Italian Version

There is a self-definition of Aldo Drudi that I have always liked, “Motorcycling is graphics, even the riders draw lines. I am the one who colors the speed”.

I was sorry to have miss the Aldo Drudi‘s exhibition held at the ‘Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia’ in Milan and therefore, recently, knowing that there was another one in Riccione at The Art Box, I didn’t think twice about rushing down to attend it and despite the four-hour drive and a few heavy rainfalls on the highway, I’d say it was really worth it.
Happy is the exact term.

Some time ago I had seen a poster of his made for the “Festival dello Sport” and I remember that I could not stop looking at it, enchanted. I have always been attracted to “artist posters” and Italy has a very long tradition in this sense and I remember that moment very well.
The colors had struck me a lot, I’ve always thought that from a graphic or a designer, who knows how to draw well you would expect that (right or wrong) but knowing how to blend and mix colors together in perfect harmony… well, that, in my opinion, is a gift.

In that poster the graphic sign and the multiple colors were a perfect, cheerful, joyful and harmonious whole.
Try to imagine having a poster hanging on a wall of your house, you wake up in the morning to start your day (in my case a sloth is a splinter in comparison and the neurons are hidden for a few minutes) and you take a look at the poster and immediately you feel better, you feel joyful and ready for the day ahead. This is how I feel when I look at it.

I am not an expert in modern art and may never become one actually… I belong to the category of people that, when invited to an art show, try to show a neutral facial expression but in actuality think: “please,no!” “Can’t take this” etc.

Because of that, I try to document myself ahead (on the artist and his work alike), to avoid arriving there to admire work that might make me think “if I received it as a gift I would sell it the next day” or “I would not even keep in my dark basement”.

This was my first impact with the creativity of Aldo Drudi, a mix of beauty, harmony and joy.

Let me be clear, I knew him by name, he is a designer known all over the world and a versatile artist who brought the meaning of “Made in Italy” to higher meanings worldwide, as the winner of the ‘Compasso d’Oro’ which is not an acknowledgment that could be accomplished by most , but I had never dwelt too much on his works other than very superficially.

A short parenthesis: the ‘Compasso d’oro Prize’ is an important recognition that is awarded by the Association for Industrial Design with the aim of rewarding and enhancing the quality of Italian design. This is the oldest and most prestigious industrial design award in the world.

The title of the exhibition “Aldo Drudi racing Woo-Doo” in the beautiful and artistic location of the design hotel The Art Box in Riccione is closely linked to an ambitious communication project #RACEVOLUTION 2022, which started on the occasion of the Grand Prix of San Marino and the Riviera di Rimini.

What is #RACEVOLUTION 2022?

An occasion for show to the world that lifestyle that has made Romagna a successful tourist destination: a lifestyle made by warm, passionate, dynamic, smashing desire to throw oneself with open arms towards the future without forgetting one’s roots. For fifteen years, the Grand Prix has been a celebration to sponsor joy of living and unfold to the world“.

 “In the new manifesto of the San Marino Grand Prix and the Rimini’s Riviera, Aldo Drudi translates this universe of values ​​into images, the fastness, the explosion of colors, the disruptive freedom of imagination are the more evident aspect of a manifesto that is a tribute to the imagination. Why limit yourself to a faithfully but didactically characterization of a rider, a motorcycle, a curve? Better to leave the task of synthesizing to the imagination, telling the thousand faces of a sport and a territory that don’t allow themselves to be held back by conventions. Reality is not imitated, but freely interpreted”. (Marianna Chiaraluce – The Art Box)

The exhibit:

  • The graphics that characterize the ambitious #RACEVOLUTION communication project accompanied by videos and photos created in collaboration with Marco Poderi Studio
  • Original handmade designs
  • Helmets and suits of the most famous MotoGP riders
  • The helmets made for the crews of Team Prada and Team Emirates (America’s Cup 2021)
  • The legendary sky blue DUCATI PANIGALE of Enea Bastianini and Fabio Di Giannantonio who participated in the “Race of Champion” of WDW 2022
  • The six RACING WOO-DOO masks specially created for Francesco Bagnaia, Enea Bastianini, Marco Bezzecchi, Luca Marini, Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo.

