Francesca Natale, the pencil of success
Francesca Natale is one the most popular and valued Italian artists. Born in Rome, she now lives in Vancouver and is character art director for the movie Angry Birds, which is inspired by the successful videogame by Rovio.
From unknown to celebrity. How do you feel?
Thank you for the compliment, but I would not define myself as such. Anyway it was a bit surreal and really amazing: this experience is the result of years of work and I consider it as a valuable recognition.
To succeed, you had to leave Italy. Was it the only solution?
Yes, it was so honestly. Unfortunately, our country doesn’t offer many opportunities to grow professionally in this sector. Our market is small and, in many aspects, outdated, if compared with North America or some European countries.
You said that you previously followed a traditional education course. Then you started a simultaneous artistic education. Was it an advantage?
I think it was. My education, which is unusual in the animation sector, often leads me to work in an unconventional way. As a designer, this is certainly an advantage, when I work on projects, which are expected to be unusual, under a visual point of view, “different” and with a unique personality.
You said that Marjane Satrapi is your role model. What would you (artistically speaking) steal from the Persepolis author?
Angry Birds legitimizes rage. What role can this feeling have in the artistic creation?
If constructive, rage can definitely contribute to break the mental rules and to fight the slackening of imagination as well as creative laziness.
What’s the role of creativity in your work? What’s the role of professional techniques instead?
Creativity dominates the pre-production stage, when the urgency is that of defining the visual language for the movie cast and the peculiar aesthetic appearance of characters. While producing, 80 per cent of the work is made of professional techniques.
You said that when you were assigned the job for Angry Birds, you were surprised by the level of autonomy you were given. Why?
Such opportunity is normally given to famous professionals with an experience much more renowned than mine. I really owe a lot to the producers John Cohen, Catherine Winder and Mikael Hed for assigning me such central creative role in the movie design and for believing in me and supporting my work. Having such a creative impact on movies with this budget is a really rare opportunity.
Do you consider Angry birds an achievement or do you still have some professional dreams to realize?
It is an amazing result along a way, where you never see a target, an arrival point. I believe that the most important thing, in all creative sectors, is to never rest on one's laurels. I have many professional dreams, just to name a few: the production of an animation movie "Freestyle – A ruota libera", a project designed with the screenwriter Ginevra Natale, who is my sister; the publication of a book for children, where I will work on words and images; working with Guillermo del Toro and many others... However, my greatest desire is to keep on having fun and getting to know people, on my way, who could make my travel more interesting and enriching.
Born in Rome 40 years ago, Francesca Natale is one the most popular and valued Italian artists. She lives in Vancouver since 2007 and is character art director for the movie Angry Birds, which is inspired by the successful videogame by Rovio. After following a traditional education course and training as an illustrator, she has worked in Italy for a set of animated series for Mediaset and Mondo TV. She has worked for Laika Ent, Passion Pictures London, Reel Fx (The Book of Life) Disney Junior, 20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures.