes, I wanted to give a personality to what I was designing and be able to communicate something, bring something to life.
So I decided to enroll in graphic design so I could study how the digitization of the creative process works - from there on it all went uphill: I met people with similar interests and discovered the existence of the concept of original character; a whole world opened up to me. I started creating characters so I could tell stories about them, and I learned how to use a graphics tablet so I could draw them and reach other people.
Once out of high school I went to IED, the European Institute of Design in Turin, and I got to see design in its purest forms: automotive design, typography, physical installations and contemporary art - I quickly realized how none of that belonged to me. I attended for two years, then left the Institute and enrolled in the School of Comics. After two years within the latter, I was able to take other courses and masters dedicated more precisely to what I was interested in.
Digital, in my eyes, always had something more: more atmosphere, more life and more potential to deepen what I create. As of now, I would like to go back, or at least try to paint something traditional - but I don't have much free time.
Y: Art is a challenging, yet extremely satisfying field. What impact has it had on your life so far?
C: In my opinion, art is based on a precise concept: if you take a single individual and give him the ability to create art, this ability will always become a double-edged sword. I happen, at times, to define this obsession with art as a kind of woodworm in the brain-you possess it and it allows you to create something more than others, but one way or another it must always be satisfied, its hunger must be perpetually satiated. Personally, if I go a few days without drawing I begin to be consumed by guilt and my mind focuses on the usual phrases, "are you really not doing this?", "you already earn less than others, don't fuck around", "look you forget later" - at first it was an extremely heavy situation.
I have to say that I am a hard head, and I admit that I was never able to open up to a psychologist; I had to go on a path of personal healing in order to recover from that horrible situation.
As I grew up, I began to construct contrivances to trick my mind. If I didn't feel like drawing, I would push myself to do something lighter that would still make me productive and be less stressful-the problem is that this kind of routine doesn't work in the long run; it would send anyone into burnout.
That said, I am always happy when I create and when I share something that I came up with, and that is one of the most important aspects of being an artist. At the same time, however, I become hypercritical and I am never 100% satisfied. This thought, as stressful as it is, is what motivates me in always trying to improve, to do something new, to keep myself updated and experiment.
Y: Does your art allow you to support yourself financially? If not, is that a goal you have or not?
C: Yes, but I admit that it would be much more complex to support myself financially if I didn't have a family that supports me in critical moments, and is always willing to help me out in the artistic field as well (in procuring materials, for example).
I can support myself 70 percent of the time, but it depends a lot on the income from month to month, usually dictated by conventions and commissions. In order to get to a "normal" salary, I need to take 4/5 illustrations monthly, so it might happen that I can't meet the agreed upon timeframe - fortunately, my clients are always extremely understanding! They are truly saints, and I am eternally grateful.
I also do graphic design on the side, since I am technically a Graphic Designer first and an Illustrator second; in essence, I am involved in art under many different aspects.
Y: What platforms do you use to promote your work? Do you think they need to be fixed and improved in any way? Do you think a new platform concerning only digital art could be useful?
C: The platform I use the most is definitely Instagram, it's the one I have been using the longest and despite its bugs and reach problems, it's also the one that brings me the most visibility and clients. When I was in the School of Comics, a professor recommended that we create a Twitter account, so I signed up and tried to keep it active. Honestly, I struggle with interactions: fanart works very well, while original characters seem to attract little attention. Personally, I feel that both IG and Twitter need to be fixed - especially Instagram, so many users are losing their profiles, some get stolen while others disappear. The risk of serious scams is huge, even Paypal accounts are getting stolen through third-party sites.
I will be opening a Tiktok account shortly, although I won't deny that I am a bit scared of this platform. The average users are young teenagers, sothere's always the real possibility of getting pulled into "drama" - expressing any kind of opinion is quite risky, as it could be misunderstood or seen as controversial. Sometimes teenagers scare me.
Generally, many social networks tend to exist for pure entertainment and, as a result, are filled with accounts devoted to a wide variety of topics. It would be ideal if there was a social that divided profiles into different areas! Today's platforms could work better if they had a better breakdown, but it seems that organization is completely lacking - even Elon Musk doesn't know what he's doing.
Y: Have you ever had problems with copyright and its management?
