2011 NVA Winner: Francesco Bongiorni
By the Print staff
“In my images, I seek to merge visual impact with the concept,” says Francesco Bongiorni. “I’m constantly looking for how to create the fusion between them.” To accomplish this, Bongiorni relies on his classic, understated style. “My former teacher and mentor, Alessandro Gottardo,” he explains, “taught me to concentrate always on the concept and to keep the illustration simple, direct, and immediate.” Though the illustrations may appear effortless, they actually demand that you do some of the work; look closely, and you’ll realize there’s more there. “I try to play with writtenand visual languages,” Bongiorni says. “I always try to find a connection between them in order to summarize the concept and the visual strength in one single image, and adapt it to a dramatic, ironic, or critical point of view.”
Samuel J & Samuel K, Williamstown Theatre Festival.
Bongiorni’s primary influence is a more primitive source: ancient engravings. Their ability to be simple yet descriptive and to provide instant visual translation is appealing to an artist who strives for instantaneous impact. He sees comic books as today’s equivalent, and his interest in them has become a major part of his own work. “I’ve always read a lot of comics and drawn them with my friends. It helps me to keep my hand and my brain in shape,” he says. Bongiorni’s take on the comic-book aesthetic culminated in his illustrations for The New York Times Magazine article, “The Great Cyberheist,” which discusses computer hackers and their influence on the web.
Bongiorni’s illustrations for this piece are monochromatic; the characters are reminiscent of those found in a comic book, framed by their rectangular cage. Bongiorni cites this work as his one of his favorites; the article allowed him to depict scenes involving the Secret Service and car tailing. “It was like a spy movie,” he explains, an apt metaphor for his own work where you’ll see that there’s always something more to decode.
I always try to find a connection between them in order to summarize the concept and the visual strength in one single image, and adapt it to a dramatic, ironic, or critical point of view.
The Past, lessons for China's new joint ventures, McKinsey Quarterly.
Click here to learn more about Francesco Bongiorni and to see more of his work.