Big World



“What I can say… I paint, draw, and make children’s books. “ – Fausto Gilberti

We continue our series about the creative world of talented artists from around the world by traveling to Italy and meeting award-winning artist Fausto Gilberti. Fausto has been part of more than 100 exhibitions around the world, and he is the author and illustrator of many books for children.

Fausto is also the talented creator behind this great series of contemporary artists’ biographies, including:

These books present modern art in a fun and approachable way for children and have been beautifully edited by Phaidon, considered the premier global publisher of the creative arts. With over 1.500 titles, Phaidon publishes innovative books on art, photography, design, architecture, fashion, food, and travel. Their illustrated books for children are a work of art for book lovers (The books were originally published by Corraini Edizioni.)

These three inspiring stories are a great introduction to the lives and works of these universal artists and a celebration of their individuality and self-expression: the rhythmic and unconventional approach of American painter Jackson Pollock, the obsessive and experimental art of Japanese painter Yayoi Kusama, the daring and unique artistry of French painter Yves Klein, and the controversial urban art of Bansky.

These books are also an open window to artistic freedom, encouraging children to think outside the box,  to be true to their ideas, and to dare to be different.  (On a more personal note, I love that Fausto reminds us of the risks of over-apologizing).

I am grateful that Fausto has taken the time to do this interview and share his artistic world with World Kids.

World Kids:  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Fausto Gilberti:  I was born in 1970. I live and work in Brescia, a small city in the north of Italy, close to the Garda Lake. I am married, and I have two kids, 13 and 14 years old.

When did you first realize you wanted to be an illustrator and writer?

I did not study or followed traditional courses to become an illustrator and writer. After my studies at the Fine Art Academy, I decided to concentrate only on painting and drawing, exhibiting my works in galleries and museums.

My first book was born out of chance. In 2010 I had just finished a series of 600 portraits of rock stars, which I wanted to show on a series of exhibitions. The publisher Corraini saw them and asked me to create a book with them. I liked the idea, so I chose around 200 drawings and organized them chronologically, in a sort of history of rock music. Then I wrote a text about the significant encounters and moments with rock music in my life to accompany them. It worked. The book was published the following year.

To see it and find it in bookstores was very exciting for me. I realized that books could reach a new public, different from the one that usually goes to galleries and art museums, so I immediately started to work on a new book, then another one… As of today, I published eleven books, but I still don’t consider myself an illustrator and a writer.

I am fascinated by your use of black and white in your illustrations. Why did you choose this monochromatic form of expression?

I started to paint and draw exclusively in black and white in 1999 because I wanted to reduce my sign to the bare minimum, to the essential.

What do you do when you are not drawing?

I read, listen to music, watch movies and tv series, both to entertain myself and also to find inspiration for my work. Sometimes I unplug entirely from everything, and I go in the mountains to walk, climb, ski, and run in the woods.

What are you working on now?  Can you tell us a little bit about your next project?

I’m in the final stages of a new book, which will be part of my series of contemporary artists’ biographies. It will be the story of the English writer Banksy.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring illustrators and authors?

Explore your passions and make them become obsessions. Be curious about everything that has to do with creativity because ideas can come from everywhere, not just from your usual creative realm. Read, draw, and write every single day.

What books are you currently reading?

I Cariolanti,” a novel by Sacha Naspini, an Italian writer. Amazing!

Are there any particular authors or books that influenced you growing up? Did you have a favorite book in your childhood?

Bruno Munari’s “Nella nebbia di Milano”.

Grazie Fausto!

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