A: This is quite a funny story.
Technically no, so far I have not had any problems concerning Copyright - as far as art is concerned. I did, however, happen to have photographs stolen from me - a French guy had decided that my face would be good for hooking up, so he promptly stole photos of me and used them on Facebook and Twitter, creating new accounts for himself to use to interact with the Internet world. I found out through some messages I received from third parties; what's more, he had even joined my Telegram channel.
When it comes to art, the most he did was to use one of my works as a Facebook cover.
Y: What is your opinion on NFTs and their impact on the digital art world? Are you in favour of Artificial Intelligences using your art to enrich their database?
C: First of all, I must confess my ignorance concerning the field of NFTs; I can say, however, that from what little I have understood my opinion is generally negative. I never had a chance to fully understand what this innovation consists of and what it is for, so I admit that my thinking is based more on the opinion of others than on personal experience. I imagine, however, that if many people are not enthusiastic about NFTs, there must be a reason.
As for AIs, my answer is definitely a no. I am completely unfavorable to using the works of others to create something of one's own; I consider it a serious disrespect to others, the effort, blood, and tears of those who have worked hard to learn. Right now, many adults believe that young artists are scared of AI because "it is stealing our jobs," but that is not the problem. The problem is represented by those who use AI incorrectly - it should be a supporting tool, not a replacement for a human's role.
It happens all too often that the average person commissions any kind of artistic visual work from an artist, thinking they are doing something right, only to be duped by self-styled "AI artists" who use this technology to generate the subject of the commission. Art has always been a luxury good; if one wants to pay for a book cover, one must budget to spend a minimum of 300 euros - and obviously, AI seems a viable substitute. The fact, however, is that the result will never be like something obtained by a human hand.
The situation is most serious. At the moment, the fame of these "AI artists" is putting in trouble even those who actually do have a similar artistic style to the artificially generated one, and they are therefore being pilloried by others in the industry, who now no longer trust them. Until generations evolve a bit, there will always be people who do not understand the seriousness of the situation, or who do not realize how recent developments affect the current art scene.
Y: What would you change about the current art scene if you could? What do you expect from the future of art?
A: I would definitely change the AI situation, and remove the excessive censorship applied nowadays; I think that regulating age groups could be a great start, so that the topics addressed in art and literature could always find the right target audience. It is time to stop blurring into extreme political correctness; this trend kills the artists' creativity.
In addition, I think it's time to freshen up the museums a bit and promote younger art. It's fine to admire the works of the Masters, but there is a need to have the opportunity to see something younger - perhaps by setting aside a room for young artists (young not meaning age, but years of practicing art).
If I am honest, from the future of art I expect very little. I expect the artist, the average user of art programs, to shake things up a bit. I'm not saying it's time for revolution, but I do expect more management by young people who actually know what they're doing.
Y: What do you think about the management of artist alleys at conventions nowadays? Are there any experiences you would like to share with us?
C: I think that, in most Italian conventions, the organization leaves most to be desired: it's clear how those "in power" have no interest in devoting space and time to emerging artists. They demand higher and higher prices, and then place booths in places where no one passes by - not to mention how much they devalue artists' applications when they realize that it is the first time they request to participate in a convention. Basically, I think little space and attention is given to artists, except in rare exceptions.
Alecomics, for example, was a really satisfying experience; I had a great time. For the first time, I got to see an artist area entirely dedicated only to the field; it was organized in such a way that you could meet new people, and I'm sure it made the audience realize how crucial it is to have sections dedicated to this aspect of creativity. It warms my heart when I see the Artist Alleys invaded by people who are genuinely interested, who maybe even build relationships with the artists and realize how much more the merch they create is worth rather than the all the same merch available on Aliexpress any day of the year.
Unfortunately, right now, many "big" conventions do not invest in artists because they bring in less revenue than Youtubers and Influencers.
Art is inherent in everything we see and consume, and I wish people would pause a little more to look around: all media, social, books, video games, are built by someone who used their creativity to create it.
Many thanks to Crimson for agreeing to the interview!
In case you are interested in her work, you can find her on Instagram as @destiny_rahl.
If you have any doubts or questions regarding Copyright management and the protection of your works, we remind you that the Rights Chain team is always at your disposal! We wish you a good day!