Every now and then our roads cross with talented illustrators whose work is so vibrant, that we want to share that awesomeness with our readers. So happened this time!
Santino Calvo is multi-talented illustrator and designer from Sicily, currently living in Tallinn, Estonia. His illustrations caught my eye years ago with its playful interpretation of minimalism, flirtation with colours and human forms that shape sensual undertone to his work. To introduce Santino’s works to a wider audience, we asked him a few questions about being an illustrator, and he very kindly answered them.

Meet inspirational illustrator Santino Calvo!

Santino, let’s start from the beginning. How did you end up working in the creative field?
I was determined to work in the creative field! I originally planned to be a translator, but right after getting my language degree, I decided design was what I really preferred.

So, from languages to design. How did you discover, that graphical design is what you want to do?
I used to be one of those geeky kids who would download software and try to learn as much as possible about it. I’ve always been fascinated with generating digital graphic content. This part of me never really left, and that’s why I eventually decided to pick up design professionally.

Santino Calvo

From design to illustration. You are a multitalented man – photographer, graphic designer and an illustrator. To which of these your heart really belongs to?
Graphic design will always be the core foundation of what I’m really in love with. I’ve only taken up illustration quite recently, but it’s undeniably becoming one of my biggest passions, and I try to incorporate it into my everyday work as much as I can. Photography is something I haven’t been doing for a while now, but would definitely like to get back to.

There are two kind of illustrators – the ones who work with digital canvas and the ones who sketch everything by hand. Why have you chosen digital illustration?
Because simply put, traditional illustration is just not my thing. I feel much more confident around digital tools, although I do rely on handmade sketches to bring my ideas to life.

You mentioned ideas. From where do you get inspiration for new ideas?
People, fashion, pop culture and my own emotional experiences.

So, can you say that your creation reflects your state of mind?
Absolutely! Additionally, it helps me unclog my brain when it’s on overload.

How would you describe your illustration style to others?
Colorful, impactful, stylish, and right in between of minimalism and maximalism.

Your work uses a lot of women and has a sexual undertone. From where does it come from?
Women are a great source of inspiration in my work. Visually speaking, they give me a lot of room for creative experimentation and allow me to approach other collateral interests of mine, such as fashion. Whenever I have the chance I try to incorporate meaning into my work, and whilst it might seem to revolve mostly around mere sensuality, it ultimately aims at empowering the female figure.

Assuming that woman body is a tool for creating emotions, telling a story… What stories do you tell through your work?
Different ones! My own, other people’s, and sometimes I just reinterpret current events in illustrated form.

What aesthetic rules or personal preferences do you follow while creating an illustration? 
My compositions are strongly characterised by the presence of at least one human character. Usually, the main focus in on the characters I create, and rarely on anything else. I love distinctive, bold colours, and like to mix them up together as much as I can. I have a general preference for solid tints.

If you look at all the illustrations you have created, which one is your personal favourite?
A personal series called “Perils of Entanglement”. It consists of three simple, yet emotionally charged drawings that put on display some of the usual consequences of relationships.

How can we see more of your work?
You can visit my Behance, Instagram and Dribbble.
I’m also currently curating a weekly podcast initiative for advertising agency IDEA. Check my artworks at Idea360.

5 creatives Santino recommends to follow: 
Patrick Nagel

Solve Sundsbo
Ben Wiseman
Olimpia Zagnoli