Illustrator, comic-strip artist and musician, Dario Maggiore is the Bullfrog artist of 2019. He has made his mark on Bullfrog with his fluid style that has often changed formula over the years, and with a spirit that is more pioneering than adaptive, creating unique works that are an ideal balance of Dario’s distinctive irony and the barbershop’s aesthetic style. In this edition of its Gazette, Bullfrog is giving Dario Maggiore an opportunity to present himself, letting us get to know the artist behind this collaboration.
What do Bullfrog and Dario Maggiore have in common?
Straight to the difficult questions, eh?! It’s not easy for me to say. To be honest, I mainly associate Bullfrog with the founder, Romano Brida.
Undoubtedly, Romano and I share a punk background and a passion for anything that could be considered “Kustom”. But if I look back at my own history, the first thing that comes to mind is my grandfather, who was a barber. This, more than anything else, is an exceptional connection to Bullfrog!
What are your sources of inspiration?
It depends on what I am asked to do. I am known for having created album covers for punk and hardcore bands, posters for concerts and merchandise for a number of skate shops. This is my working environment, so I draw inspiration from the work of some of the most characteristic designers of the ‘80s and ‘90s, including Jim Phillips (Santa Cruz) Vernon Courtlandt Johnson (Powell-Peralta), Jaime Hernandez (Stalag 13), Pushead (Misfits, Metallica).
How would you define your style, from your personal image (hair, clothes) to the actual expression of your creativity?
When I was younger, I effectively changed style a lot, but apart from a short, more or less “Greaser” and rock ‘n’ roll period, I have always been close to what could be considered a hardcore style, made up of Old Skool Vans, jeans or camouflage Bermuda shorts in the summer, and punk group or skate company t-shirts. This is also my look now, but a few years ago I started wearing Hawaiian shirts, which I am really crazy about. I have also changed my hair a lot. For a long time, when I was a kid, I shaved my hair right down, practically to zero, and would boast that it was done with a straight-edge razor, but at around the age of 23 I started to use Brilliantine and sport a quiff. Then I grew my hair to just below the shoulders and would tie it back. Similarly, I have often changed my style of drawing. I have moved from vector graphics to “OBEY”, at a time when no-one in Milan knew anything about Obey Giant or Shepard Fairey, to comics and hand-drawn illustrations. In other words, I liked to change, maybe because I still had to understand who I was. For some time now I have stuck with a long and scruffy beard (which my wife hates!) and easy hairstyles, but with a quiff to pomade up when needed, and similarly my drawing style has remained the same for quite some time now.
What is “Filler” and what does it have to do with your motto “Do it yourself”?
Filler is an illustration convention tied to the world of self-production and underground art. It involves a whole series of people, creative figures, self-produced figures and artist that orbit around the punk/hardcore and skateboarding worlds. The concept and ethics of “Do it yourself” is deeply rooted in Punk and has a significant historical meaning. DIY in fact originates from the desire to express yourself in a world that doesn’t allow small entities to emerge. At the end of the ‘70s in the USA the first fanzines were photocopied illegally, handed out in squats and during concerts, or in specific record shops. Obviously, 40 years on, the concept of Do It Yourself has been heavily bastardised and now it is not purely restricted to fanzines and music but includes all kinds of projects by people who do things themselves, from necklaces to collectable objects, silkscreen-printed posters or hand-sewn dresses. However, Filler only involved artists who have been carrying forward projects with (more or less) the same attitude as 40 years ago, who have a message and the need to “say something”. They are not projects that are an end in themselves.
What is your relationship with music? Do you think that it has some role, more or less important, in your way of approaching illustration?
Constant. I am always listening to music, except for rare moments in the day. The songs are usually random, unless there is something I decide I want to listen to in particular. It is rare for me to draw in silence; come to think of it, I don’t think I ever do. Music has an influence on my mood, and my mood is expressed through my drawings; this is why I prefer to carefully choose what to listen to before putting pencil to paper.
Tell us about the meaning of the illustrations you produced for Bullfrog.
I often like to create little “guides”. It is a nice formula to use to entertain people and outlining funny situations or expressing concepts. It is a cross between a comic strip and the cartoons in those weekly puzzle magazines. As barbers, just like their clients, have a certain aesthetic and rules to respect, this seemed to me to be the right way to “educate” clients and professionals alike without being too boring.
Looking back, you have gained a lot of experience. Is there anything you would change in your journey to where you are now?
I don’t like looking back. I’m nostalgic, and I like “the good old days”, but I don’t think there’s any point in stopping to reflect on what I could have or shouldn’t have done. I mean, what difference does it make? All I can do is look at the present and try to use the experience I have to do the best I can for me and my family.
Do you have any dream projects at the moment?
Lots, too many, an endless list. None of them are realistic.
Apparently, it’s what makes life so great. But perhaps it’s just my problem.
Discover the Agnostico Artist Edition here!