For his entire life Saviantoni has aspired to be an illustrator, playing on Microsoft Paint and the usual crayon sets in his childhood. However, thanks to his breakout on the Instagram world with his unique take on illustration, pixel art, he is now considered to be one. His manipulation of the pixels to create both famous and original characters, is certainly attributable to his success online, and despite many of his creations lacking the detail often used to portray characters, he still manages to do so very clearly.

We interviewed Saviantoni about what it was like to be an artist, his life and his thoughts about his own work.

You mention on your website that you had always loved drawing? What led you from drawing to specialising in pixel art?

Saviantoni Manolo: I always loved drawing since I was a kid, and since I can remember I always hoped to work in the field. Initially, I wanted to become an illustrator, but I never managed to tackle that field. A few years ago I started dedicating my spare time to vector illustrations entirely, but, honestly, I didn’t exactly stand out. There are so many artists a lot more qualified than myself in this field. And then, by chance, I started testing my faith with pixel art in April 2014. There was a strike in the Termini train station and while I waited for the first train, I whipped out my phone and decided to download an app to make pixel art. So I downloaded it and began creating various characters, experimenting new styles, trying to find my own and by mid July 2014, I managed to draw a rabbit for fun. From that moment an entire series of animals came to life, until the creation of the characters responsible for my standing was complete.

In what way did you family influence you in your artistic journey?

S.M.: I am surrounded by beautiful girls: my wife and my three amazing daughters. The funniest thing was getting home at night and asking my daughters to guess who those characters were. I noticed that my daughters were not the only ones enjoying my drawings, so I thought I could post more on my Instagram feed: famous personalities, cartoons, made up characters, all embodying the style I created. Lots of people loved this, so I kept on doing it, since I liked the idea of people enjoying my creations. I am also trying to include pixel art in my job and my colleagues seem to like it…I really hope this will give me future professional opportunities, I would like to associate my name with this art form.

How do you choose to illustrate and create the images of characters that you do?

S.M.: My works are usually inspired by video games, films, tv series and cartoons (especially from the ‘80s). Generally speaking, I love everything kids might find funny and interesting.

How did your Italian roots influence your art?

S.M.: I live in Rome so I am surrounded by art and beauty and this is extremely inspiring and useful for my everyday work. But, speaking about The Oluk project, it’s not like there’s much of Italy in it. I was a real “arcader” during my childhood in the 80’s, so loved everything that came from outside Italy.

Do you think that art in general is becoming more digital?

S.M.: Generally speaking I believe “art” is not just drawings or illustrations, or paintings and sculptures; “art” can be everything that is done when someone is moved by his heart. Maybe today it’s easier to be a “digital” artist because, as in my case, it can be easier to be noticed. I never thought I would become an artist, despite always feeling like a creative individual since I was a child. One day, however, when I decided to bring my pixel characters to life for fun, I realized I was actually considered an artist, but only thanks to the followers who started referring to me as one.

In your work, which of your characters which you’ve depicted is your favorite?

S.M.: The white rabbit I decided to use as my logo. It is the first character I drew in pixel art, and is the one I have to thank for being known by so many people.

Finally, what do you think the advantages of graphic design are over more traditional art forms, such as painting?

S.M.: Every form of art has it own benefits and limits; if you think about my case, i just draw something with simple squares; the thing that matters is passion. It is thanks to the passion I have in making these works that people find them so enjoyable, and that I can now declare “I’m a Pixel Artist”.