1. Special Issue #9: Patrick Gomme

    How would you describe your approach with the subject while shooting? Is there a psychological implication or an analytical eye?
    Before every shooting, I ask my models some very personal questions. Their answers allow me to get to know them better, to understand them and how the session is going to be. I never judge. Every woman has her story, her private experience. I only deal with the material I am given. I don’t follow the “beautiful, not beautiful” logic. The only thing I am interest in, is the image I am able to freeze, what I see, what others forgot within their standard look. I don’t want to create dreams, on the contrary, I want to wake them up, in order to start again through new inspirations…Realism, Naturalism, are, at the same time, the basis and the influence of dreamers like us. I don’t want to annoy nor provoke. What I show are bodies and flesh, without hiding imperfections.

    Do you use postproduction?
    I never retouch bodies, the colors only, and lightly. It happens sometimes to correct a pimple or some dust that brings nothing to the final image.

    Is the passing of time an added value to the body or just a fact?
    I try to represent every body, and each one of them has its story and its morphology. I don’t do castings. Whatever you are 20 or 80 years old, it’s important to realize that everyone is somehow a reckless and anesthetized consumer just passing by.

    What are the stories that the bodies you portray tell?
    I think that all these bodies have a story to tell and share. These bodies are acting! It happened more than once, during one of my exhibitions, to see someone staring at my photos for three long minutes…then reaching me to share their emotions.

    If you had to choose one single word to explain the thematic of your whole work, what word would it be? And why?
    Human. My work allows me to meet and to work with very different kind of women (and men), in every industry, in every social environment, and most important, to realize this and future projects when they don’t have to be part of the consumerism code.

    How important is the “drama” factor of your photographs?
    Personally, I don’t see them as “dramatic”; it’s an interpretation more suitable for old school paintings and photographies, not today codes. But, unfortunately, it’s very inconvenient to show real bodies -and different!- today!

    [If you want to see more, find him on patrickgomme.com]

     

  2. Don’t miss our Special Issue about Patrick Gomme on Redox the14th of October!

     

  3. Redox for Galleria del Sale / Artist’s interview: NEEVA&EISENAUER
    by Claudia Puddu
    Photos by Beatrice Schivo and Claudio Valenti

    -When did you start with this works and why?
    N: When I was a kid, at 14. I started doing tags but I was mediocre, my tags were really bad. Being not really good at it, I started with other things, or rather I focused on “stickering”. It was all very improvised and not correlated to the writing world, so it was more indipendent in a certain way. Then I made some illegal walls and then some private, remunerated walls on order, also continuing my work as an illustrator for magazines.
    E: I started when I was 16/17 with stickers, together with the few people that were making street art (even if it was not called “steet art” at that time). Then I moved to abandoned places; I’ve always preferred to paint walls with other people or on order, without doing graffiti.

    -Do you have some iconical characters that you prefer representing while painting?
    N: I love character designer and master.And then “puppets”, characterized as the cast of a bigger story, even if there is no story.
    E: I prefer to represent everyday objects.

    -What is your ideal setting?
    N: Abandoned places, because I love to contextualize them. Or “stickering” on poles, because it is istantly visible.
    E: Abandoned places in the countryside.

    -Can you tell us the difference between street art, graffiti and wall painting? Have you been influenced by some of these inclination?
    N: It all started with hip-hop, in a large contest then. Now I am cutting the ties and starting something less “sketched”. My evolution was cultural too, because here in Sardinia murales are very popular. Time is needed to make acceptable the practices that weren’t accepted before. But what makes the urban art special is its illegal adrenaline; if you make it legal, adrenaline disappears and then the essence of street art would disappear too.
    E: I work as a designer and illustrator. Walls are a totally different medium and require another kind of manual skill, and interaction with the territory. The feeling you give to people is good: their involvement, listening to their comments and critics while they are watching your wall.