Before visiting the exhibition, the press conference was held to present the #RACEVOLUTION communication project, present:

Andrea Albani (Managing Director Misano World Circuit)

Emanuele Burioni (Director Apt Services Emilia-Romagna)

Marco Poderi (video maker who collaborates with Drudi Performace to make Aldo Drudi‘s creativity ‘visual’)

Daniela Angelini (mayor of the Municipality of Riccione)

Chiara Astolfi (director of Visit Romagna)

During the visit to the exhibition, we also had the opportunity to have a chat with Aldo Drudi, whom we thank for this:

1-Aldo Drudi was born in? Let’s pretend I don’t know anything about you.

1-I am from the last town of the romagna region, Cattolica (class of 1958)

 2-What was your educational background?

2-Art school in Pesaro and an Art Academy in Florence, for two years

3-Was this path your free choice? Because in my day, art school was considered “for slackers and drug addicts” and we were often told: “study accounting and you’ll find a job work right away”… Did your parents support this choice?

3-Even during my time the “crazy ones” went there but it was a place of great energy. My parents have always helped and supported me in developing my natural predisposition to drawing and therefore, instead of sending me to work, they decided to let me study and they also enrolled me at Academy in Florence to be able to further refine the gift I had.

4-But when did you realize you have this passion for drawing?

4-Immediately. As a kid in school when I got grades, I scored pretty high and so I realized that maybe “I was good at doing that”

5-But is there a particular episode? Maybe they had given you a box of paints at Christmas…

5-I can’t say exactly, I remember that my parents ran a hotel and in the summer they were involved in the management of it 24 hours a day and when I wasn’t at the beach or alone, I started drawing and coloring on the blank sheets that they used for customer relations

6-And how did Aldo Drudi link to the world of motorcycling? How and when does this adventure begin?

6-The truth is that I didn’t have the money to buy a racing motorcycle so I decided to work for the racing industry, making my skills and natural predisposition for drawing available to them. I was in my early twenties.

I started with the first little jobs and then continued thanks to a series of meetings with key people such as Graziano Rossi, Valentino’s father. I started slowly, in the world of racing, which was fertile ground at the time.

7-The first helmet was for Graziano Rossi then?

 7-Yes, a dear friend, then there was the first helmet made for Alessandro Gramigni, a Tuscan rider who won the World Championship and then from there I worked with a lot of riders and at a certain point I was recognized at an international level from other riders, Spaniards, Americans, Australians and I am still doing it!

8-A curiosity. Today are the riders looking for you saying “I want a Drudi’s helmet”?

8-It’s the attendance of the paddock, we meet, we hang at the races and therefore… “Are the riders looking for me” ? Well let’s say that now it’s more frequent, it happens more often because I stopped going to all of the races and I only work with a series of riders, the ones with whom I can build a bit of a relationship. Now there’s too much competition, and it can be even a little too confusing, in terms of graphics, in the MotoGP world championship, so I took a step back and when the riders want to work with us it’s because they believe in it and we are naturally happy to do so.

9-But how do you feel today, having reached an international level visibility, that it is sought after and that Aldo Drudi has crossed the Romagna border? I know that you are not a “sborone” (full of yourself) as they say around here, but on the contrary, that you “fly low” and always with that modesty and humility that, personally, I believe those more matures have. It is not just my opinion: Aldo Drudi is very well known and sought after

9-Thank you. Good question. Earlier in the press conference I was saying something intelligent, not my quote, but from Federico Fellini. He said that “to be international you have to do the things you are comfortable with, within your culture”. I’m delighted to receive these awards but I’m from Romagna, I could never live far from these place, therefore it was a simple path for me.

10-Well it’s a pride! Going to the USA, where maybe they don’t know of many others, but if they hear the name Aldo Drudi you hear them say: “Oh yes, the one who makes helmets”, doesn’t it make you proud?

 10-Well, I won’t hide from you that once I was in Australia and I saw my helmets on display and it was a great emotion, mixed with pride

11-Is there an artist who inspired you in your work as a designer? Not necessarily related to motorcycling, of course

11-I like color and I remember that as a kid I used to see paintings by Ligabue, Mirò or Picasso himself and I was enchanted. But it’s actually simpler than that. I had attended art school and in those days our senses were active, in constant ferment, hearing, sight… Now instead we are leaving everything to the computer, to the mobile phone. You take photos that you will probably never see and it is as if almost nothing is stored in our brain. The memory is now that of the mobile phone or computer. Now we refer to that memory. In my time I was lucky, I’m from a generation in which memory was that of the brain. I don’t want to be an art critic or enthusiast and make it harder than what is is, as I said before, but I had my eyes open then and I saw certain things and I would remember them all. Stored away but vivid memories.

