September 27, 2022

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The Artistic Will of Tono Pettinato – Le Spazio Bianco

Chatwin is a cat who has always lived in the home of her owners until I read some of the books on the head of the household study, she has light: the world is vast and mysterious, all there is to know, and the nature of his species is suitable to be explored.
He then decides to flee to follow his epiphany, a choice that soon puts him face to face with the difficulties and dangers outside the home.

October 2019 was when Rizzoli Lizard Gave it to the press Chatwin – a cat by force, a stray by choice to Tono Pettinato, also known as Andrea Baggiaro. No one would have imagined that it would be the third book of the last author’s signature, only followed by Neri and Shigea on show (Short version of the comic book series in museums Coconino Press) And from Holidays in a boxwith drawings by Martina Saritsu about hot waveBoth are from 2020.
white space While he has not revised this work: we reread it today, at the beginning of 2022, it assumes definite symbolic value in relation to this artist’s spirit and the way he intended to narrate the comic book, a reason why it is still relevant and meaningful to talk about.

For example, we can trace the taste of cultured references, never ending in themselves, but always used as an interpretive key to the world and to communicate something by drawing on pre-existing influences.
Starting with the name of the main character, in reference to the British writer and traveler Bruce ChatwinWho derived some of his books and memoirs from his wanderings.
The rest of the trash from which the protagonist grew up is then studded with equally evocative names Shackleton to CousteauFrom Colombo to amundsenFrom Livingston even a Christopherite: All the famous explorers and navigators or in any case the people who threw their hearts over the obstacle to pursue their thirst for knowledge and love for travel.

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Chatwin’s cat embodies this tendency, framed under the lens of anxiety: as an animal that feels this irrepressible need—though, paradoxically, it is revitalized by reading the works of human ingenuity—but the existence of the Couch Potato who lived until then did not provide him with the coordinates to be able to move in this context.
The resulting confusion is a mirror of the human being, suggests Tuono Pettinato between the lines: facing the breadth of existence, in the stage of growth but not only, involves a step forward that is not always pain-free and requires certain knowledge, which can be gained with experience, to be able to come up with some broken bones.
Chatwin, as an agitator, threw himself headlong into him and got hurt several times, striking his nose against the difficulties, if not the horror, which he would never have imagined. The author does not exclude, and despite the light tone, he also imagines strong and rather brutal scenes, which well capture the cruelty of life.

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The reader immediately sympathizes with the character because what he is going through has happened to everyone at different moments in his presence or in the presence of close people.
this leads to Another recurring element in Tono’s writings: the closeness to his characters. There has always been a great deal of sympathy for paper creatures bringing them back to life (a clear example is Kurt Cobain from his book Did not matterwhich you can find our review of here) and Chatwin is no exception: Tenderness, tact, the poetry with which the author speaks to us about the difficult trials that a cat has to face, constantly feels it and conveys an innate sweetness.

chatwin_11Another important issue is the need for a goal. The protagonist knows he mistook certainty for uncertainty, and must believe he did so for a very specific reason, a destination that could enhance “cat-like” and give a truer and deeper meaning to his life. This is the reason why he steals some maps before he flees: he takes them quite randomly, they are about faraway places and would have no tangible help in moving, but they say a lot about the philosophy behind Chatwin’s choice, and once they are stolen from him, he rises To metaphor concrete and existential bewilderment of personality.
The contrast is with the group of cats you join, which instead follows the principle of wandering as an end in itself as a natural rule for cats.

You’ll get lost on the way! Walking without a goal in which the mind is free to roam, is like a secret passage to another level of existence: it is transcendence

Walt, the biggest of the gang, told him at one point. The name is not a coincidence, if you think the philosopher himself Walter Benjamin It was one of the most famous flâneurGentlemen who at the end of the nineteenth century supported a sedentary behavior which consisted chiefly of walking the streets of the city, observing the context around them to comprehend it. Perhaps it is interesting to note that, in the comic book business, a few months before Chatwin released a series Alessandro Pilotta Mercury LowePosted by Publisher Sergio Bonelliwhose homogeneous hero is clearly attributed to a class flâneur.
In any case, the protagonist is not convinced by this lifestyle and instead decides to pursue the Shangri-La illusion of cats – a virtual and wonderful “Promised Land” where all cats can find all sorts of comfort and convenience – before coming to the bitter truth linked.

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chatwin_6Registry-wise, the division of tables is mostly regular. The cage is actually there, even if not in a static way: the animation is unlikely to have the same size, or to lengthen or shrink depending on the moment; Dialogue scenes are an exception, which instead marry rigidly to a 2×3 grid.
There are also passages in which the page is unraveled to emphasize the protagonist’s confusion: on these occasions the anime is few and fragmentary and is laid out in a disorganized fashion, often on a black background.

The graphic style is the well-known and unifying style of Andrea Baggiaro, featuring a simple design but not that childish or careless. Within the wide range of authors who in the past decade have pushed the synthesis of their traits to the limits, Tono Pettinato maintains his independent voice, and maintains the harmony of his label. There is no trace of strangeness or style, but the search for simplicity and immediacy necessary for his communication needs, without giving up some of the compositional elegance and allure of the cartoon.
This logic finds new expression in this book where Most of the characters are anthropomorphic animals: well, they all have graphic and expressive elements that offer that extra sophistication, which suggests a well-researched aesthetic, even within a decidedly basic style.

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As for Chatwin, the idea of ​​him wearing a blue jacket is perfect to make him instantly creative and cute; But the face is the real power of its graphic construction. In fact, the oval-shaped head contains very few elements that are able to represent all the emotions that the protagonist feels throughout the story, especially thanks to the eyes: when they are closed, they express indifference and serenity, when open and well written amazement, attention and contemplation When it appears in the form of a “crescent” with the rounded side down, it expresses sadness, bitterness, anxiety, regret and fatigue that the cat suffers from. It is no coincidence that this is the expression we observe in most of the story and that this almost becomes the “emblem” of the book found on the rib and in the title page.
Tono’s interest in illustration is mainly on the characters, and the backgrounds – sometimes scattered – are more likely to cast a shadow: buildings, city streets, and the rustic environment of the countryside can in fact be thought of as somewhat elementary representations. and geometric, but in fact these few lines are sufficient to define the surroundings in which the action takes place, and are interpreted with a vision that is more creative than realistic but no less effective or healing.

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chatwin_12Finally, coloring also plays its role in a basic way: the painting is flat and the colors of the characters are the primary colors, without certain effects, but its success lies in the contribution it makes to the atmosphere of the various situations shown. When the city is tinged with burgundy red, or when night scenes are blanketed in blue halfway between darkness and gloom, the author is able to use the color palette in the most natural and effective way to anticipate the reader’s “climate” that you are about to breathe in the story. In the first streams, where the protagonist is still safe at home, the reassuring yellow color, which can also be seen on the cover, prevails, replaced by the darker gray in the stream where he decided to leave. Thus, the various shades in which he dyes the pages are real stimuli of emotions, and not just embellishment.

ChatwinAlthough it is not the last cartoon left to us by Andrea Baggiaro, it can live up to the role of his artistic testament due to the presence of these semantic and representative elements of his artistic and human expressions, which help preserve his memory. Among all who knew him, even if through his works.

We talked about:
Chatwin – a cat by force, a stray by choice
thunder comb
Rizzoli Lizard, 2019
160 pages, hardcover, colors – €19.00
ISBN: 9788817104036

Interview with (B) Arm with Tono Pettinato