This week I have spoken with Italian artist Alessio Bolognesi. Alessio is an ex graphic designer who decided his talents were better served in the world of street art. His art is driven by a passion for the environment and human rights. I seem to have interviewed a lot of Italian artists in the last year or so from Mr Fijodor to Zed1, a thriving scene there to say the least.
Hi Alessio how are you? Tell us a little about yourself…
I’m great, thanks for asking and for the time you’re dedicating to me!
When did you ﬁrst start spraying on walls?
Honestly, I started very late. I was not “officially” in the graffiti world. I’ve been drawing since I was 6 y.o. and during youth I started using paint on a few walls, but with no specific intent, just to have fun playing with the surfaces. I was not part of a crew or an inspiring environment, even because in my hometown (Ferrara) there was no graffiti scene at that time. Then I stopped drawing for many years, during university. In my spare time I was working as a digital graphic designer, therefor I had no time at all.
However, when I completed my studies and became a software engineer, I felt the need to restart drawing. I realized that I was missing it so much! In the meanwhile, the graffiti scene in Ferrara was born and a couple of years later I met those who would have become my crew and family in the following years. We created the Vida Krei family which is very active in Ferrara and I, as well as other members, are active across countries to paint walls.
What was the original inspiration for grabbing a spray can for the ﬁrst time?
As mentioned above, I first met spray can when I met my Vida Krei friends. I started then to use spray cans as well as liquid mural paint. There’s no reason to me to prefer one technique instead of the other, I like to use both. What it pushes me to grab a spray can or a brush is just the wish to paint and trying to express myself on walls or whatever surface I can find.
Do you like to work with a sketch or just freestyle?
Well, it depends. I’m now taking part to “official” projects and festivals where, in most cases, a sketch is actually requested by the organisers. However to me is difficult. I’m mainly a freestyler: usually, starting from an idea, I look for some reference in real time when I’m at the wall and start imagining the composition. When I go out to draw free pieces, I even don’t do that. I just sketch on the wall based on my imagination and memories of shapes and forms.
They are sometimes incorrect, but I don’t care, I just enjoy the act of painting. That’s why, even when I take part to some official event, I just prepare a pencil sketch and try to make organisers to understand that this is my way of working. I decide final composition, colours and details when I’m in front of the wall. I feel this is the only way (for me at least) to paint a mural.
What’s the inspiration behind your work? A never ending list of things right?!
I would say the inspiration is everything which surrounds us. I read a lot of books, comics, newspapers, I listen a lot of music, talk to people, etc. However there are topics or images which, for a certain period of time, are under focus in my mind. Now a day I’m mainly working on environmental topics, by using animals as symbols to say that we are reaching a point of no return. If we don’t start NOW to respect our planet, there’s no a B plan. Another toping that has a special position in my mind and heart is related to human rights. It’s a very complex thing, however I’m always looking for new means and images to tell the story I have in mind.
Is a piece ever ﬁnished in your eyes?
No. A piece is completed in the sense that I pained the things that I was supposed to. But I always hate the way I painted things just after I do the last brush stroke. And I would restart completely
You recently completed a piece for Cooperativa Orsa Maggiore in naples. Can you tell us a little bit about the project/experience?
My piece is just one out of 26 which will be painted in the arc of a year in Naples for a project called Assafà. 26 educational associations selected 26 keywords related to the children rights. I was selected to interpret the story written by the children of Cooperativa Orsa Maggione, under the coordination of the educators.
A few questions above I mentioned how important are human rights to me. Even more the children ones. So I was honoured and proud when I got the proposal to draw a mural on the story “The adventures of the animals of Incantia”, a story based on the meaning of “community” and “inclusion/integration”. I tried to do my best in figuring out in a single image the sense of the story and the soul of the word “community”. Even in this case, I just presented a quick pencil sketch and decided all the rest in front of the wall.
Do you have any crazy ideas/projects that you’d love to do one day?
Ohhh, toooooo many! 😀
What do you like to do with your non-painting time?
Spend and enjoying the time with my family and friends is the most important thing, due to the amount of time I spend away to paint. And with them, I love to enjoy good food, visit new places and….yeah…I love to relax too! ;D
What’s the ideal soundtrack to a day’s painting?
It depends from my state of mind. I mostly listen to heavy metal and hard rock, but sometimes I need some good jazz or the magnificent Bach’s cello suites.
If you could have one super power for the day what would you choose?!
Ubiquity! Being in different places in the same time would be soooo helpful ☺
What’s next for Alessio “Bolo” Bolognesi?
Holidays ahahahaha! I really deserve it! I got a knee surgery in November 2018 and still feel pain. Therefor I need to rest a little bit. I will be painting a few more walls in the next couple of months and then starting to prepare the new solo exhibitions for 2020.