Monday, June 24, 2013

Interview with Max Galli

I am enthusiastically excited to have had the opportunity to interview the utterly talented Italian illustrator of all things mod - Max Galli! I found his artwork on Facebook not too long ago and became enthralled with his lively images depicting a very swinging Mod scene and of his vampy 60's pin up models.

Max was friendly enough to do an interview for Ahoy hoy and give us an insight into his fabulous, kaleidoscopic of hip illustrations! Enjoy!

Ahoy Hoy: Hello Max! I’m very excited to be able to pick your brain about your extraordinary artwork, the characters you’ve created and your love for 60’s culture! Out of all the things an illustrator could focus on you’ve created a fabulous little niche for yourself with these pictures depicting a very colorful, and hip swinging London. Tell me, what about the 60’s scene drew you to create such lively portrayals?
Max Galli: Hello, April! Well, it didn't start with the Scene at all. Basically, it happened because of my father. He used to be a photographer in Rome, during the mid 50s-mid 60s period. I grew up with this huge lot of pics of models, actresses, portraits and landscapes. That was exactly where it all started.

AH: A lot of your artwork features these very cool, fashionable, sensual women. What is it about the 60’s girl that is so appealing?
MG: women were very attractive and liberated, in the 60s. They knew exactly what they wanted, yet keeping their coolness and sexiness to a quite high level. They had very little to do with their mums. They used to express themselves through femininity, rather than arrogance like today, and they demanded respect from their same age group male counterparts, even with only their "modern" lifestile. They were truly emancipated and truly "girlish" at the same time. And that's why I feel fascinated by this kind of girls.

AH: Tell us about one of the main heroine in your work, Molly Jones. Where did you draw your inspiration to create her? Is Molly based on someone you’ve met in your life? What would she be like if she were a real person?
MG: well, there is a proper model for Molly Jones. A very good friend of mine, a girl photographer from Trento (northern Italy), called Monique. At the very beginning - to be honest - I didn't think about her as a source of inpiration. Then, I met her at a major Mod festival in Rimini, and I went: "oh, you look very similar to one of the carhacters I've created recently", and she said: "I'm pleased", and that's how it started. The other details came out from a plethora of mid-late 6ts spy-movies like 007 et al.

AH: While you were growing up in Rome was there much of a Mod scene if any? What are some of your favorite aspects of the Mod scene and subculture?
MG: yeah, there was a Mod scene in Rome (as there is now), since 1979. The aspects of 'Mod culture' - taken in its broadest meaning - I always liked are: music (in my specific case, 50s and 60s jazz, library music from mid 50s to mid 70s, and everything with a Hammond organ in it), clothes (again, anything from MadMen-ish early 60s style to very late 60s 'freakbeat' paisley attire), and, well, girls (both types, short-haired, chisel toed and long-haired, overknee booted, as I think they're all "with it"). Plus a few other factors like pop and op art, design, literature (not only Colin Mc Innes seminal masterpiece "Absolute Beginners", but also authors like Sartre, Cort√°zar, Joyce and any other one who could sound 'Mod' to me).

AH: From an artist perspective, who are some of your favorite illustrators?
MG: there are few names for you, and I think all of them were groundbreaking, in some way: Fritz Willis, Peter Max, Jim Steranko (USA), Guy Peellaert (Belgium), Guido Crepax, Marco Rostagno, Sergio Toppi, Andrea Pazienza (Italy), Esteban Maroto, Luis Roca (Spain), Jean-Claude Forest, Nicolas Devil (France), Leiji Matsumoto (Japan), and a number of illustrators I'm not sure about their nationalities...

AH: Seems like in the last few years there has been a resurgence of Mod. Show’s like Mad Men, bands like The Strypes and even athletes like Bradley Wiggins are bringing the Mod culture to the masses. What do you think about this Mod comeback and do you think it’s just a fad or that it’ll be here to stay?
MG: honestly, I think in some way it's a good thing for Mod culture to go mainstream, but, on the other hand the risk is that the very spirit, the very substance of Mod-ernism could be confused with any 60s-esque mass fashion. And that would be kind of 'diluting' that elitaristic, hedonistic, style-conscious particularism that resumes very well what "the whole mod thing" is all about.

AH: Where could fans in the United States (like myself) purchase your work? I would love to own some prints!
MG: I've got two illustrated books on Amazon and other online bookshops, at the moment, "MidnightTo Six", a collection of black and white line illustrations commented with short sentences, and "The Adventures Of Molly Jones", a proper Mod-pop-psych full colour comic book, both realized in English only, both very well known within and outside the Scene. I also accept commissions for original illustrations, as my printed posters are currently out of print. If you like to know a bit more about my art, you can visit these links: (my own website) (for my latest comic strip "Betty Beat" and Mod-related essays) (for 60s design, 60s music and 60s comics related articles and features)
If you like to own one of my original illustrations, you can contact me here:

Thank you Max!