12-If today you were to give some advice to young people who want to become graphic designers or designers, what would you say?

12- To draw by hand. The first drawing must be done by hand and don’t go looking for the incipit on your mobile phone or on the Internet. Absolutely work with your imagination on a blank sheet and this is perhaps the only opportunity to be original.

13-And motivational? Motivational advice?

 13-It’s a much tougher time for kids now than it was when I was young because, as i said, there were so many opportunities in those years and I found my way, but now it’s much harder because of inflation and a lot of supply, and yes maybe a lot of tools but they have leveled everything to a mediocre level, so in my opinion a strong natural drive must be followed. When I happen to talk to kids I say this thing “drawing like dancing and singing are natural impulses” even if you’re not an artist, you don’t know how to draw perfectly, that’s okay too… graffitis were done by people who they didn’t have academies or schools behind them it was just a primordial instinct

 14-As I always say, you almost expect it from a graphic designer or designer who knows how to draw well, who knows how to combine colors, that’s a gift. Therefore I believe that Aldo Drudi has this gift. The #RACEVOLUTION poster is an example of this. Do you agree ?

14-Thanks for the compliment. As I said before, I have always been attracted to colours, there is also something primordial in this poster, it is almost like graffiti because the sign is not sophisticated

15-Has there ever been in your life (without naming names), in your career as an artist, someone who has ever said words to you like “you should forget it, why even bother, find another job”? That could have been demotivating?

15-Yes, certainly, someone yes. Once I heard: “When Valentino Rossi stops racing, Aldo Drudi will stop working“. But I think they didn’t know me well enough, they didn’t know that my story started a long time ago. I’m now over 45 years old and Valentino is a part of my life because he grew up in my house. For me it’s Valentino, he’s not the 9 times world champion and while someone said that unfortunate sentence,… I’m still here doing it

 -But Valentino didn’t give himself to motorboating, it seems to me…

No! He is now a car driver

-exactly, but Aldo Drudi has also ‘customized’ some boats…

Ah yes (laughs) but I continue to work with him with great pleasure, because Valentino has a name that can help to raise the bar.

This happens, as I understood it over time, because when you deal with a champion or those soon to become one, in hindsight, you realize that it is much easier to work with them.

So the nice helmet, nice graphics are not only due to the graphic designer but also to the person you are making it for, in this case Valentino was the best that could be had or perhaps only his father Graziano could better than him.

Valentino Rossi comes out of any scheme, he is not classifiable.

Valentino understood that he could use a tool that we all have but that we almost never use, which is the imagination. In the things we have developed together that are striking, colourful, you apply your imagination easily, which clearly he did in his life, in his way of racing.

 I thought there was a close link between graphics and motorcycling. I truly believe it.

 -because Valentino represent the rider’s fantasy.

Without a doubt, imagination can make the difference. There are many graphics designers and many could  draw a perfect, but fantasy can be compared to what Valentino had in the final laps, and what he had in interpreting the race.

I will say it again, that it was a privilege to have collaborated with him and I hope I have given back to him what he has given and transmitted to me, and still does to this date.

Our brief interview with Aldo Drudi ends here and I hope in the future to be able to do a more in-depth one and perhaps with more time available. A crowded exhibit is perhaps not the ideal place and moment for an interview.

It was also improvised and unrehearsed, but It still triggered some definite conclusions.

Have you ever had an idol or in any case a person you admire and meeting him and exchanging a few words to be disappointed? Aldo Drudi did not disappoint at all.

He is a humble person, approachable but authoritative, very calm, who knows how to smile and when he speaks he looks you in the eyes.

This means a lot. In addition, knowing how to relate to others (in my opinion) makes the difference between one of the many and a great one. Thanks again Aldo Drudi
Gabriella Ruggieri for 1blog4u

Visit the Gallery-1 and the Gallery-2
ph.Vaifro Minoretti

P.S. Aldo Drudi is among the finalists of the ‘Compasso d’Oro’ 2024 with the Misano World Circuit Project in Misano Adriatico

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