Mingling styles in Tangier


Two artistic Italians opened a studio named Atelier des Italiens in Tangier, Morocco. They represent ‘global art’, a pop art line of art works and artistic decoration. Their symbol is the Pop Khamsa, a new version of the Hand of Fatima. We talked with the designers of this creative studio, Dario Iosimi and Laura Li.

Can you tell me more about Atelier des Italiens?

“Our art studio was created in April 2014 in Tangier, specializing in graphic art and decoration.  Mainly, our art takes iconic imagery from pop culture, vintage advertisements and art history. We process all these elements using the digital collage technique, reworked in a pictorial way. Our main goal is the creation of something that breaks down various stereotypes that crop up on art, for example, why I can’t mix black & white with bright pop colours, abstract with figurative and so on? Why a painting should have a fixed format or fixed to the wall? Pop Khamsa, our sculpture in transparent resin, shaped as a Fatima Hand, is designed to be hung.”

What are two Italians doing in Tangier, Morocco?

“We are Italians but globetrotters by vocation; our roots lie in Italy, obviously we are bound to our country but we have always been felt the need to open our horizons, learning more about other culture. Individually and together we have travelled extensively in India, Greece, Brazil and Morocco. At the moment we live in Tangier, this North African city, with its cosmopolitan historical and artistic heritage, is perfect for evolving our artistic language into a fusion of various cultural elements, from the Western, Moroccan and the Middle Eastern world. Morocco, at this time, is a very exciting place to live, a country that is striking an effective balance between tradition and innovation.”

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Your work is very much inspired by various colourful cultural elements. Can you tell me more about this fascination?

“We like to define our style as Global Art, a bridge between different cultures, between analogue and digital, past and future, time and space. Our ambition is to break through conventional thoughts and lead the viewers into a dreamy, symbolic world, where they can experience a change in the perception of reality or just enjoy recognizing the various multicultural baselines. All these elements are mixed up with bright colours, humour and optimism, which is, in times like these,  what  people really need!”

What inspires you?

“Pop Art is a strong reference for us, of course, but inspiration could come from anywhere, without cultural limits.”

Everything is homemade? What‘s the process of the production?

“All of our artworks are produced in the studio, we mainly work with a computer, but we use traditional media too, reworking them in our own way. The Pop Khamsa, our best invention, is a combination of ancient sculpture technique (developed with new materials) and images previously composed with the most used graphics software, both then encased in transparent resin.”

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What’s your art background?

“Both of us have been trained as artists, Dario is a graduate in sculpture of the Art Academy in Rome and started his career in 1983 as a sculptor, but he gained experience in various fields such as performance, video and festival art direction. Laura is a graduate in Digital Graphics and has a master in fashion design from the Domus Academy in Milan. Since 1994 she has worked as an illustrator and graphic designer and since 2001 she creates artworks mixing traditional techniques and computer art.”

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What can we buy from the Atelier?

“Pop Khamsa is our flagship product but Atelier’s catalogue offers a large selection of postcards, artprints and placemats. We work a lot with personalized orders too.”

Who are your customers?

“Our customers are very heterogeneous, we are lucky, Tangerines are open to new things, and besides, Tangier has lots of foreign residents and visitors, especially French and Spanish. We receive much positive feedback from all over the world, Arab countries, North and South America, so we are optimistic that it will be possible to expand our public.”

What are your plans for the future?

“Working and just more work! We have been less than one year in this business, at the moment are deeply committed to promoting our art. We are looking for a better distribution channel for our artworks, so indeed we take this opportunity offered by your magazine to invite all to put their trust in Atelier des Italiens! Trust in Global Art!”


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