Tuesday, March 9, 2010

February 2010: 999 in Turin

Bush took a lot of heat during his administration, but he's not the only world leader who receives criticism. Turin-based artist 999 knows how to morph a politician's worst qualities into the best form of street art. Armed with his stencils and wheatpasting supplies, 999 covers Italy with social commentary. He writes:
"I started making ‘street art’ with little stickers and stencils in 2005. My old works were uncertain and full of experimentation. Just for fun, I started make stencils and pasteup posters with my friends in my hometown. Afterwards, I looked for my own style and technique. Intrigued by old engravings and illustrations, I found inspiration on the 'net and in old books. Then I take the particulars, reshape them, and mix them with my personal style. I use a lot stencils on paper, so I create posters to pasteup in the streets."
"Now I live in Turin in the north Italy because I go to university there. But my hometown is Termoli, a little city on the coast of the Adriatic sea in the south of Italy. I work everywhere, but most of my posters are on the walls of Turin and Termoli."
"I'm not a collective; I just work by myself. In fact, my production is slow and discontinuous. My real life takes a lot of my time, so I can only work in my free time. However, I have a lot of friends who sporadically help me and I like working with other artists-friends."
"I don't know, really don't know. I realize that my present works are different from old one, but I don't know why. I paint in the backyard of my building in Turin; I make posters and then pasteup in the streets. I paint in the night, when people are sleeping, so I can spray peacefully. I like painting on walls but it's hard with big stencil and I must be fast. So I paint on walls when I can, on abandoned places, during exhibition or events, or even on walls with permission."

"One night, I went out with a local artist. He has a poster with a satirical image of Italian politic Borghezio transformed into a kebab (Borghezio and his political party hate foreign and Muslim people). While we pasted up his poster, we were seen by a police car. They stopped us, examined our documents, threw the glue in a manhole and confiscated the poster because they liked it. They didn't destroy it; they confiscated it to paste up in the police station because in their opinion, it is a really fun image."

Grazie, 999! For more interesting wheatpastes, check out his Flickr.

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