Erica Il Cane – Ericailcane engraving

Modart magazine recently approached me to share a few words about Ericailcane in one of their recent issues…

Ericailcane, or “Erica the dog” in English, is an artist who adds to the rich tradition of evocative nicknames that Italians have bestowed upon their artists. Just as Botticelli means “little barrels,” Uccello means “bird” (due to his affinity for painting birds), and Masaccio means “messy,” we now have Erica il Cane to join this esteemed list. Originally representing a group of artists, the name now refers to a singular artist based in Bologna, although his prolific output might lead one to suspect the involvement of multiple hands.

Ericailcane’s artistic repertoire encompasses a wide range of forms, from delicate etchings to expansive murals, as well as enchanting short films crafted through a combination of animated models and mixed media. Fortunate enough to be introduced to printmaking at a young age by his artist father, who owned a press, Ericailcane produced his first etching at the tender age of 8 and has continued honing his skills in this medium ever since. On a larger scale, he is gaining global recognition for his impressive murals and graffiti, often collaborating with fellow Bolognese artist Blu. Their combined visual ideas, spanning entire building facades, inject fresh vitality into the art of wall painting. As if these achievements were not enough, Ericailcane devotes entire months to the art of animation, reveling in its creative potential to blend not only drawing but also light, sound, time, and space.

Regardless of the medium employed, Ericailcane’s art serves as a portal into an alternate universe populated by extraordinary characters—creatures that seem to have escaped from the darkest corners of a fairytale book. While echoes of Alice in Wonderland and antique animal illustrations can be found within his style, his drawings are a unique fusion of original penmanship and a distinctive sense of humor.

Animal figures assume starring roles in his works, sometimes portrayed in anthropomorphic fashion—assuming human postures while dressed in Victorian attire—and other times depicted more naturalistically, even stripped down to bare bones and organs. In the spirit of fairytales, his images often carry allegorical messages for the human world, delving into themes of frailty, violence, greed, pride, and the full spectrum of human sins. Having grown up in a small town nestled in the Northern Italian mountains, Ericailcane developed a deep respect for nature, which instilled in him a sensitivity towards animals and issues surrounding their treatment. It is perhaps no surprise that he has chosen to embrace a vegetarian lifestyle.

Ericailcane’s art possesses a captivating power to captivate viewers, transporting them to realms where imagination reigns and where the profound complexities of our existence are explored through whimsical and thought-provoking visuals.