How did you find those flowers, how did you choose the colors?
As always, I work with local identity, with history, the geography, the society, how the city grows and all what is going on around and then try to use all this information about plants through local nature, as a symbol of identity. So there are plants that grow all around the city. The colors are kind of personal, in a conscious way. When I do studies before I come to a city, in this case in Gainesville, when I walk around and can see the place I get a lot of information about the architecture, about the colors of the city, the people, maybe buildings, all of the complimentary colors and what is going around…
Did you realize it from my photos?
No, before I arrive at a place I have the main idea, like structure of painting, then when I get there I decide what I’m going to do, because it is public art so I really need to know the place, the real size, what is all around. From pictures you can just see the wall but not what is going on around it.
What about the design with these two walls, do they interact with each other?
It is kind of like an interaction, but at the same time it is just a continuum, like the same language. The idea was to make one pattern.
The Top, 30 N Main St, Gainesville, FL 32601
How do people react to you and your work?
Most of the time for me, and I think for them too, it was like surprising. Before I arrived I didn’t know anything about Gainesville; everything was supposed to be discovered. Maybe the same for them, they never saw anyone making a mural in Gainesville. It was experience for both parts. It was 100% positive.
How did you like painting particularly in this city?
I like the dynamic of small cities, you can understand more about the identity, the culture, and the people. Maybe sometimes in big cities you cannot, everything is too fast. The only person you can talk to is someone in a restaurant who prepares you a coffee. In this case Gainesville was like: people visiting the wall would ask, “Hey, how are you doing today?” I really like this. It is the most interesting part in painting in public places: the relationship and interaction with local people.
Pastel and JUFE, RAW Project, JDD Middle School, 2014
Initially you were an architect and at some moment you decided that you didn’t want to do that, right?
I decided to not do classic architecture, but I think and I feel that what I’m doing is a kind of architecture. Making murals is like architecture but more abstract than designing buildings. The architecture is more about the concept, the meaning of inhabiting a place and not just surviving in a city. I think the way that I work is treated as architecture but less dangerous than the classic way. Because my idea, my concept behind working in the street is what I call urban acupuncture, it is like making small interactions with the city that can improve the place, to make it better. Because there are a lot of cities with no identity, or aren’t designed for the people who live there. So working in the streets, working with murals, working with identity, with the city and local people is the way to make a relationship between this city and a wall.
So, do you think it is possible to improve bad architectural planning using murals?
Maybe yes, maybe no; it is my dream. It is not just like making murals and that’s it. It is just the beginning…the kick off to make much more stuff around the world to make a it a better place.
You started with graffiti like most of the street artists…
….how did you jump from doing graffiti to painting those beautiful flowers?
When I started painting graffiti I used to paint…
Yes, flowers with a graffiti technique. It was like a flow… But when I started studying architecture, I started understanding cities in a different way that changed everything. It changed to what I do now.
Living Walls. Atlanta, GA, 2013
Your style still keeps changing, compared to what you did one or two years ago, it is all different. Do you think it will have another look in two years?
I do not know. I do not think it is style. When I started doing graffiti I didn’t know that I was going to be painting plants in Gainesville. It just a process. If you continue developing your concept behind what you are doing it’s going change with time. It is something that I really do not think about, it’s just a process.
You also are doing installations, some kind of sculptures?
A lot of installations. It is another way to work with a place, more than just murals.
Scope, Miami Beach, Art Basel 2015
How would you compare your studio work and work outside?
It is completely different, like different works of art. First of all, the scale of what you are doing and then when you work in the street it is like more communication, much more anthropological work than studio artwork. When you work in a studio you are more concentrated on your piece of art. It is a completely different experience in positive and negative ways.
Pastel and Agostino Iacurci. Miami Wynwood, FL 2014