Reno Nogaj Ice Age
Albanian born artist and illustrator Reno Nogaj lives and works in Italy. He has become a favorite among those who follow new illustration. Nogaj’s work has a distinctive style, it is highly graphic, yet one can see the inflection of Futurist light, movement and shadow in the spectral and geometric scenes.
A certain muted coolness exists in the images, even when primary colours are used, and in certain works a dismantled robustness of Cubism makes its presence felt as well, and finally the element of fantasy, a place of mythologies, the secret emotional life of others, memory and the Surreal like we see in works like the Wanderer and Ice Age.
Reno Nogaj The Wanderer
At the same time, there is eerie quality, a sort of Gotham city meets nordic folktale, shot through with the illuminated color and verticality of František Kupka’s paintings and illustrations.
A lifelong painter, and constant sketcher, the artist’s approach changed when graphic design studies pushed a rethinking of drawing methods, and today Reno notes that much of his drawing serves an oblique way of expressing one’s emotional life: “For me drawing is a way to narrate in an indirect way personal feelings and to convey emotions, and communicate ideas beyond the barrier of language.” Reno generously provided insight into his working style, inspirations and sources.
Rosa: Can you tell me more about the work Ice Age?
Reno: The idea or intention is to evoke the feeling of being stuck and lost alone in a cruel and dangerous environment. The cold-hearted figures trapped in the ice symbolize the feeling of being alone, and long forgotten. They are ancient mummies frozen in ice, and yet with the hope of being discovered and saved.
Reno Nogaj Heavy Waters
Reno Nogaj Clouds
Rosa: What about the development of your signature style?
Reno: I think there is a natural progression from years of drawing and painting and an incorporation of different inspirations: fine art, animation, comics, Asian art, manga and illustration. My illustrations initially were more concentrated on fantasy evolving over the course of the last year into more conceptual work.
Rosa: Do you have certain artists you admire, or find critically interesting?
Reno: Keith Negley, Jun Cen, Victo Ngai, Owen Gent, Karolis Strautniekas, Riccardo Guasco, and Gloria Pizzilli. In terms of my recent work as an illustrator, I would say I am drawn to the work of Moebius, and I love the mystery and characters from the Hayao Miyazaki movies.
Reno Nogaj The Wanderer and the Ice Forest
Rosa: And in terms of your vision or intention? Your future goals?
Reno: I would like my illustrations to be thought-provoking, emotive and mysterious, with an aura of a sense of discovery, and a successful translation of ideas and concepts into images. I wish to continue to push my work in directions that are new and rewarding, to evolve, improve and face subject matter that is more diverse.
Rosa: Well, we look forward to seeing your work as it evolves and takes new routes. What’s your working process like?
Reno: A lot of my inspiration comes from my daily life, from solitude and personal introspection, thinking too much maybe, daydreaming and listening to a lot of music as I sketch. Some of the best concepts come when least expected, when watching a movie, reading or just going for a walk. After an idea is conceived, I find that sketching manually or digitally is always the first place to try to work on compositions.
Reno Nogaj Ghost
Rosa: Thank you Reno. Please tell me more about the recent Ghost series that you premiered on Behance? The three works use a tripartite color scheme and evoke a listless kind of sorrow.
Reno: The ghost series was born of an experiment that I wanted to do using less color than you see in my other works but using the same palette in all three Ghost works. I wanted to be able to talk about losing people who are a great part of our lives, death is scarier when it’s more close to us, when it happens to people we love, they leave an empty place in our lives, one that cannot be replaced. In a way these illustrations represent the three stages of grief: negation, confrontation and acceptance.
Reno Nogaj Home
Reno Nogaj’s illustrative style and mysterious or folkloric content is color infused and has an engaging way of storytelling.