“I didn’t choose to be a cartoonist. It just came natural to me when I first started drawing. The sense of humour and the satirical sketches have always belonged to my brain and to my pencil. Not only, but thanks to this style, my works can easily deal with serious matters without making the story tough and hard to read.”
Born in Trani, Puglia – south-east of Italy – 56, Giuseppe Sansone tells us the story of how he started drawing for passion, but later it has become his profession. He studied at the Art Institute Pino Pascali in Bari, regional capital of Puglia, and then he went to the Disney Academy in Milan, starting a collaboration as a sketcher in “Topolino” from 1999, and as a comic-book creator from 2003.
“The Disney characters that I like the most are for sure Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse. The first one is easier to draw, I feel I have a more direct contact with him since there’s a part of me that looks exactly like him; whereas Mickey is harder to draw, I have a love-hate relationship with him, but despite all he’s still one of my favourite.”
Some of his works deal with historical and social subjects, such as Il prode Lancicciotto (based on the adventures of Lancillotto/Gus Goose), Archimede Preistorico (Gyro Gearloose back in the prehistoric period), Padre Pio, San Nicola a Fumetti, Melo da Bari e il mantello delle stelle (entirely created by Sansone and based on the battles of the Byzantine period fought in Bari), and Gino e l’inquinamento biologico (related to the pollution).
“My favourite colours are the cool ones, such as blue – like the uniform of the Italian national football team – and forest green, but I like the orange as well. When I draw sketches about Gino, the character who represents the common man who is always in struggle against the difficulties of living in Italy during this period of crisis, I prefer using the black, the white and the grey, since it deals with a more serious theme.”
After having attended several Comic-on and workshops throughout Puglia (Bgeek – Bari, Festival del Nerd – Foggia, Bitonto Summer Comics – Bitonto, Monopoli a Fumetti – Monopoli) during 2016, he is now working on a graphic novel and a comic book that will probably come to life in 2017.
“As I said, satirical sketches allow you to deal with sensitive issues avoiding to result boring, and this is exactly the purpose of my new comic-surrealist graphic novel that hopefully will be released in June: it deals with the social theme of the immigration in Bari in a sensible and decent way and also with the poverty and the crisis that affects Italy in general.”
Having asked him to share something more about the plot, Sansone started to describe the beginning of the story and the inspiration he has had for it.
“The world shown is a twisted reality where a mad scientist creates plants that look like human beings, but that can’t speak. Suddenly they escape from the laboratory and go around all the city. I cannot tell you more otherwise I might ruin the surprise. I was inspired by two old films of the 50s, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, directed by Don Sigel, and The Thing from Another World, directed by Christian Nyby. The undisguised and sharp polemic against the helplessness of the government toward these problems, is damped by the funny figures of speech written in the typical vernacular of Bari.”
It seems to be a creative period for him since the story shown in the graphic novel well represents the reality of everyday life in Italy in this period and luckily its release will be a success.
“Yes, this is a profitable creative period, but I had to cope with the “artist’s block” several times. The only way to figure it out is sitting down, putting the blank sheets in front of you, holding the pencil and just starting to draw. My wife Mariella, with her patience and sweetness, has helped me many times to overcome blocks. It’s a tough job.”
About his hobbies, he declares he tends to draw anyway as it’s his passion, but sometimes he enjoys playing and watching football matches – he fiery supports Juventus – or he watches old sci-fi movies, such as Metropolis, directed by Fritz Lang.
“In order to become a good cartoonist nowadays an artist needs both discipline and creativity: a great idea is useless if the framework is not good. Personally I’m trying to recreate a certain elegance in the stretch, just as the master Giorgio Cavazzano, who I admire for his style both graphic and comic. He has recently influenced me with his clean and elegant stretch, while at the beginning I was inspired by Andrea Iacovitti and Giovan Battista Carpi.”
Talking about where he sees himself in 10 years, he reveals a very interesting family story that has recently happened to him and that shows his open-mindedness.
“I like to think that one day I’ll be moving to Ireland. This idea has come to my mind in recent times when 4 months ago my wife found out to have an Italian Irish step-brother, Michael. During the second World War Mariella’s father was imprisoned in Tobruk, Libya, and later he was taken by the English soldiers to work in a farm in England. There he met an Irish woman, and had a baby with her, but later he was freed and he came back to Italy, where he started a new life. Only last September we received some e-mails from Michael: he was looking for his Italian family and he finally joined us. He showed us lots of pictures of the beautiful Irish landscapes, with all that green and those characteristic castles. Maybe one day I will move there with my family and start a partnership with an Irish editor, who knows, it’s never too late for a change.”