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Artwork by Stefano Junior (image supplied) Artwork by Stefano Junior (image supplied)

Artists

“In a fictional universe I would wield magic”

Artwork by Stefano Junior (image supplied)

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I caught up with artist Stefano Junior to talk art, illustration, and super-powers.

When did you start to explore your passion for illustration and art?

I’ve been drawing as far back as I can remember. According to my parents, I drew a very convincing female figure from my imagination at about three or four years old. From then on, when I wasn’t at school, watching cartoons, or voraciously reading comic books, I’d be drawing. My parents eventually enrolled me in a fine arts weekend program at a local college — I studied there for several years while going through grammar and middle school.

What is it about superheroes that appeals to you?

In hindsight, apart from the obvious colourful allure of superhero adventures, it was the transformative nature that is the basis of most superhero narratives. As a child, in suburban 80s America, with my penchant for the arts, girls toys, and a foreign name, I was bullied extensively — superheroes provided a means to escape, I could imagine that I might one day extricate myself from that oppression.

Books like Chris Claremont’s X-Men, which were ripe with soap-opera-like drama, reassured me that my ‘latent’ powers weren’t things to be ashamed of. Roger Stern’s run on Superman affirmed my beliefs that though people could be cruel and misguided, it didn’t mean that I should have to sacrifice my ethics and sense of what’s right. George Pérez’s Wonder Woman — that she was an immigrant appealed to me as a first-generation Italian, and she never lost her compassion for even her greatest foes.

Growing up with older sisters and a strong Italian matriarch may have influenced me gravitating to female heroes. But there was also the allure of the outrageous 80s feminine glamour of heroes like She-Ra, or the many fantastic mutant women of the X-universe who all played such pivotal roles in the series while donning fantastic costumes created by amazing artists like Paul Smith, Arthur Adams, and Marc Silvestri.

I love your drawings of Sorceror Stefano — is that an alter ego?

I’ve been developing an illustrated version of myself over the years. I’m currently studying cartooning at the School of Visual Arts — comic legend Phil Jimenez was one of my instructors my sophomore year. Our mid-term assignment was to create a fictionalised life drawing of ourselves in a turnaround. So I photographed myself, and further developed the design of my Sorcerer self. As an artist, the process of creation feels like sorcery, so were I to exist in a fictional universe, I would definitely wield magic. I’d also like to be physically invulnerable.

Who are some of your art heroes or inspirations?

My inspirations are pretty vast. From the art world it includes Bernini, Gabriel Rosetti, and Waterhouse. From comics it includes Esteban Maroto, Garcia Lopez, Marc Silvestri, Brian Bolland, George Perez, Phil Jimenez, Adam Hughes, Colleen Doran, Art Adams, and especially Alan Davis — both for the aesthetic beauty and elegance of his art, and as a draughtsman and storyteller.

If you could do a life drawing of a male super-hero, who would you choose?

Henry Cavill as Superman.

Your moustache game is pretty strong — what does your moustache say about you?

At its most base, it’s a homage to the machismo of the 1980s — particularly my hero, Tom Selleck as Magnum PI. He’s the epitome of masculine idealisation.

I grow it and shave it constantly — it’s spawned its own cartoon of my creation. You can follow the exploits of me and my moustache — Mr. Mustardo — on Instagram. It’s absolutely vain, but it allows for me to be humorous in a single panel cartoon form that deviates from the more representative work and superhero storytelling that I’ve primarily been focused on.

What are some of your goals and ambitions for the months ahead?

I hope to further develop an original comic that I started in the Fall, that centres around a complex heroine and a magical discovery. Plus there’s some newer humorous cartoons that Id like to serialise online somehow — one that follows the exploits of a majordomo in an early 20th century hotel, another that follows a boy through multiple mediums and circumstances that end badly.

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The erotic art of Felix d’Eon

Stunning artwork that fuels our fantasies.

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I caught up with Felix d’Eon to talk art, inspiration, and erotica.

When did you discover and start to explore your passion for art and illustration?

I have no idea! I decided to be an artist as a child – there was never a time when I didn’t want to be an artist, so it’s hard to remember how it started.

However, I didn’t decide to be a fine artist or illustrator until High School – before that I wanted to be a bird scientist and travel the world painting birds like John James Audubon. But, somewhere around the age of 13 or so, I discovered the old masters, and decided I wanted to paint like Ingres, or Rubens – which is a goal that I’m still working towards!

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Who are some of your art heroes or inspirations?

There are so many! I think, if I will call them a hero, they would be artists who were genuinely good people, as well as being amazing artists.

For example, Bonnard, the post-impressionist, who tenderly cared for his ailing wife who had a skin condition, and for this reason has many paintings of her in the bathtub – the only place she was not in pain – beautifully and lovingly painted. Of course, he was a great painter, whose use of colour is unparalleled.

I can love Bonnard without qualifiers, unlike, say, Gauguin or Picasso – both of whom were amazing artists but rather unpleasant as people.

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What’s the process that you generally follow?

I usually have the idea, and invite the model to the studio for a photo-shoot. I print out the photo and use it as the base. The model is often nude, so I invent the clothing and such using historical sources. I make a drawing in pencil, redraw it in ink, and colour it in marker.

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How can people get their hands on your work?

I only accept commissions every now and then – I would usually rather not. However, you can find my work in my etsy store, or on my website.

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What do you hope that people feel when looking at your art?

I hope they will feel beautiful, loved, seen, and represented. I hope they will feel that love is universal, and that beauty encompasses a wide variety of bodies and ethnicities.

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What are some of your goals and aspirations for the months ahead?

To make more beautiful paintings!

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