    -You started an independent publishing house together, “Perropanda Edizioni”; how difficult it is to keep going a project like that, and what was the feedback from the artists?
    N: The beginning was easy: I was in Barcelona, illustrating little books that then I brought in the bookshops. I talked to Eisenauer about that, and we thought about doing something more organized. I remember the first event, it was crazy. The most important thing is to keep the level of involvement high, because, as many of the self produced project, only passion moves us. The feedback was absolutely positive, we have now a budget that allows more incoming projects. It fuels itself.
    E:I am not involved full time on the project, but basically, you choose someone and his style, and then you commission a little illustration book. The artist has all the royalties, and a number of copies of the book. On March came out an anthology of works, entitled “Ibridi”, with the participation of many artists. Now we have a contest instead. The feedback from people is great, and most of the times when we print many shirts of books we are happy to give them to the artist as a gift.
     

  4. Redox for Galleria del Sale / Artist’s interview: BOF
    by Claudia Puddu
    Photos by Beatrice Schivo and Claudio Valenti

    -When did you start with this works and why?
    The reason? It was normal for me. I started when I was very young, as soon as I learned how to write; my tools were pencils, markers and my first wall was my bedroom’s, no authority in uniform would have caught me there obviously, but I can clearly remember my mother’s reaction, because it was a wallpaper covered wall that would have been very difficult to fix just with paint. Nothing could have predicted this performance to her, but it was normal and inevitable for me. I drew on the purse, the school desk, the shoes, the trousers, my little brother’s arms, and on myself. The content of this first-primitive-instinctive activity were the very first words I learned: my name and surname, some animal name, some figurative elements, things I saw around me in the city where I’ve grown up (Turin) and obviously the human figure, a stereotype, a cliché that I still sketch and that I entrust to perform different themes and various animate scenes and settings.

    -Do you have some iconical characters that you prefer representing while painting?
    As I said, the recurring subject is the essential human figure, often out of proportion but with simple and roundish features, three- dimensional, sometimes with faces without eyes nor ears, wearing tight-fitting dresses, suits and bowlers while they perform actions like cycling, juggling, greeting, playing cards, eating; or in large groups standing like they are posing for a picture, which can recall surreal deportations; or while they are lying asleeping, dreaming and unaware.

    -What is your ideal setting?
    I remember that, especially in my first excursions, I often “striked” call boxes, transformer rooms, metal boxes and street furnitures that could cut off the space like a frame, a window from which you could see another world animated by those puppets. Then, sizes increased and today I prefer walls in disrepair, so that I can draw attention to the contrasts and point out places that seems to be static, but where, after I painted, something often changes. They can be places in the city centre or in the suburbs, populated or in the middle of nowhere, far from everything, and open landscapes too, like ports or abandoned suburbans structures or along the railway.

    -Can you tell us the difference between street art, graffiti and wall painting? Have you been influenced by some of these inclination?
    Yes, I could! But those are just notions that don’t define me. I think that the core of it should always be a valuable work, and then to understand the context you are working in and that whatever you are in a urban environment or not, in preexisting structures or in a uncontaminated place, whatever you are using images, inscrutable writing, every kind of paint, non pictorial material, sculpture or (and that’s difficult) repositioning raw stones, well, all of these don’t really matter, because every tendency and practice that has been created and developed over time, it’s just a language, a tool that the artist may use to shape his poetics.

    -How much have you been influenced by the 20th Century art movements, especially Futurism?
    The avant-garde influenced everything, it is well integrated and used as an excuses for every kind of product, of both high or low quality. It made the forms of expression richer, and every aspect of the production of art can relate to that; what fascinates me the most is that the creation is often left to others and what matters in the end is the idea and not the virtuosity. That’s why I often use volunteers that want to experiment with murales and painting on big canvas. I don’t worry at all, I think it is normal, for example Ready-Mades were very clear about it. I don’t think that Futurism influenced me more than others.
     

  5. Redox for Galleria del Sale / Artist’s interview: DANIELE GREGORINI
    by Claudia Puddu
    Photos by Beatrice Schivo and Claudio Valenti

    -When did you start with this works and why?
    When I was six years old, my grandfather took me to a mountain, gave me a charcoal pencil and a very little canvas and told me to drew what I saw: that’s what I did.

