Hello Alice, I’d love to start this interview asking you what is your current mood in these days, what are your plans for the 2018 just started?
I have a solo exhibition in Rome that’s opening January 19. It’s a project I’ve been working on a lot lately and speaks about transitional zones, that dimension that lives between the inside and outside of us. It’s an area that often motivates children and artists. For the show I’m constructing an abandoned doll house. In the meantime, I’m continuing to plan CVTà Street Fest, an artistic project that aims to repopulate a semi-abandoned medieval town in central Italy. A lot of the projects I am most invested in are social projects that involve communication and immigrations. Right now times are definitely a more difficult and dark than when I first started painting on the streets.
Are you a kind of person who likes to plan? I mean, do you like the whole programming phase or do you prefer that things happen day by day?
I’m a Virgo with Gemini rising, which means that I’d like to plan and keep things under control but then I end up just going by instinct.
Here’s a challenge for your memory, go back in early 2000, to the first days of the year, what were your thoughts, your plans? And what happened to those projects, did you achieved that goals?
I was a fine art student studying painting and to pay for school I was working in a bar on New Year’s. Soon after, I left for a year to study in London. I already knew that my life would be connected with art but if you’d told me that graffiti would become a “job” I would have laughed at you.
How has your work evolved over the years from when you were beginning, I mean, when you look back, how do you feel about your beginnings?
In the beginning I needed to go beyond the limits of my studio, and beyond the elitst vision of what are my professors proposed. Street art made more sense to me than a white canvas ever did. Today I continue to feel that way even after having painted so many walls around the world, but I’m much more focused on creating social projects and collectives where art can become a way to shine a light on situations that aren’t always easy to speak about.
And what about now, what pushes you through your art, what’s the engine power of your motivation?
Some sort of primordial, unconscious instinct that I was born with. My life has never existed without art. For me, painting is like breathing. It’s my way to be in the world.
Photo Credit by Lou Chamberlein
Looking at what happened in your career over the years, what do you think your future developments may be? After thousands of pieces is there still something you’ve always wanted to do, but have yet to? What would be your dream project? I mean theme, location, size ...
After over 2000 paintings on different surfaces and modes of transport, I’ve done a lot of what I’ve set out to do, but I’d still love to paint a hot air balloon.
Photo Credit by Jessica Stewart
Your style is undeniably well recognizable, and when I meet artists so well defined I always wonder if they feel the need, at least once, to change their distinctive mark. Have you ever been assailed by this desire to completely upset your style?
Your sign is your style. And style is everything for an artist. But, I believe that to find an instinctive sign is fundamental. Of course, as an artist I’ve always trying to experiment with different techniques when we talk about gallery work. Through working with artisans or other artists I’ve created mosaics, 3D artworks, terracotta sculptures, installations. My exhibitions in a gallery aren’t the exact photocopy of what I do in the street.
Photo Credit by Jessica Stewart
I think that the first message coming from your art is always an invitation to look beyond, to discover life in a different sense, to pull out the joyful aspect that resides in us. Looking at the mirror, what has brought into your life the artistic expression, the mural?
I don’t believe in happiness as a concept, but I believe that it’s worth looking for the small moments that, for me, are the sense of life. Personally, I speak about human emotion and the relationships between people. Walls around the world were a way to get out a message of being united—even if that seems banal—as opposed to rampant cynicism. The walls themselves have always been a source of inspiration—the color, history, and context—and I take from that to start my creation. It always changes, from Moscow to Singapore, Berlin to Sydney.
Keep on travelling through your career, is there a precise moment in which you understood that things were changing for you? I mean, more attention to your works?
There was a moment that I understood that street art was becoming something “cool.” I’d already been working as an illustrator and street designer, but I’d never thought that what I was doing out of passion would transform into my work. Let’s not forget that as that time there wasn’t social media and graffiti was generally considered something ugly and horrible, and my father kept asking me why I was doing it… But I have to say that before anything else, it was actually regular people who pushed me to keep going. I was too busy living out a very complicated personal relationship to really understand what was happening around me.
And if we talk about the street art scene in general, when do you think all the hype around street art started?
Once in 2010, a few hours after I painted a wall, I found it on eBay. That was the same year I discovered that people did street art tours and there was an explosion of street art galleries, festivals, and auctions.
Photo Credit by Fabiano Caputo
Who are you following in particular right now, is there any street artist in particular that you feel is re-defining the rules of the game?
I try to look outside the world of street art, to be honest, mostly at artists that have very little to do with my style. But, I’m always happy to see that there are increasingly more women than there were in the beginning. Right now there’s a bit of an ebb in the movement. It seems like a lot of artists want to try and move beyond the street. To do what, enter back into the system? I escaped the standard art system after the fine arts academy, but it’s obvious that the avant-garde moment has been over for a while now.
Here at Hyde we are constantly looking for a synthesis between the various artistic disciplines, and if there is one, the common thread between past and contemporary artists. Your portraits on a large scale have always impressed me with their expressive ability, one gaze caught forever. Do you think you can place your art in the vein of pictorial impressionism?
Definitely the desire to represent feelings is similar and in any case, the Impressionists were the first ones to leave the studio behind and paint outdoors. “My studio is the world,” they said. But in the use of color, I’d say more Expressionist, if we want to find a label for it, because they don’t mirror reality, but are used to define light and shadow.
Most of the artists claim to be original, saying something new or better than others. But looking at the infinite artistic production achieved so far is very hard not to find something mentioned earlier. I know it’s hard to admit, but if you had to choose one artist, of who would you say, “Well, I took something from him, I’m in debit with him”?
I wouldn’t say I’ve taken something specific, since my colors and subjects have always been the same since I was a child. But certainly if I had to think of one person whose career path I admire, I would say Swoon for the way she’s been able to develop her art and involve herself in social projects that make a difference.
Photo Credit by Jessica Stewart
Well, I guess our time is ending, to conclude, tell me something about your future, tell me what would you like to achieve as goals, in five months, and in five years from now.
Transform Civitacampomarano, the CVTà Street Fest, to create a space that welcomes immigrants and artists, save some of my country’s artistic and culinary traditions….create a small organization based on exchanges and bartering. And we’re already succeeding—in Civita we’ve already renovated three houses to welcome guests. For me, the revolution always begins from the bottom up.
Alice on Instagram