Dario Cataldo talks: Art
Team Sky's Italian star talks about his passion and artistic endeavours off the bike.
Last Updated: 24/08/14 6:45pm
As we continue our series focusing on our riders' interests away from their bikes, we've caught up with Dario Cataldo to discuss one of his true labours of love.
The Italian is currently working hard at the Tour de Pologne, but in his downtime, it is art which commonly keeps him occupied.
After first discovering his talent at school, and an early interest in street art, Cataldo has developed his craft with a pencil and paintbrush, just as he has on the bike.
This conversation reveals a rider who not only loves art, but thinks deeply about how it applies to life, and also the sport of cycling.
TeamSky.com: Do you bring art materials to every race with you?
Dario Cataldo: Most of the time I bring watercolours or pencils with me. I don’t always have time to use them, but I pack them anyway so they are there if the opportunity arises.
Training camps offer the best chance to get to work on something. All we have to do there is train, massage, eat and sleep - that’s it for a couple of weeks - so there's plenty of time to switch off and focus on something different. For me, spending the entire camp on the computer is not the most useful way to use my time, and drawing is something I like to do.
TS: When did you first discover your love for art?
DC: I started when I was around 14 or 15 years old. At school I was making new friends and initially started out with graffiti. I always tried to improve my technique and then moved from simple drawings to more detailed art.
I began to take pencils with me wherever I went. Now I have enough confidence that I’d like to do it more. Before I didn’t because I was young and still in school. Although now, being a professional rider, it is still not easy.
I’ve drawn and painted for a long time. I’d like to do it more actually and it’s something I always want to improve. People are often telling me to do an exhibition, but I’ve always tried to keep art as something for myself. I haven’t done anything along those lines yet, but if I find the motivation to do more, who knows? Maybe I’ll try.
TS: You design your cycling shoes every year. Is that something you enjoy?
DC: The company who make my shoes are really good. They are happy for me to do it. To have a good pair of shoes in your own colours is always nice. I always like to have something personal, and in cycling your shoes are really the only thing you can choose, so it is nice to do.
TS: What are your favourite things to draw?
DC: I like to draw lots of things. I come from a background in street art but I actually enjoy portraits the most. I like experimenting with different lights to produce a more realistic effect. The eyes are the mirror to your soul and in a portrait I try to capture that.
TS: Have you ever drawn a portrait of a team-mate?
DC: I’ve done some in the past on the bus when we’ve had really long transfers. I once did (Sylvain) Chavanel. I did another for Serge Pauwels. Marco Bandiera is a big friend of mine and I wanted to do a portrait as a present for him and his girlfriend. I’ve drawn guys like Pantani and Ballerini before, but I still need to do someone on Team Sky.
TS: Are there any other riders in the peloton who share your passion?
DC: Manuel Belletti is a rider who likes to draw. I’m not sure if there are any others who like art. I know for example Edvald (Boasson Hagen) really likes photography. It’s a different form of art but it’s still really good. I often speak about it with him and I use photography myself to take a picture before using it to make a portrait. It’s nice to talk to him about things like that.
TS: Are there any artists you're inspired by?
DC: I try not to take too much direct inspiration from artists as otherwise you risk copying someone. Taking small things from many different people is what I prefer and this way you can do something that is your own. Otherwise it’s not authentic. I do it for myself – I don’t do it to show something like an artist.
One person who I like a lot, not just through his techniques but the messages he gives, is Banksy. Everybody knows him. He’s a street artist. The first stage of my passion for art came from graffiti so I really feel it. He’s British and I race for a Britsh team.
It might also sound strange to say, but our job is done out on the road. This is street art too. It’s difficult to explain or understand. But for me, when I’m training all over the world, I’m always looking around. When I see something on the wall I always look because it’s an instinct for me. Maybe I’m not visiting a museum, but during the race I see many things. I find it amazing.
Dario often posts photos of his artwork on his Instagram page. Follow him at dariocataldo