    -Do you have some iconical characters that you prefer representing while painting?
    I don’t. I believe that for someone it’s helpful to use in ther work images already known, already experimented. Sometimes, in mine drawing book, the one I use when I take the field (in a metaphorical way), you can find some subjects repeated, but are just temporary obsessions. For me it would be constrictive to be tied to a subject.

    -What is your ideal setting?
    Everytime I am listening music.

    -Can you tell us the difference between street art, graffiti and wall painting? Have you been influenced by some of these inclination?
    I think that the main difference is about the connection between the wall and the artists of these different disciplins. For some of them the wall is a canvas made of bricks and concret, while for others it belong to a city, or a town, or a road and that’s why it’s the right place to express themselves and communicate. Every single discipline gives me a lot, just like other things. 


    -How do you work in order to give at the art a bigger importance in the urban redevelopment?
    The city must give more value to the art and the artists: it’s becoming a craving desire. Like in every profession a pay is requested, the same should be for the artists. One can’t pretend to live in a nice city full of culture if those who create art are not sustained. I just try to create spaces and possibility for the artists.
     

  6. Redox for Galleria del Sale / Artist’s interview: BILLYANDALEX
    by Claudia Puddu
    Photos by Beatrice Schivo and Claudio Valenti

    -When did you start with this works and why?
    I started painting walls five years ago, but I’ve always made illustrations and painted on canvas. Then I started painting bigger and bigger also in public spaces, not only in my studio.

    -Do you have some iconical characters that you prefer representing while painting?
    I would say that there are lots of shapes that I use, like fruit, dogs, tree, waves.

    -What is your ideal setting?
    In the sunshine, in a beautiful place. 


    -Can you tell us the difference between street art, graffiti and wall painting? Have you been influenced by some of these inclination?
    I work with writers, but I think that they shouldn’t be defined. I dont’ think that there is a category for me.

    -You’ve lived some years of your adolescence in South Africa, then you moved to London and then again to Berlin; how cultural differences have influenced your art?
    Lifestyle and surrounding have always been very important, that’s why I try to represent them on my work.
     

  7. Redox for Galleria del Sale / Artist’s interview: MARCELLO MARINELLI
    by Claudia Puddu
    Photos by Beatrice Schivo and Claudio Valenti

    -When did you start with this works and why?
    I started in 2002, with some “wild style” kind of graffiti.

    -Do you have some iconical characters that you prefer representing while painting?
    Lately I been drawing all kind of subjects: from a velociraptor to a cow eating a man. But most of the time I draw italian historical figures, especially painters like Leonardo.

    -What is your ideal setting?
    An old farmhouse: I like the idea of time passing while nothing really changes.


    -Can you tell us the difference between street art, graffiti and wall painting? Have you been influenced by some of these inclination?
    I started as a writer, but I have always been fond of painting. I inherited this passion from my mother, who is a painter. Then I attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Sassari, but I didn’t graduate. I am new to this world, and that’s way you won’t see a lot of works of mine around.


    -You just mentioned the Academy of Fine Arts: what is left of your academic education?
    The respect towards painting and art, for sure; and then some kind of reserved attitude in the working field.
     

  8. Redox for Galleria del Sale / Artist’s interview: MANU INVISIBLE
    by Claudia Puddu
    Photos by Beatrice Schivo and Claudio Valenti

    -When did you start with this works and why?
    I started with graffiti, and I did my first doodle at eight. Now I am more into murales, with some differences. I don’t deal with any letter anymore, but I focus on characters.

    -Do you have some iconical characters that you prefer representing while painting?
    Faces, portraits.

    -What is your ideal setting?
    The 131 state highway: the walls are grey and I am surrounded by nature and calm.


    -Can you tell us the difference between street art, graffiti and wall painting? Have you been influenced by some of these inclination?
    The word “graffiti” is too generic; if you are talking about lettering, the right word is “writing”. Street art is illegal by nature, but at the same time respectful towards others and monuments. Muralism, on the other hand, is under commission.


