By Christine Marchese
THE WORLD OF ANTONIO LAPONE: A CHIC, DREAMY AND AESTHETIC JOURNEY THOUGH ART, FILM AND POETRY.
“Drawing is part of my DNA!” In a few words Antonio Lapone sums up his relationship with art. With such genetics, it was inevitable for Antonio to pursue a life of art. Seeing the artist in front of a blank page with just a few colored pencils as tools to create allows one to understand that each drawing, even a quick sketch contributes to a major work of art. As a painter, illustrator or comic book cartoonist, Antonio has created a very personal retrofuturistic universe which forms a part of another dimension that irresistibly draws us in… Every character formed through his lines touches our emotions whether they are in motion and are coming towards us, or through a position that inspires us. His ability to capture a gesture or expression is what gives an incredible charm to his creations since nothing seems static. It is not a character that we see, but rather a character that sees us or that shows us what should be seen… This is the density contained in Antonio’s works, since art is in his DNA and DNA is in his art. Antonio was born in Italy and spent his childhood drawing. In the 1980s, he went to art school in Turin. He diligently studied all the masters of advertising, then found an American comic book that would spark his desire to express himself through short stories, just for fun, without knowing that it would become his career. Later followed numerous comic book volumes, each inspiring dreams and journeys.
The graphic composition stands out above all else for Antonio whether in his illustrations, comics or paintings. His hands guide an assembly of accomplished and harmonious rounded and angular lines which are immediately recognizable. In other words, style! Antonio has a passion for American pop culture from the 1930s to 1960s, along with its music such as jazz and its plush atmosphere and moody colors. “Accords Sensibles” a very jazzy comic book would reflect this. Antonio is also inspired by his taste for the magic of Hollywood films from the 1930s to 1950s, with the legendary actresses he enjoys quoting like Grace Kelly or Kim Novak… Fashion sketches are also a never-ending source of inspiration. All of these influences combined with the imagination and talent of Antonio produce women who are elegant, seductive, bold, bubbly, spiritual and ethereal at the heart of his well-designed creations using clever and magnetic colors. In the 2000s, his wife Virginie who was his muse gave him the courage to move from Italy to Belgium. However, the decisive step in his artistic development was meeting gallery owner Eric Verhoest in 2012 who would give him the opportunity to expose his work at the Galerie Champaka in Brussels. For “Sentiers Nocturnes”, he chose the theme “New York” inspired by its mysterious femmes fatales, its men in the shadows, its immense buildings and the music of a night-time radio station. He worked for one year in his studio near Namur to prepare for this exhibition of illustrations as well as large format paintings. Antonio also designed jewelry for some of the women in his paintings and Virginie Vertonghen, sculptor and figurine designer for “Les Étains de Virginie” reproduced them. These lovely pieces of jewelry were then superimposed onto the painting to provide a refined radiance. His first sale, “my first red sticker next to one of my paintings” was an intensely emotional and unforgettable memory. Through his painting, Antonio felt he had transitioned from the ninth art to the world of Art, without realizing that he was already a part of it!
If you ask Antonio why he draws so many flight attendants, he will respond in his melodious Italian accent: “… because it is the icon that men dream about through posters, the beautiful, smiling woman whose courteous gestures beckoned them to travel to faraway lands… as well as their elegant uniforms, always perfect with colors matching the country. I’ve studied their color palette which I now use in my designs, such as aviation blue, one of my favorite colors”. He is currently working on a comic book, “Love is in the Air”, a love story between a flight attendant and a writer in Greenwich Village in the 1960s. It is clear that Antonio has no shortage of projects, he is also preparing a second comic book, “What’s New Pussycat?”, that is again set in Greenwich Village about another love story. He is also working on an upcoming exhibition at the Galerie Champaka on the theme “Mondrian and De Stijl” the Lapone version; a two-part graphic novel “Gentlemind”; and his Art Book “The New Frontier – The Art of Elegance” with the Romebased graphic designer Marzia Fabiani. You have a lot going on Antonio, what is your dream destination for a holiday?: “My dream would be to fly to Easter Island!”. We can only imagine what wonderful creations that would inspire!