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ANTHOLOGICA 192 pages, color, published by Psicografici Editore 2023
The story is already well known, it has been told several times by former The New York Times art director, now at The New Yorker, Nicholas Blechman, who – along with
Emiliano Ponzi – was the protagonist.
He even wrote it in the preface of Ponzi’s first monographic book, “10×10” (Corraini, 2011): “Illustrators are an eccentric breed, and Emiliano is no exception […] He is the first illustrator to have smuggled a kilo of Pecorino cheese from Milan to my desk at The New York Times”.
Perhaps, what not everyone knows is that the strange and highly appreciated gift was not sent from Milan, but from Rome, the actual home of that savory food. And the secret dispatcher, who eluded customs controls to accomplish the mission, was me.
Since I was often in New York in those years, Emiliano asked me the unusual favor of becoming his culinary mule. I completed the task, being both irritated and amused.
This anecdote – which I very much love to recall – punctually narrates the figure of Emiliano Ponzi through his many facets, human and professional.
First and foremost, it reveals an incredible desire to conquer, to cross boundaries, both earthly and rational, and to fantasize. Perhaps about the possibility of arriving in New York, the promised land inspiring so many of his beautiful images.
A dream come true in 2022, a little more than a decade after the Pecorino cheese episode, when he permanently moved to the American metropolis.
What is also noticeable is his attention to others and the importance Emiliano places on interpersonal relationships. He often and willingly dissolves the distance between professional and private. Plus, the desire to reach beyond what is conceivable, and to raise the bar higher and higher. Whether it is one’s artistic journey or a kilo of Pecorino cheese on The New Yorker art director’s desk.
Since then, a lot of water under the bridge has passed and – in Ponzi’s case – plenty of illustrations. His artistic work is extraordinarily vast and crosses equally all areas of visual communication, from editorial illustration to advertising, from animation to virtual reality. His mark is recognized worldwide, appreciated and published by major international newspapers and brands.
That is precisely why I decided to divide this book into five topic areas and present Emiliano Ponzi’s artistic journey as comprehensively as possible that focuses on a time frame ranging from 2015 until today. Illustrations for magazines, book covers, publications he created eventually as an author, posters and advertisements for international brands – Ponzi knows and masters all kinds of visual communication areas, each one having its own rules, that he manages to bend to his conceptual graphic art.
Leafing through this publication – possibly the most complete so far dedicated to Emiliano Ponzi – you will be immersed in the visionary and colorful world of an artist who will never cease to amaze you, page after page, image after image.