    -How do you use light painting, and does it work?
    It is all based on portraiture; I start from doing little paintings that I later print on small format. My works are unique pieces that I realize with a personal method, using led.
     

  9. Redox for Galleria del Sale / Artist’s interview: ENEA
    by Claudia Puddu
    Photos by Beatrice Schivo and Claudio Valenti

    -When did you start with this works and why?
    I started in 1998, but I always loved drawing. It was all very instinctive, since I was familiar with the 90’s graffiti scene, when it was very related to hip-hop.

    -Do you have some iconical characters that you prefer representing while painting?
    I usually represent animals or animal-like characters. I am very interested in everything that has something to do with fauna.

    -What is your ideal setting?
    I prefer abandoned buildings, in order to better contextualize the painting, or I choose walls that are really visible.

    -Can you tell us the difference between street art, graffiti and wall painting? Have you been influenced by some of these inclination?
    Street art is more legitimized nowadays, and the artists realize their works wherever they want and without any permission, most of the time. The graffiti artist, on the other hand, disseminates his name, his personal tag, while street art’s purpose is not creating some kind of brand.

    -You joined a collective group, EX-Q, located in the old police headquarters of Sassari. Do you think that illicit practices can sometimes help citizens to fill the hole in the cultural field?
    This topic hits a raw nerve. Recently, as mutually agreed with the Province authorities, we decided to end the occupation. It is not, or better, it was not a subversive activity, since it would mean that we had a manifesto of revolutionary intents. We just wanted to provide for a need that had no other way to be fulfilled, when our society failed at it.
     

  10. Redox for Galleria del Sale: Second week
    reportage by Claudia Puddu
    Photos by Beatrice Schivo and Claudio Valenti


    The second and last weekend of events at the Galleria del Sale looks more demanding already; nine artists, several walls included in this venture, shocking heat and untraceable bicycles.
    As I arrive at Ponte Vittorio in the late morning, I see from a distance Beatrice and Claudio, the two photographers of Redox, analyzing the place with the purpose of finding the best spots for shooting. While a one horse shay passes me by, I reach the desk of Urban Center, the organization in charge of the event, that includes its artistic director, DANIELE GREGORINI, as the artist that will realize his work by the cycling lane.
    Some of the artists are already at their positions, with rolls and white paint in order to work on the background. I decide to wait an hour before asking for the interviews; I learned that the best moment is when they take out the tobacco and start rolling a cigarette.
    The walls dedicated to MARCELLO MARINELLI, BILLYANDALEX, BOF, NEEVA and EISENAUER are one against the other, divided only by the road where now cars are passing by at high speed, honking, screaming through their windows, or just trying to take a look at the sketches.
    I am observing the different artists around me: MARCELLO MARINELLI starts with a precise detail-oriented work, and BOF, followed by his assistant, Takeshi Kenzo (wearing a beautiful coverall with “your girlfriend is staring at me” written on it), is doing well with the preparatory drawing. This weekend there will be a guest from Berlin, too: BILLYANDALEX, ready to draw while the guys from Urban Center, climbing on little stairs, are keeping on removing old posters from the walls.
    ENEA, from Sassari, is going to work in front of the stadium and while he is painting I get acquainted with his dog Nanà, a quiet diva looking for cuddles. A man on his forties joins us and shifts from one artist’s spot to another; his name is Giampiero, and he says that he used to steal but not anymore, and that he used to do drugs but not anymore.
    Walking to SKAN’s position, I am pretty impressed by the vision of the three walls painted last week, whose presence could only improve the view of the zone. SKAN doesn’t release any interviews, but I keep staring at his work and the way he blends very precisely the colors for more than half an hour , and in the meanwhile I count the number of the spray bottles placed on the stair: nine.
    In that moment on the Asse Mediano, a car stops and the driver shouts at the guys from Urban Center; he has bags full of cold drinks and ice with him.

