If you saw Marcello Manca in his atelier, an old garage-turned-studio in the outskirts of Milan, Italy, you wouldn’t think this is a man who spent most of his life among the suit-wearing drones of the corporate world.
Covered in paint from head to toe, and surrounded by chaotic heaps of wood, cloth, cardboard and old newspapers, Manca looks the part of the typical artist. Yet, typical he is not.
Until 2009, Manca was a company man, working his way up the ranks of a Spanish pen manufacturer all the way to head of its Italian division. Then one morning, he started doodling on an old photograph he’d taken decades earlier…and never looked back.
“When I quit my job to concentrate on art, I felt incredibly liberated,” he explains. “It was like being able to breathe again after decades underwater. I painted ten pictures in one week without even realizing.”
“Now,” he adds with a laugh and a hint of a sigh, “it takes a little longer.”
Today, Manca makes a living as a mixed-media portrait artist, fusing painting and photography in a highly original way, on hybrid canvases he constructs himself out of random materials.
“Every moment in life is so layered and composite, there’s just no way to freeze it all onto a single flat surface. But by superimposing images, techniques and materials, I am trying to hint at this complexity.”