Meet Nazario Graziano: An Illustrator and Collagist

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Dec 10, 2021 •  Interviews

Nazario Graziano is an Italian Illustrator, Art Director and Graphic Designer. He is known for his imaginative collages that are used by clients all over the world.

“… Even a good dose of “being a dreamer” doesn’t hurt.

Artwork by Nazario Graziano

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Can you please tell us a bit about your background?

My name is Nazario and I am an Italian illustrator. I live in the Marche hills, with my wife, my daughter Bianca and two cats.

My education is not “scholastic” in the classical sense of the term. I am self-taught. I have always had a passion for everything related to graphics, illustration, photography, design, and I enjoyed buying books (including school books) on this subject that I studied alone, privately.

My training was a direct experience in the field. I started working as a web designer in small agencies around 2000, then I always tried to improve myself, studying privately and becoming more and more passionate about branding, graphic design, and digital art… to the point of “becoming” a fully-fledged illustrator since 2006.

What inspired you to make art?

Probably, first of all, the music. I believe that without music I would not be able to live nor to work. On a “typical” day, I listen to music about 10 hours a day, from Jazz to Punk, from Ambient to New-Wave… basically anything. Sometimes even in bed before falling asleep and I always discover new things.

Music, like art, is infinite and full of stimuli and motivation.

Together with music, of course, I live on images … so all the visual language ​​and vintage photographic archives from the 40s to the 80s are a continuous inspiration for me, and I always try to incorporate them into my creative process … or unconsciously close them in some small box in my brain.

In addition to this, I love and “collect” tattoos (in particular traditional) and I like all the aesthetics, history, and culture behind this art technique.

I am also a lover of vinyl, lettering, skateboarding, and the 80s era (movies, music, imaginary).

Did you study at art school(s) or are you self-taught? What did you study? What were the “aha” moments? What did you find the most beneficial?

As I wrote in the previous answer, my training is not scholastic. What I know I learned in the field. While on the purely creative side, what comes out in my collages, I don’t really know, which part of my brain it comes from …

How I got to do this I don’t know… you should ask my psychotherapist 🙂 Seriously… I think it’s the result of a long and somewhat casual process, creative and professional.

Surely many artists and many movements have marked my artistic path, making one name rather than another is an understatement because any artist, painter, or art movement can open doors to creativity.

As a collagist, Dada certainly remains an important artistic current for me.

Artwork by Nazario Graziano

How did you develop your own art style? Where do you go for inspiration? How do you keep your creativity flowing?

My style, like that of many illustrators / collagists, has obviously changed over time, even if over the years some elements and language still exist.

If I look at my works over the years, I notice different characteristics that marked my works during that period, from the background color, the use of light or dark tones, the use of lettering, the subjects themselves, and much more.

I don’t know where a precise inspiration comes from but I realize, often even with great amazement, how above all with analog collage there are continual changes of style, technique, and languages even in relatively short times between them.

On the creative flow, fortunately, I have never had “blocks” of creativity, on the contrary sometimes unfortunately I realize that I always have little time to be able to express all the creativity.

How did you start making a living as an artist? What was your first paid art job?

Let’s just talk about my “illustrator” side … let’s say that I understood that a passion like digital collage could become a job when within ten days I received my first editorial job requests from two “not bad” clients 🙂  .. one was MTV the other was New York Magazine.

What do you live from as an artist now? What are your main income streams and what is the approximate % split of each?

I recently closed two important and long projects in the food & drink sector that I will shortly show on my portfolio and on my social networks. In the publishing field, my collaborations with international magazines continue.

What are you currently working on?

I have several projects going on. My exclusive Artvatars generative collection will be published shortly – a very cool project from the great collector @MantaNFT.

What do you think are the most important characteristics of an artist?

I believe that passion and curiosity are fundamental in building a profile. Exercise, perseverance, and experience then help over time to strengthen one’s artistic and professional figure. Even a good dose of “being a dreamer” doesn’t hurt.

Artwork by Nazario Graziano

What are the art tools and other products and services you can’t live without?

Photoshop, scissors, glue, paper, vintage magazine.

What are your favorite art and other books (fiction, non-fiction)?

I like a lot of books… it’s impossible to name just a few… I have also a 9-year-old daughter, and over the years we have bought many illustration books by international artists, many of which are truly wonderful.

What advice would you give yourself as a beginner artist? Or alternatively please include your favorite quote and the author.

As for advice, I am going back to some of the concepts already explained above, that is to always try to put a great passion into your work and to have a lot of curiosity by making the most of the potential and resources that a young person can find today on the internet.

In this regard, I like to quote a phrase that I often quote to the guys who follow my workshops and my lessons. It’s a phrase from Pablo Picasso … I hope the translation works well:

“You should never be afraid of trying new things. One of the ways to make life interesting is to constantly reinvent yourself. Try new colors, new techniques, and fashions, and then turn them into something unmistakably yours. “

Get in touch with Nazario

Thank you, Nazario, for joining us today!

All artworks by Nazario Graziano, used with permission.

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Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am an artist, illustrator, founder of Art Side of Life®, and Top Teacher on Skillshare. Since 2009 I've worked as an illustrator, character designer, art director, and branding specialist focusing on illustration, storytelling, concepts, and animation. I believe that we are all creative in infinite numbers of ways, so I've made it my mission to teach you everything I know and help either wake up or develop your creative genius. Learn more about me.