About Simo...

On a warm summer afternoon back in 2007,

not knowing what to do, I picked up a pencil

and started drawing for the very first time since I was a kid.

What came out wasn't good...nor bad...but nonetheless,

it changed my life forever.

 

I've always been fascinated by the world behind films,

in particular art departments and set design.

I wanted to be a part of it.

By the time I had to choose a University in Italy

there wasn't much that could lead me

directly to that kind of path.

My best option was Cinema and Media Engineering

at the Polytechnic of Turin.

It wasn't exactly the journey I expected

but it definitely helped me grow and

figure out what I wanted to do...

and no it was not to become an engineer.

 

After graduating in 2008

I spent several months studying by myself

how to draw and paint through the help

of several dvds from the Gnomon Workshop.

I remember endless days and nights locked in my room,

doing nothing but trying to emulate

the works of professionals that,

back then, I considered my "gurus".

My passion for art was growing

and so was my young and naive portfolio,

which was then selected by someone I will never forget.

In September 2009 I found myself on an airplane

to Hollywood where I was sent to attend

the well known Gnomon School of Visual Effects.

 

There I focused on 3D, VFX and Digital Sets

but my main goal was to become a set designer,

maybe a crossdisciplinary one,

able to speak different artistic and technical languages,

always for the sake of a better communication

between the different departments of a production.

It was a very ambitious goal for a new post graduate,

so after two years of studying and working as an intern,

I decided that I had to start somewhere and,

since all I knew was that painting made me happy,

I created a matte painting demo reel and sent it all over the world.

 

One summer morning of 2011, when I least expected it,

I received an email. It was Scanline VFX

offering me my very first job as a matte painter.

Few days later I arrived in the beautiful city of Munich.

It became my home and it gave me the chance,

among other cities in Germany and Europe,

to work with companies like Trixter, Look FX,

MPC, Rise FX and Mackevision to name a few.

Ironically enough, as I came back from Hollywood

they brought Hollywood back to me.

I had the opportunity to work on films as

Game of Thrones, Cloud Atlas, Snowpiercer, Pompeii,

Exodus, Captain America, Independence Day 2

and last but not least The Grand Budapest Hotel.

For this one I will always be immensely grateful,

for not only the chance of finally serving the set design

through my matte paintings and the incredible satisfaction

of receiving an Oscar for Best Production Design in 2015,

but especially for the pleasure

of being part of a wonderful movie

that makes me believe that cinema as a form of art,

the one I prefer, still exists.

 

My career has definitely changed since then

and my reality too but my greater dream

of working in art departments, of designing sets,

of creating spaces that can tell a story hasn't.

All it takes, after all, is to pick up a pencil

and life can change forever...

 

 

 

 

© 2019 Simone De Salvatore, all Rights Reserved.

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