Meet the Artist | Michele Bagnod
We met with one of our artists Michele Bagnod, and asked him about his childhood, career paths and why being a true artist is important.
Originally I’m coming from Ivrea, North of Italy. I moved to London in 2010, so it’s been 8 years. I wouldn’t call my hometown small, but because I used to DJ there, I knew lots of people, so leaving my circle of friends behind was quite sad. I also moved when I was 34, and that is is a completely different feel to when you move at 18.
My home is London now, but I do miss the side of Ivrea when you would walk around the village and there always was someone to say hi to. I didn’t even need to invite friends for an aperitif, I just knew that I will end up meeting someone I know in the city.
I remember my childhood and youth spending time in the nature as I grew up in a farm. I was a creative child as long as I remember. My dad used to work a lot in his laboratory with wood, so I would come and build things with him. During free time I listened a lot to music and was really into drawing.
When I was young I decided to pursue a music career, and become a DJ. Of course, my parents thought that wasn’t a real job, but I was very determined. I started playing when I was 17, that was in 1993. There were not that many DJs at that time, not like now. I was quite lucky, and straight away felt that I want to play techno. I was surrounded by local DJs who were older than me, so I learned a lot. With time, I got my own time space, in the end of the night, only for an hour. It all started when it was a full night, and lots of people showed up, but the DJ who was supposed to be playing was late, so this guy, who worked at the club, announced that I will be playing instead. That was my baptism.
And then it all escalated from there, I went to play in Ibiza, Bora Bora. Started having my followers. It was very serious about it, I would spend every Friday at the records shop, listening to vinyl. I think I did very well for that small city.
Initially, I arrived in London with an idea of DJ career here, and I did have a chance to play at clubs like The Egg, Ministry of Sound, Russian Bar and others. I remember once I played this track at The Egg that turned the club upside down, and people were coming to the DJ booth to kiss me. That was a great time.
I lived in different parts of London. The first area I arrived to was Dollis Hill, we used to joke that it’s not even on a map. Later I was living in Whitechapel. I remember I was quite inspired by this venue in my area, it had lots of weddings happening there, and occasionally I would see these beautiful African women in their traditional clothing, it was very new to me.
London has this hectic energy, that when you arrive it can feel unusual, but whenever you leave London after being here for a while, it’s inevitable that you will start missing it. Whenever I’m in not in London I get restless and think to myself “Ok, so what can I do?” London is very stimulating.
It is also so huge, after living in East London, I moved to the South West. So this saying “you change a family when you change house” applies to me. I don’t see my friends from East as often as before, and my day to day life changed quite significantly.
I am inspired by West London, especially Kings road. It is interesting to see it on Saturday, with all the guys showing off their cars, and women their clothes. I enjoy observing this festival of vanity in a way. I used to live around that area too, so imagine me going to Tesco to buy some milk in a simple t-shirt outfit when everyone is so perfect there.
Nevertheless, it’s a great area, I get inspiration from my daily life, I often work from home, and some times I go to Design Museum. I’m quite lucky to be living in the center of all these museums and galleries.
At some point here in London, I started getting this feeling that I’m growing old. When you are 40 and are surrounded by young people all the time, there comes a point when you want to take a break from all of this. I needed something different. Working part-time and also playing in clubs at night was quite time-consuming and exhausting. There were times when I didn’t sleep for two days in a row because I had to play a gig and then fly back to London and prepare something else. It was hard to combine all of these things together. However, at that time I was still into illustration and was creating flyers for my events, so people would recognize my personal touch. I was still working on my image, because I felt it’s important to have a certain vibe about yourself, for example, Ed Banger, when you see their covers you recognize them straight away, so visual side of being a dj was very enjoyable for me.
I guess it was a transition from playing music to creating my artworks. My girlfriend was very inspiring and supportive, so I decided to focus on my art. Gradually after setting up a website, I started painting, drawing, and started getting more and more jobs.
I think I’m very lucky to be working on my own art right now. I had experience working in a typography in Italy for 3 years, so we would publish books and cover all sides of the process, from typing in a handwritten copy to binding, laying out and printing. When I worked in that studio, I noticed that you spend more time editing and fixing things for people, and many times your taste is not the same as the taste of those around you. So in a way, you lose that creative streak.
I don’t like limiting myself, on my website you can see I use different outlets, painting, illustration, graphic design. It’s a story of my life, I grow like that. My vibe is that if I feel like I want to paint – I paint, and if I feel like drawing, I draw.
I get bored quite easily if I do one thing all the time. The result is what feeds my soul.
I like imperfections in the moments, and in everything I do because it makes it more human. So I think it doesn’t matter if something is not the right way, it's all the process and all the effort that I put in trying to make it, that’s what matters.
I put my love into my works, so they carry that in them. I truly believe in energy. I enjoy the idea of someone hanging my works in their space and them benefiting from that, if my colors or drawings make people smile, make them feel better, that’s great.