Italy again ?!? Yes Italy again and I guess like everytime it comes to soccer or, definitly, pizzas we now know that talking about rock posters, sooner or later, you will have to talk about Italy. It is maybe not so known for the moment but it seems that the scene here is huge. Jack Larana is the evidence that Italy is really dynamic and creative, I wanted to thank him for the time he took to answer our questions, and, more than all, whish him a fast recovery after his accident …
Hello, of course as every Crewk interview, first question: what are we listening to when we come to visit you?
Rock 'n' roll. Rockabilly. Psychobilly. Garage. Doom. It depends very much on the project I'm working on.
But this does not mean music is always strictly related to what I'm doing. For instance most of the times I draw black-metal covers or posters I listen to Les Baxter.
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
Hello everybody, my name is Jack Larana. In 2000, once finished my studies, I toured Italy working for companies and studios such as Fabrica, Sartoria Comunicazione, Kalimera, Bastard (an important Italian skate company) and many others.
In 2010 I landed in Parma (in the North of Italy) where I decided to base the BatZar Studio (www.batzarstudio.com) in collaboration with Moonlight Studios (http://www.moonlightstudios.it/).
The latter is a really cool recording studio, booking agency, and record label based as well in Parma.
Mainly BatZar revolves around recording projects, artworks and posters. It also comprises a network of graphic designers, photographers, and filmmakers all working together always and exclusively on recording projects.
When did you start drawing?
Actually, I don't remember. Probably it should have been one of the most boring days of my childhood.
Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?
None. I'm totally self-taught. I learned to draw, as far as I can do, during the long afternoons of boredom that filled my childhood.
And then over the years I never lost the habit of drawing, especially when I need to relax and detach myself from everything and everyone.
Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?
It really depends on the year. Maybe one year you're lucky, and the next one you’re not and so you got to arrange yourself in some ways. But I have to say that with all the various things I do I find myself as economically independent.
Still, it is a difficult and winding road, especially here in Italy.
Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?
Rarely. I just worked as a photographer a few times, but never as an illustrator. I hope to have this possibility in the future because it could be a further source of inspiration.
Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?
Uh. It’s hard to say., but probably everything started with my father, who has triggered my love for the arts: photography, painting, and music.
All this led me to develop a personal taste, and I must say that hundreds of artists have influenced me and continue to do so. Just to name some of them: Jeremy Fish, Robert Williams, Ed Moses, Coop, Mike Giant, Luca Barcellona, Ed Hardy, Parra, Shepard Fairey.
But ultimately I must say that I'm particularly following the work of Josè Guadalupe Posada "Ilustrator de Guadernos Populares".
What are the principal steps in your work ?
Having ideas... ahahahha.. It’s always a critical step, and a suffering one! But when you have a good dialogue with the client, then it gets much simpler.
Sometimes you have also to be a fine psychologist. This part of the work excites me a lot, entering into the mind of who is in front of me trying to understand what he or she wants.
Do you do everything by hand or on computer?
In part by hand, and in part on computer.
How long does it take you to do a poster?
Maybe one hour, maybe a week. Just the time it is needed.
You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel like or if tomorrow somebody asks you an oil painting with horses running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are you up for it ?
Projects requiring something lying far away from my usual style are those that stimulate me the most. This allows me to enrich my style, and widen my views. Moreover it constitutes the fuel that boosts my never-ending search for something new.
Then it would not be a problem.
For which band have you already worked for?
Well, in 2010 I worked for Avant-Gardener, Whiskey Ritual, The Secret Tape, Abaton, Morgan the bard (R.I.P.), Ocean Cloud, Dirty Blood, Binary System Wins, Caronte, Shinin Shade, Calendula, Noise of Creation.
For which band would you love to work?
Too many of them!
Just to name a couple of them: Brian Setzer, Queen of the Stone Ages, Eagles of death metal, Bjork, Dope Dod... Jack White!!! I love Third Man Records! Reverend Beat Man! The Black Keys!! Mad Sin! Too many people!
Do you choose the artists yourself?
Maybe one day! Ahhahahhahhah!
What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?
No one. Designing posters is the best thing ever. Second only to sex, for sure.
Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?
None. I feel so isolated. I'm a solitary man. :D
A bit of self-promotion, take advantage of it, it's free, where can we see your work , on the web or in real life?