Fillippo Morini is guilty of blasphemy and great design. I caught up with him from his home in Italy for this interview. Ha ha…that sounded like I was in Italy, like I actually leave my mom’s basement. Let me be more precise. Fillippo was kind enough to answer some questions via email. God I’m jealous of people that know multiple languages. This dude’s Italian but he answers in English like it was no big deal.
How are you known on the Internet?
On the Internet most people know me as Filippo Morini. I’ve been using the nickname “Jesus was a Dinosaur” (yes, blasphemy once again) on leganerd.com to post web comics, though.
I started to post my illustrations on the Internet just some months ago after creating a tumblr profile, where I’ve put some old stuff also, like posters and album covers I did between 2009 and 2011.
I’ve been drawing some web comics and submitted some works to t-shirt websites over past years but I’ve never focused too much on pure illustration until some months ago.
How did you start getting into t-shirt design?
It all started when I discovered Threadless.com during my high-school years. I was really impressed by
the brilliant creativity of some of their designs, and I started wondering what kind of tools those artists used to create such smooth lines and obtain such wonderful color shades. I had never heard of Photoshop nor Illustrator at that time. I just used to draw Dragonball Z characters for my classmates during particularly boring lessons, that’s all.
But when someone showed me Threadless.com I started to think that I could take illustration more seriously and try to make my own t-shirt designs.
Are you a full time designer? Or do you also have a job?
I just got a master degree in Economics a month ago and I still haven’t started looking for a job related to my field of study. While writing my master’s thesis I decided I wanted to draw for a living, and I would have tried hard to do that before starting looking for a standard job in a company or something.
I just really like to draw and always learning different techniques, so I’ve been drawing from dawn to dusk since the day I graduated. I’m currently working on a three-pieces set of music festival posters and constantly thinking about new movies/video games mash-ups. I need to build a solid portfolio.
How do you describe the type of design you do?
Whatever technique or subject I choose, I always try to realize something interesting and gripping to look at.
It doesn’t matter if I’m drawing a 8-bit-like pixel scene or a hot chick in bikini smoking a cigarette: I put a lot of attention on color scheme, on the selection of the right tones, and the realization of small details.
I think that some of my designs are still pretty naïve, but I’m trying hard to reach a satisfying level of ability and experience.
What are your favorite t-shirt subjects? Why?
For what concerning T-shirt designs I prefer funny subjects, better if video games/movies/comics/tv shows –related.
I enjoy discovering a design that takes something I know since I was a kid, and completely re-interprets it from a new point of view, creating a comic and parodic situation. I think that the t-shirt is a simple and universal piece of clothing that easily adapts to be the frame of that kind of designs.
Are you comfortable being a blasphemer? Re: Jesus vs. Judas boxing poster design :)
I’ve already been asked this question twice at least! It’s not my intention to offend anyone, and when I realized the Jesus v.s. Judas boxing poster design I thought it was just something kinda funny and harmless, because everyone knows about the betray of Judas and the thought of a not-so-merciful Jesus who can’t wait to kick Judas’ ass once arrived in the Afterlife sounded cool and hilarious to me.
Anyway if this makes me a blasphemer, I feel fine and I’m comfortable with that.
What’s something that fans of your work don’t know about you?
Well… Even if I REALLY dig science fiction, I don’t like Star Wars saga. Ok, now you can spit in my eyes.
Where do you draw creative inspiration?
From almost everything I like: friends, girls, animals, books, music, movies, video games, comics, food, the Internet and of course from other illustrators.
My all time art heroes list includes Adam Hughes, Osamu Tezuka, Gil Elvgren, Akira Toriyama, H.R. Giger, M.C. Escher, Katsuhiro Otomo, Masamune Shirow, Travis Charest and Dino Valls.
With regard to T-shirt design only, I think that Glenn Jones (aka GLEENZ) is probably the most clever and skilled designer I ever saw in years of Internet roaming.
Where are you from/live now?
I live in Casteggio, a small town in the countryside of northern Italy, near Milan. My house is surrounded by green hills and vineyards. It’s a pretty quiet and cool place to live.
What tools do you use to create your designs?
I usually start with paper and pencil, and then I digitally add colors and effects, but for pixel-based designs like Pulp Fighter II I start directly from digital. My bamboo tablet and my PC are the most used tools for any kind of design and illustration.
Most played on your iPod in the last month?
“In and out of youth and lightness” by Young Widows (experimental rock band from Louisville, Kentucky. This album is amazing) , “Enciclopedia popolare della vita quotidiana” by Distanti (Italian post-hardcore band), “Secret Diary” by College (known thanks to Drive movie soundtrack), “Distal” by Crash of Rhynos (emo-core from England), “Live at Folsom Prison” by Johnny Cash (I love Johnny Cash. Period), and of course the entire Elliott Smith discography, which is like the fifth Beatle to me, except that he was born too far and too late.
Best movie you saw recently?
Fist of Fury starring Bruce Lee, Drive, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Favorite video game?
Probably Chrono Trigger is my favorite ever.
Worst sin you ever committed?
Hum… Imaging a boxing fight between Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot trying to make a profit on utilization of biblical characters and religious icons…?
What’s your favorite t-shirt design that you created?
What’s your most popular design?
Any new designs coming out soon?
At the moment I’m about to start 2 new 8-bit-like mash-up designs: the first involves Back To The Future, while the second one is about Kill Bill.
During the summer I plan to realize something involving Breaking Bad characters but I still haven’t decided which kind of game it will be mixed in the design yet.
Can you explain the popularity of mashups?
Mash-ups have the power to concentrate in a single shot a variety of inputs that added together represent a specific feeling or a specific moment in time and space. This additive process, if mastered, can hit people right where they’re more vulnerable: for example if the author of the mash-up decides to push on nostalgic feelings, or if he manages to come up with a clever and original way to re-interpret an old concept that everyone knows since a long time.
The secret is choosing elements that people are familiar with but that seem to have nothing in common, and keep on analyzing them until you find a point of connection you can exploit.
Is the world ending this year?
Well, actually I don’t care as long as Tool fifth album comes out before December 21st.
Hurry up guys, PLEASE!
How do people follow you/find your stuff?
Anything else you want to add?
Thanks a lot for the interview and the good feedback on my Pulp Fighter II design! Sorry for my basic English!