    My talk with ENEA begins, starting with his experience inside the collective EX-Q, then he says that street artist realizes his works wherever he feels like doing it and without any permission, most of the time.
    A few moments later I am able to interview a very helpful BILLYANDALEX, who says that she doesn’t feel represented by any category, and that those labels so strict shouldn’t exist.
    MARCELLO MARINELLI on the other hand, started as a writer, but he inherited from his mother the passion for painting.
    Friday ends with my cameo as a wall cleaner: armed a with putty knife, I help the guys of the Urban Center to remove old posters. While I am at it, I mentally curse everyone that complains about graffiti, street art, murales or whatever the hell they want to call it, when they don’t say a word about illicit ads that, I or even better the organizers can assure you, are damn hard to take off.
    When I come back, Saturday afternoon, not only the walls are perfectly clean, but NEEVA and EISENAUER are at work, BOF has already finished and goes away after an informal chat, and MANU INVISIBILE is painting too. I approach his wall, looking at the area below from a bridge; in spite of the rush of getting the hundreds of things to do that stressed me out, the view forced me to stop there for several minutes. I find myself staring at something strikingly beautiful and indefinable around that insalubrious canal and the stadium that stands out, in those many bridges, in the Arena Grandi Eventi where Caparezza is going to sing in the evening. When the moment of decadent beauty fades away, I am near MANU INVISIBILE who shows me his sketch, amazing me with the vision needed in order to to realize the whole thing. He also tells me how often people try to found out his identity and his gender. According to his vision, the word “graffiti” is incorrect, as “writing” would be more accurate, and street art can be defined as an illegal activity, which does not leave out a certain sense of respect for the others and for the monument itself. We keep talking, and a man who is passing by for an afternootaken run starts insulting us, yelling to get out of his way (I’m sweetening this), even if he had to invade the whole work area to do so. Despite this little provocation, the event goes on peacefully and in a jovial mood, eating fruits and speaking about light painting. 
    There is a lot of curiosity around us from the people happening to be nearby; they stop to see the drawings, make comments guessing what works is yet to complete or not, and there are critics too, that compare the works of the event with Banksy’s. The Urban Center’s desk is near the stop of the bus number 3, and the drivers often slow down to take a look around.
    During the last interview, NEEVA and EISENAUER take turn to answer my questions: EISENAUER generally focuses more on the interaction with the surface she is working on, while NEEVA doesn’t hesitate when he recalls his beginnings as a writer, adding that he was not very skilled at making tags, and that he later shifted to muralism, which is very popular in Sardinia’s towns. What makes street art, in his opinion, is the adrenaline induced by its illegal side. Making this practice legal, would change the nature of the street art itself. 

    This weekend is over, everything is getting back in order, and in the light of this experience I could only feel enriched.
    Now I can be sure I know more about the graffiti world, which are very influenced by hip-hop and are based, substantially, on the creation of a tag and his reproducibility.
    Another thing that I know now, is how most of the artists that were here on this event came from the graffiti world, but felt the need to evolve and change into something more complex and mature. All those three field, however, are interconnected, and it is not rare that one single work is often labeled as “street art”, or as “murales” with a strong lettering component. What they share is the desire of showing their art in an unconventional way, in order to be free to express themselves without being disrespectful and having the authorizations that can turn their passion into a real job.
    Whoever defines this a mere vandalism should stop, think, and try to understand more this part of citizens that loves not only tagging around the city, but using this form of expression to start an artistic and personal evolution, learning by themselves how to requalify the urban space, covering all the grey that takes over the cities, and bringing their art in front of everyone’s eyes .
    While I am walking for the last time on the cycling line, I feel very blessed because I had the chance to see, during day time, people that usually work at night. And I didn’t just see them, but I talked to them, I interviewed them, and I got to know their vision of the world they live in, filling a gap I had about this subject. Observing with the eyes of someone willing to understand, is the only way to go beyond first impressions, and I hope that as many people as possible will do that, thanks to Galleria del Sale. Whoever thinks that these are just vandals, should see the respect that they have in approaching a wall, while they analyze it, color it and then look at it from a distance, almost with a tender gaze.

    They call it street art, they call it graffiti, they call it wall painting; but at the core of all I think there is only freedom, nothing more.