THE ITALIAN JOB (freehand) DettaglioThis guy knew exactly what he wanted, a no-frills subject without complicated meanings that would require an encyclopedia to understand them.
He wanted an Octopus on his shoulder, with its tentacles embracing his chest and part of his back, not an easy subject considering the camouflaging ability of this amazing animal.

For an embracing and extended work such as this I immediately dismissed the idea of working on a preliminary drawing on paper and decided to elaborate the octopus directly on his skin.
I never had the opportunity to draw this animal so I watched a couple of documentaries to prepare myself and of course I prepared a lot of reference images to understand how to make the best of this work.
This research work, besides making me understand how I could proceed and deepening my knowledge, made me fall in love with this peculiar animal, intelligent and definitely likeable in spite of the negative symbolic meanings attached to it, but as we know, human beings spent centuries demonizing everything they feared or simply didn’t understand.

ITALIAN JOB (sketch b)In spite of all the research done to draw it, separating the tentacles between the front and back of the body giving it the right fluidity and credibility wasn’t as easy as I thought.

In the second sitting I dedicated myself to the colouring of the head. The client and I agreed that the octopus had to be blue, but being an animal with the ability to camouflage I didn’t want it to be monochromatic so I decided to put different shades in the head, almost as if it were about to change its colours to match those of his host. Challenging but fun at the same time.
I would have liked to work more on it that day but human pain tolerance has its limits so we said goodbye looking forward to the next sitting.

In the third sitting I dedicated myself to the tentacles distributed on the chest, a sensitive area that allowed me to work for a small amount of time, while in the fourth sitting we were able to work for a little bit longer. Definitely not record times but the guy stood impassive until he reached his breaking point and only then would he ask me to stop, leaving me time to finish the part I was working on.

The last sitting was definitely more relaxing, in about 2:30 hours the work was completed.

As far as the title, initially I was thinking of calling it “Mafia” thinking it could be an ironic reference to a popular Italian TV series called La Piovra (meaning both octopus and moneygrubber in Italian), but I wasn’t sure everyone would understand the irony behind this so I went for the less “violent” Italian Job.

Choosing my favourite work for 2014 won’t be an easy task, but at the moment this one is definitely in the running.

Look at the images of the working process below.
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