The Miles Davis Online Interview: Ricardo Cavolo


(Artist Series, Volume 8)

I’m not much of a power user of Flickr. But I have been known to spend hours scrolling through the Miles Davis photographs. A lot of people have posted a lot of terrific Miles Davis content – and for that I’m grateful. And it’s via Flickr where I have discovered some very talented folks who have either painted, sketched, photographed, sculpted or illustrated the jazz legend.

One such artist is Ricardo Cavolo, a graphic designer and artist from Madrid who features some truly wonderful artwork on his official website. Cavolo covers a variety of striking themes and subjects in his illustrations, but I was most attracted to his superb music collection, where the likes of Louis Armstrong, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Sinatra and, of course, Miles Davis show up as featured subjects of Cavolo’s artistic endeavors.

I tracked down the artist recently to get some info on his artistic style and why he chose to illustrate Miles Davis.

Miles Davis Online: Let’s talk about your illustration of Miles Davis.
Ricardo Cavolo: I think he is a legend, and as a legend he is powerful enough for being illustrated… And the second reason is that I like his music, of course.

Miles Davis Online: You’ve tackled other music legends like The Who, Sinatra, Louis Armstrong and Hendrix in your artwork. Is there something about musicians that you’re drawn to?
RC: When somebody is a legend, a music legend in this case, he or she has a lot of things that captivate us. And all of us know these legends, and it’s easier for me to connect with a lot of people when I draw some famous people that everyone loves. Most people will like at least a little bit, not because of my illustration; they will like it because it’s Elvis, or the Beatles or Miles Davis. It’s a kind of strategy. I like to draw in my own way and style, but I like when people like my work too.

Miles Davis Online: How long did it take to finish the Miles Davis illustration? Do you have to use certain types of pencils, pens, etc.. to create such beautiful colors?
RC: I need to finish my illustrations in a few hours. I like to work fast. If I spend more time that I think I need the work will go down. I work by instinct, and I need to finish my idea before the interior fire is gone.

I like to work with pencil and later with brushes – to get these colors it’s necessary to have good color inks and watercolors. Using good quality color inks creates work that is really alive and full of light. And of course it’s necessary to use a very good watercolor paper.

Miles Davis Online: How would you describe the ‘style’ of your illustrations? Your use of color and form is very exciting!
RC: I’ve been always obsessed with colors. I always want to get an alive character or composition with powerful colors. I think it’s a primitive instinct of us to enjoy the colors. So I try to connect first of all with people with the colors, and when this person is trapped, I can tell the story I want with my characters or compositions.

I try to create my own style, and not to be contaminated with the illustration style that are the hype in each moment of the life. I mean, if I follow the cool style in each age, ok, maybe my work can be more viewed and appreciated for most of people, but I think that I wouldn’t enjoy this work. And if I’m not sincere with my work, it’s like drawing smoke – sooner or later it will go to never come back. So, yes, I think I have my personal style, and I enjoy my work.

Miles Davis Online: Favorite Miles Davis album?
RC: I think I love the first album. I always prefer first albums of artists. I will say that my favorite series of albums by Miles Davis are from Prestige and the Miles Davis Quintet.

You can find more artwork from Ricardo Cavolo on Flickr.
Artwork is © Ricardo Cavolo

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