The mind blowing worlds created by London-based Italian artist Stefano Ronchi aka RONCH are instantly eye catching.

In the beginning there was a magnifying glass. The place was the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, Milan, where Ronchi studied. Here, he turned this basic tool into a medium. What Ronchi saw in that lens was indeed a lot more than a basic tool, it was the magic hat of Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter. RONCH ’s meticulous maximalism and his miniaturistic approach allowed him to create stories within stories, like a Russian Matryoshka. As he would say, everything is out there “if you just pay attention to every square inch of the work”.

RONCH ’s paintings first provoke a feeling of pure astonishment and then one of curiosity mixed with discomfort, similar to certain dreams, so full of symbols and details that you can barely remember when you wake up. But somehow they leave you with a feeling, an idea.

Filling the canvas is a parallel universe filled with bizarre animals, acrobatic monsters and midgets going about their daily routines, surrealistic sceneries à la Salvador Dali. But despite the use of glossy colors, symbols from pop culture (a disquieting Mickey Mouse’s head for instance) and humorous medieval themes based around the jester, the king and the villain, the message beyond the paintings is a sarcastic yet crude criticism of contemporary society.


Francesca Tassini spoke to RONCH about his work.

Stefano, who and what are your major influences?

For sure Salvador Dali, Hieronymus Bosch, Moebius, Agostino Arrivabene, the Italian ‘500 art, but also videogames like Grand Theft Auto and music. My favorite bands are Korn, the Queen, Neffa (an Italian rapper and funky music singer).

What images do you wish your art to create in people’s minds?

My paintings are metaphors, anagrams, brain teasers that force you to see beyond, observe patiently, like I do in my daily life in order to get inspired. What I do is basically give birth to new meanings, starting from everything I notice around me.

If I were to give you a magnifying glass, what would you see in your works?

Well, there are definitely multiple levels. Through the lens you can find the solution to an enigma, literally “walking” with the eyes into the scenery, almost hearing the sound of the characters and figures – a sort of crackling. As you look closer, the more you find new situations and paradox. Perhaps a tiny rune is battling against a dragon on the farthest hill, peeking behind the window of a castle upon a mountain, maybe you can see someone pleading for his life. It’s a kind of mental masturbation, in a way.

What are the main themes or motifs in your work?

The sickness of the modern world, social relations disrupted, hypocrisy.

How do you make these themes visible to the audience?

I create a chiasm [a rhetorical or literary figure in which words, grammatical constructions, or concepts are repeated in reverse order], where the urban contexts are dismembered in fancy architectures and figures, provocatively juxtaposed with no apparent order.

Where did you first get your inspiration from?

Mostly from childhood memories. I also have recurring obsessive nightmares. Very often they offer good material to work on.

Can you tell us something about your process and the techniques you use?

At first, I draw in my sketchbook. Then I prepare the canvas or board (usually small or medium size) with chalk and sandpaper. After finishing the drawing, I fill it in with acrylic. The next step is the underpainting. I only add color after that, defining the lights and shadow. And then to finish things off I add brilliant varnish gloss.




You can find more information about the artist on his Web Site:

And the Fan Page:
Images Courtesy: Stefano Ronchi – RONCH

Written by: Francesca Tassini

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