Patience & True Artistry with Rafael Dante
When I first came across Rafael Dante's work, I was warped back to my childhood when I would purchase X-MEN comics at local bookstores in Portland, OR. My appreciation for each artist's interpretation and creativity with the drawing of the human form was developed during those years. Rafael's art style is gestural yet acute with lines and angles that invite the viewer into his vibrant universe. The influence from the comic book style is apparent, but so are traces of street art paired with technical approaches of watercolor and line drawing.
Dante is a professional designer and artist who has worked on everything from beautiful interactive websites to installations and murals. He created a series called "Too Many Boxes" when he first moved to Venice. The pieces were all created on slabs of cardboard that came from the boxes of household items such as plasma TVs and bookshelves. Dante's proficiency in various mediums stems from his experimentation of different materials that inspire his creativity.
It's very apparent to me that Rafael is an experienced artist. He mentions that becoming an artist is an ongoing process that is derived from hard work, self improvement, and skill. He doesn't believe in "God-given talents", but rather experience and motivation. Raised in Brazil, Rafael started drawing when he was 9 years old (He's 32 years old now). He attended various art schools and learned from some of the best animators and artists. This is why he stresses the importance of having influential people following your work. "You can't just learn to be an artist by yourself," he says.
Rafael's body of work is extensive, so it might seem daunting for beginners who come across his portfolio. He mentions that age isn't important and that if one wants to draw, they simply need to start now and draw every single day. Many of his drawings don't even see the light of day in terms of a proper release in an art exhibit, or being shared via social media – they're created only for himself.
"Art is what I do. It's who I am," Rafael says as he carefully lays down traces of ink to his latest piece. He then takes us outside to show us around the Venice pier while he draws into his sketch book. The sun is out and the weather is near perfect. I ask him what's next for him, but he's not focused on what's ahead in terms of his career. He's right where he wants to be, creating whatever comes to his mind: years of experiences and growth of becoming an artist poured onto a blank page.