Averardo Ciriello: Just Another ‘Euro-Sleaze’ Illustrator, Or Something More? (1st of 2 posts)
Italian comic artist, commercial illustrator and Giallo cover artist Averardo Ciriello’s career spanned some 40+ years. Just another bizarre ‘Euro-Sleaze’ artist? Perhaps. Or, perhaps he was much more.
Born in Milan, Ciriello started out as an illustrator for the Acqua Weekly right after Italy’s surrender to the Allies in WWII. Those postwar years and throughout the 1950’s were productive times for the artist, working on a weekly newspaper comics page, various comic books, and concurrently producing cover art for Italian pulp magazines that would soon morph into the garish yellow bordered ‘Giallo’ genre, replete with all the shocking (many still shocking to this day, really) and incredibly tawdry mix of sex and violence they’re known for. American audiences of the time would’ve been aghast. Or, maybe lining up to buy ‘em…I don’t know.
Ciriello’s career included work on collectible Euro-sleaze and erotica titles like Bel Ami, Serena Detective, Lucifera and Maghella. Seperately, Ciriello worked with European film distributors to produce an incredible number of film posters for major U.S. studios, European distributors marketing Hollywood films, and low-budget horror, sex and action ‘Euro-Sleaze’ films.
Ciriello could work fast and loose, or carefully and more mannered. As a commercial artist, he produced what the clients demanded, which in his times and marketplaces, was often some mighty outrageous material. Open-minded 21st century viewers can still be put off buy some of the sex-n-violence content, and understandably so. But illustration fans who revere Mort Kunstler, Norm Saunders, Robert Bonfils or J. Hugh Ward can hardly tsk-tsk at the French and Italian vintage illustration masters.
I’ll split up a few examples Averardo Ciriello’s work into two posts, this first one with pulp and cover art works, and the next with film poster work.
Man In And Out Of Ruins
Sensual Arts Exhibition, 1923
Ben Thompson, 2012
Viktor Alexandrovich Lyapkalo (1956, Russian)