Italian metallers, Overunit Machine recruited fellow countryman artist, Angelo Roccagli of Black Reflection Media for the design of the cover and inner illustrations featured in their new album "Aldaraja." In the following interview, Roccagli recounts how these graphics were brought to life.
Tell us more about the making-of process not only for the cover but the whole layout.
Angelo Roccagli: I started to design a inner illustration of the booklet. This allows me to develop the imaginary and the atmosphere of the artwork, without being stressed by the cover, the most hard part to create. I showed it to the band and they found it great, so I knew I was stepping in the right way of thinking. So I keep on collecting and gathering ideas based on those keywords, trying to interpret them with my own sensitivity and my artistic style.
About the technique: it’s all digital. With Photoshop I manipulate images chosen from an accurate selection based upon the ideas I have. I use a lot of textures in my work, and I ‘m really meticulous when it’s time to opt for one of them. Most of time I create them on my own, starting from photos I made. And so I did with this artwork.
There's a prominent use of stock imagery. From what sources you selected these images and what was the criteria for your selection?
Angelo Roccagli: I pick up the images from websites that provides stock photos. This took a lot of time, because I searched with a very specific criteria. Since the title refers to a XVI century book, I looked for images that could give that kind of “ancient” feeling, both for the human features and the symbolical elements. Also the mechanical parts are not contemporary drawings, but handmade illustrations.
The color palette for this design is very specific and tends to avoid too much tonal vibrancy. Can you tell us more about the reasons to select this particular tonal combination?
Angelo Roccagli: The color palette is one of the things I prefer about this work. When you think about a Metal release the first colors that usually come in mind are dark/black oriented, so I decided to go to the opposite side. This was a risky decision because it could be seen bad by the band, but they liked this style. So I continued using these bright backgrounds, focusing on complementary colors, as blue and red, to create opposing shades. I choose to use red as a predominant color, because I think it can be related to something passionate, impetuous, but also primordial and magical.
This artwork is a good example of your visual style and your obvious preference to mix photography with digital media in order to create images of cryptic beauty. Can you comment about this?
Angelo Roccagli: Since I was sixteen I use this type of art to express my thoughts and my way to see certain aspects of the world. I grew up staring at the beautiful works of masters like Travis Smith, Seth Siro Anton, Zdzisław Beksiński and they gave me the inspiration to try this kind of catharsis, obviously always trying to do it with my personal style. Mixing photography and other digital media allows me to do it with a more “realistic” feeling. I like to take photos of existing natural places, cities, people, walls and make them a part of a new reality in my visions. I take details and transform them in a unique frame. I like to think that as a sort of realistic fiction.
How did the band reacted when you showed the finished artwork?
Angelo Roccagli: The band just loved each illustration, they were really enthusiastic each time I forwarded them a new piece of the work. Luckily they gave me such freedom to create the artwork and they liked all of my proposals. In the meantime, while I was working, they let me listen to three songs of the new album and I realized that my work fitted perfectly with their music.