We found Alfred Pietroni browsing Tumblr, and when we saw his art, we could only imagine that we would like to see his creations on a real catwalk and see a show similar to the ones Alexander McQueen did years ago. Today, we speak more intimately with him and learn a little more about his fantasy kingdom and his 3D works that explore the purest mix between horror, mystery and fashion.
To start, could you tell us a little about your favourite video games and your inspirations?
A key memory is my older brother handing me Dark Souls for the first time and bluntly letting me know that this game would relentlessly punish me until I gave up––it did! But I didn’t give up, and what I found was one of the most visually inspiring, addictive and beautifully crafted games ever. The aesthetics nodding to familiar medieval fantasy visuals which I had grown up with but elevating them to darker and grim new heights which blew my mind and had a lasting visual impact on my art.
I also owe a lot to the Silent Hill series, which I remember playing at a really young age. The dark hallways, the enveloping mist, the gritty rusted textures and the faceless monsters penetrated my mind. The psychological concepts used to craft the world also had an effect on my understanding of art and world building. In a nod to this, a lot of my designs have quite personal or conceptual subtext, which I often don’t talk about. However, I am exploring the depth of my ideas further in my latest projects.
My favourite films are Alien, Blade Runner, Hellraiser, Akira and The Lord of the Rings. I also grew up watching a lot of anime like Ghost in the Shell, Cowboy Bebop, ell and Gundam and reading manga and comics like Berserk and Judge Dredd. These works and many more act like puzzle pieces in my art process as I sew them together with my own vision.
What is your favourite genre?
I would have to say dark fantasy. Some of my favourite and most inspirational artists are Giger, Bosch, Miura, Doré and Ito. Individuals who travel on the line of dark and light, not being afraid to delve into the depths of the abyss and hellish nightmares. I always draw back to this dark genre, coupled with horror, sci-fi and romance to amalgamate something personal to myself.
You have worked with some cool clothing brands. What is the part of your job that you like most when it comes to working?
Thank you! I have only been a freelance artist for a year, so it still feels very new to me and I have a long way to go. However, it brings me great happiness to be able to work with anyone who appreciates my art and the direction I am heading. Just being able to create art every day has always been my life goal, so it feels absolutely crazy that I am able to do that–I consider myself very lucky.
Would you like your art and designs to become part of a video game? Would you like to work for a specific gaming studio?
Yes and no. I, of course, take a lot of inspiration and have a lot of respect for game developers, designers and companies like Fromsoftware, Bethesda, and Square Enix. However, I am trying to push my art direction into the soul appreciation of visual arts as an ode to video game art, rather than making art for games. That is to say, I would still be blessed to work with any game company and be allowed the opportunity to breathe life into my designs within a game environment.
You have your own digital catwalk with your designs, could you tell us if there are specific designers who inspire you in your designs? Do you have any favourite clothing brand?
Yes, my digital catwalks are vehicles to push my clothing designs and step into the world of fashion design with my own vision. My favourite fashion designers are Alexander McQueen, Dilara Findikoglu, and Guo Pei. I am attracted to subversive, eccentric and dark fashion with strong shapes and conceptual themes. I love distressed and degraded materials. One of my favourite clothing brands to wear is Isabel Benenato.
You have some incredible T-shirt designs, do you plan to release other types of pieces in the future?
Thank you. Yes, I do plan to work on more pieces of clothing and expanding this side of my art in the future. Just trying to find my voice with this and how my visuals work in conjunction with clothing rather than just slapping them on a T-shirt. It takes time to craft a clothing identity but I want to expand into all mediums on my art journey and see where it takes me.
You like Silent Hill! For us, it is one of the best video game sagas. What are your thoughts on the latest announcements of the remake? Are you looking forward to the next releases?
I am definitely excited for the SH2 remake, but I feel that a lot of the charm from the original comes from the fixed camera angles, the low-res textures and the slightly clunky combat. I believe the new one is going to have an over-the-shoulder perspective and, obviously, there will be huge graphical enhancements and modernisation. This can be a bad thing sometimes, as it loses the soul of the game. But I am still looking forward to it! And if they can pull off the same level of improvement that the Resident Evil team did with the RE4 remake, then I will love it. As well as all of the other games/announcements, we have to look forward to in the SH universe.
We think one of the most important parts of an artist is their creative process. We see you have a wide list of important names, so we are curious to know which steps you follow when you have a project ahead?
Honestly, a lot of the time I just dive into projects head first. I tend to look at certain pieces of inspiration that could be relevant to a project before and during the process –films, books, music, art shows, etc. Like a lot of other artists. But a lot of the time, I try to rely purely on my own ideas and heart when designing, and allow subconscious inspiration and thoughts to guide the direction.
With digital 3D work, for example, I might have saved a couple of different images or reference points beforehand that I can glance at, but often I will allow my designs to form organically and see where I am taken during the creative process. I tend not to do sketches, but I will have a general concept, atmosphere or composition in my head to give direction to myself. My art process always feels very experimental and emotion based; if it does or doesn’t feel right, I will know in my gut.
Moving to a more technical question: which tools do you prefer to use in order to give life to your works?
Currently, I am just focusing on ZBrush (digital sculpting) and Photoshop. Recently, I have also been enjoying experimenting with Midjourney (AI) to see how it can enhance certain pieces or add something I believe I am missing from my repertoire. In the Red Mountain series that I am currently working on, I have been using it to generate skyscapes, then digitally editing and going back in with digital painting touches. My tool pallet is quite focused, and I believe I can push my art a lot further still with the media I currently have at my disposal.
Have you faced difficulties on your path? Has it been hard for you to reach your personal style?
Yes. I have faced a lot of difficulties with my creative development; art as a pathway is an internal struggle. My personal style, or what I recognise now as my personal style, took a long time to develop, and of course, it is still developing and evolving. I definitely had a lot of years of making really terrible and pointless art. I am generally quite happy with the art I am making currently, however, I still feel like I am on a long journey towards some unknown destination.