Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday ProFile: BR1

Traveling around can break up a slump, but sometimes the best place to work is right under your nose. BR1 (BRuno) roams around, but he admits, "I love the Italian lifestyle and food too much to go live in a foreign city. I love Rome, full of history and monuments, but it's also where you can see the stereotype of Italian people. Turin gives me what I'm looking for from a big city: art and cultural ferments but also underground culture." When he's not studying law, he decorates the city known for FIAT and Nutella.
At first, BR1 began messing around with spray cans, but the medium proved to be too expensive. Since he loved drawing human figures, he gravitated towards stickers and posters. Over time, He developed his trademark Muslim women. He recalls, "First I made printed posters in black and white, then hand-colored posters. At first my pieces were small, but now they get bigger and bigger."
Whether they're shooting photos, talking on a cell phone, or carrying children, these Muslim ladies command respect. "Without women, there isn't life!" BR1 insists. "People start to look at me as a feminist that makes people aware of the Muslim woman's condition, but it's way too misleading. Muslim women are people just as others, with a culture and customs that are often the same, if you account for globalization. I don't want to debate religion and politics through my art; I focus on the woman, the person. I'm an impressionist painter that makes a portrait of a woman with an interesting story."
Police don't always take kindly to the ladies. When the cops show up, he unsticks his posters to avoid conflict. Fortunately, the city of Turin appreciates and respects BR1's work. He remembers, "Some months ago, someone drew on the woman in my poster. Two months later, I saw that someone came and fixed the poster with acrylic paint. They restored my work! This is my ultimate goal."
Rolling out solo makes the creative process easier, but BR1 is all about teamwork, too. "When I have time, I love organizing street art events," he says. "I organized the Turin Poster Festival with more than 100 posters from all over the world. I also put together Vinilificiocreativo with my friend Omino71 from Rome. This show contained vinyl painted by urban artists. The second stage of the show in Rome became the biggest and most popular vinyl show in Italy."
In the future, BR1 hopes to work more color into his pieces. His free magazine on street art is coming along and he hopes to set up a big street art festival in Turin by April 2010. For BR1, it's all about pushing boundaries. "We have the power to change the meaning of public space," he says. "With street art, a wall can become a frame."

Grazi, BR1! For more fabulous photos, visit his Flickr. For folks in the CT area this weekend, stop by ArtSpace in New Haven for the Elm City Pop Fest. (Thanks to the awesome guys over at CT Indie for putting this event together!) Have a great weekend and I'll see you guys on Monday.

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