The work of Milanese artist Nanà Dalla Porta is very much like that of nineteenth-century Franco-Montevidean poet Isidore Ducasse, the self-styled Comte de Lautréamont: whimsical, dark, stylized, slightly unsettling but slightly more wilfully absurd. And, of course, populated by octopods. At the heart of Lautréamont's bestiary is the magnificent mollusc, 'the most beautiful of nature's beasts', with its 'quicksilver form', its 'eight monstrous limbs, each long enough to hug the earth entire', and its 'seraglio of four-hundred suckers'. Our Nanà too was incurably smitten with the species in his youth, when he wrestled the tenacious critters bare-handed off the Sicilian coast.

 

Indeed, this is how he earned the nickname 'Oktopus'. But there's even more to the comparison. Like Lautréamont again, Nanà is the archetypal precocious pupil. Bored with his staid schoolmasters, he sketches their distorted caricatures in his lesson book. Shall they be vampires today? Grinning skulls? Or marauding Wookies? Such exercises in insouciance have yielded a fantastic portfolio of illustrations for prints, posters, t-shirts, comics, graphic novels and rock-and-roll album sleeves. Across various media and genres, Nanà's hand is recognizable by its intelligence, its dexterity and above all its formidable sense of humour.

 

 

Nanà has made Layout and storyboards for clients such as BMW, Barilla, Buitoni, Smart, Ferrero, Adidas and illustrations for Cts, Sky, Galbani and Mc Donalds.