Featured Artist

The Caracoltrip: An Interview with Marco Vallino

Marco Vallino is from Turin, Italy.  He has been working on an intricate maze called Rabath Jany for the past 5 years.  A project called the “Caracoltrip”.  What is it exactly?  Well, I contacted Marco to give us more insight into this work.


“I started drawing during drawing classes in primary school.  I remember when I was nine our drawing teacher decided to make an exhibition of my drawings in the school.  That was the very first public exhibition of Caracoltrip.

Since then, I’ve always developed caracoltrip along with my travels.*”


For those of us who do not know, what is the Caracoltrip?

I think that Caracoltrip could be explained as a spacial black hole, kind of spacetime gate to access another world. Silvenaos is the name of this world. Silvenaos is the setting of a fantasy world in which my imagination has lived since the early ‘90s. Since then I have drew and mapped places in which characters move free from the roles of time. Caracoltrip project consists in the disclosure of Silvenaos to everybody through concepts that can be maps, situations, glimpse: actually just “mental trips”. These drawings are the Caracoltrip.


“When I decide to stop drawing I build the painting putting all the paper sheets together as a big puzzle. This approach allows me to consider my drawings as limitless, because I always can expand attaching more paper sheets. In the last year I started experimenting the agreement within paper and markers and digital media like a Wacom drawing tablet. “


When did you first start these drawings and what inspired you?

I started drawing Silvenaos when I was a child, around the age of eight years old. Once I started developing drawings, maps and characters of Silvenaos. Travels around the world have always been my primary source of inspiration for the development of Silvenaos. My parents are curious explorers of our planet and at the age of nine I already had travelled all around Europe, in north Africa, United States, Mexico and Canada. My imaginary world started thus as a result of the direct inspiration of the real world I was experiencing. Silvenaos is thus a mental trip or a game. I just have to follow my imagination drawing and mapping what I met in my trips into Silvenaos.

The Caracoltrip map is a maze. How long has this taken you to complete? Will the work ever be completed?

I think you’re talking about the Maze City of Rabath Jany? Actually, I do not consider it a map, but rather a panoramic situation of that city.  I developed this painting during five years. The mix of different people, cultures and natural landscapes I’ve experienced during my trips has deeply influenced the development of the maze city. Rabath Jany is the result of such mix of cultures.

I can say that the Maze city is a real architectural and cultural puzzle. During the development of this caracoltrip I understood an important feature of my drawings: they are limitless, thus I must not “conclude” them, never!

What media do you use for drawing the maze?

I use to draw with permanent black and grey markers. I use a range of different tip dimensions. I usually draw on an undefined number of white paper sheets. When I decide to stop drawing I build the painting putting all the paper sheets together as big puzzle. This approach allows me to consider my drawings as limitless, because I always can expand attaching more paper sheets. In the last year I started experimenting the agreement within paper and markers and digital media like a Wacom drawing tablet. In such agreement the digital media have been used just to give the last touch. For instance, the eight papers of the Maze City where scanned and composed in an unique image through photoshop.


“The Maze City of Rabath Jany . . . I do not consider it a map, but rather a panoramic situation of that city.  I developed this painting during five years. The mix of different people, cultures and natural landscapes that I’ve experienced during my trips has deeply influenced the development of the maze city. Rabath Jany is the result of such mix of cultures.”


Caracol is an ancient Mayan city in the Cayo district of Belize. Is there any connection?

No, Caracoltrip is born by the union of two words of two different languages: the Portuguese “caracol” (english: Snail) and the english “trip”. The snail is the solo animal that travels with its own house. The capability of living beyond the ties, the capability of feeling everywhere at home, these are the main features required to engage with caracoltrip. The trip has to be intended both in the english and original meaning of journey and with the italian meaning of “mental trip”, kind of dream.

Are you working on any other projects at this time?

I’m always working on more than one caracoltrip at the same time. At the moment I’m developing trips starting by maps and drawings I already have done. In other words I’m doing some zooms inside my drawings, penetrating into the streets, into the flats, into the mind of the inhabitants of those drawings. This deep zooms into my drawings, making them lives, is a new project. At the same time, I’m going on with the first objective that is mapping and drawing the entire Silvenaos world.


“My name is Marco Vallino, I was born in Turin on December the 10th, 1984.”

“I studied International Relations, and I wrote for the International Relations Observatory and different magazines. Than I moved to Lisbon, Portugal, where I lived for three years and attended a Movie Making and direction school. I moved to Dili, capital of East Timor, in the aftermath of a military crisis. There I  experienced the Arte Moris Free Art School. I lived there for a few months geeting to know the local artists and trying to understand the impact of art in the development of the country. I had a lot of different jobs and  one year I decided to completely dedicate my efforts to develop the Caracoltrip project. At that moment, I started to make some exhibitions in Italy.   I’m interested to present as much as possible the caracoltrip and bring it around the world. For that reason at the same time, I’m drawing and I’m looking both for sponsors and visibility.

These are some of the most important trips that inspired my imaginary world*:

1993 Marroc and Sahara desert
1994 coast to coast of the United States, 25 thousands of km by car touching both Mexico and Canada.
1997 South America, Peru, Bolivia and Chile;
1998 South Africa;
2001 India Rajasthan, Punjab; Jammu and Kashmir;
2002: South Africa: Namibia and Botswana.
2005 South America, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Brazil;
2008 Malaysia, Indonesia, East Timor
2010 Mauritania
2012 Turkey (until the border with Georgia, Iran and Iraq)
2014 India (From the extreme north west to the extreme far east of India)


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