We are honored to bring you the exceptionally talented artist Filippo Fiumani creator of the Famous Karma Board art work. We sat down with Filippo to get the low down on his art and his love of life and surfing in his own words.
My name is Filippo Fiumani, but I normally sign my pieces with the name of MANI, which means hands in Italian. I came from Osimo, a small village on the east coast of Italy, I grow up in there, at 18 years old I traveled around the globe like a gipsy searching glassy barrels and new ways of living. Now, my studio is in Lisbon (Portugal) but I am planning to discover new lands and barrels very soon.
I have been working with many companies, including Slyde designing the Karma Board, which has been super interesting. I started skating back on 1999 thanks to my older brother and his friends, then I got into surfing, snowboarding and motorcycles, I love to ride everything I can. For this reason, I am trying to build up my style close to these sports, which define me as a person and as a designer/artist.
I hope that with the time I will be able to work with companies that are involved with those sports. I really would like to work with Toy Machine, because was my first skateboard brand and because Ed Templeton is probably the skater and artist that influenced me most when I was younger.
It´s hard to talk about it, working as a designer and artist, isn´t easy, you need a lot of discipline, focus and motivation. Many people think that doing what I am doing is easy, but I can tell you it is not. You are constantly researching, on your style, on techniques on understanding how to pay the bills with doing what you love.
I believe, if I want to design something for surfing, skateboarding and motorcycling, I have to play all of them, it's an inspiration thing. I want to be true to my work and my hobbies. That´s why the first thing I do in the morning is grab the skateboard and go down to the beach to check the surf. If the surf is good, I go in the water for a couple hours, if it's crappy, I start working and maybe I'll take a break in the midday to go riding at the skate park.
I would say on helmets, tanks, skateboards and surfboards, but i don´t know if this is what I want it to or if it´s actually where it fits best.
Because I love it and because I love myself. So it would be stupid for me and for the rest of world if I was trying to do something that I didn´t like.
I still waiting for the memorable response, hopefully is gonna come soon!
My work is divided in to two phases, analog and digital. When I am designing something for clients and I have to create logos illustrations etc. I always begin with a pencil and a white paper, after that I keep developing the ideas through the computer.
However, things don´t always work like that when I am doing art works, I love to design on wood for example, I dig to paint on many and different textures actually. For example, right now I am experimenting with some new things on cotton and jeans.
I think the role of artists and designers is getting more and more important today, These culture are getting bigger and they need artists who can create an outsider view of those worlds.
Many things and people influenced my work, I think the most important person in the last few years was Danzig Baldaev, through his books I develop the most typical element of my style, which is the illustration inside the illustration kind of similar to “tattoos” (image below from his book, Russian criminal tattoo) . Then I have many other references like Jim Philipps, Arcimboldo, Reg Mombassa, Ed Templetonand many others.
I don´t have a favourite one, each piece has it´s own value, at least for me. I can say what i enjoyed most doing it but it´s hard to pick up a favorite one. I think one of the illustration that i enjoyed it most is an Out-door illustration for the new commercial center Alegro in Setubal, Portugal.
The illustration has been printed with the size of 8mt x 3mt. The references of the work are based on the city of Setubal, that is the third most important harbour of Portugal. I enjoyed a lot the process of building the illustration because i spend lots of time reading amazing things about the history of the city and the people who lived there, i found out some amazing ancient books with beautiful symbols and histories.
I think studying new techniques and learning new skills is the best way to evolve and not just as an artist but also as a person. I believe that in life you need to learn new things in order to have pleasure.
Nothing makes me more excited than learning new things. Right now, for example, I started playing an instrument and I am studying new things about philosophy which I consider great inspiration for my life and my work.
I don´t really have a borderline between my life and my work, I think it all fits together. I also work part time as a model, which is awesome because I can meet new people that works professionally as photographers and stylists.
I like to go out of my comfort zone because I fell that I learn much more, that´s why if someone offers me an opportunity for a job that I don´t know how to do, I normally pick it up because that I feel, is the best way to learn something new.
I have done many different things in my life that have made me who I am today. from mixing concrete building skyscrapers in Sydney when I was 20, to working as a waiter in San Marino when I was 23 and many more adventures that at the time I didn't realize would have such a great effect on building who I am today.
It´s hard to understand the future with the work I am doing, you never know what is going to happen, this is something that it´s hard to live with and sometimes I don´t like it. it´s hard also to keep moving each time, you have to forget about many relationship you build during your path, starting with your parents, it´s hard . However, I understand that it´s probably the most important part of all this experience.
You have to believe that you got to work in the same way you surf a wave (at least that´s what I keep repeating to myself ). You must live the present and surf your days, sometimes the waves are good sometimes waves are bad, but you always have to keep paddling and smiling to life.
Be curious and hug your problems instead of fighting them. I have been invited to TEDxon december 2015, and I titled my speech “Problems are pregnant Solutions”. Each problem you will find on your path is just something you need to solve to became better and better on it.
Be true to yourself and thankful each day, I know it is not easy but your struggles determine your successes, you can´t just love the victory and not the fight, life does not work that way. Be happy and do what you love, life is just one