Another form of Art – Rome Street Art
When I think of Art and Rome, certain things come to mind. It conjures images of the Roman garden villa that houses the Borghese Gallery. Or I think of the aristocratic Pamphili Gallery, the contemporary vibe of MAXXI, and the papal collections of the Vatican Museums. Masters such as, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Caravaggio, and Veronese have adorned this city’s churches and museum walls for centuries. Their goal? Their message? To convey their ideologies surrounding issues such as religion, science, politics, sexuality, and the plight of the “common man”.
While times may have changed, our Artists are still struggling to convey such ideologies and ironically, using the same venue – the city walls. Literally. You can call it “urban art”, “guerrilla art”, “post-graffiti” or “neo-graffiti,” but what ever name you give it, you can’t deny that some of Rome’s decaying facades have become a living and breathing canvas to the emergent Street Art Movement. Approximately 150 streets display over 350 pieces of street art – and all you need to do to enter this “museum” is take a stroll down the backstreets of our hidden Roman neighborhoods.
Artists include those who come from afar, such as Herbert Baglione, C215, Borondo, Uno, and Gaia. But Italy, Rome particularly, is no stranger to it’s own homebred artists, such as Hitnes, Alice Pasquini, Agostino Iacurci, Jerico.Sten+Lex, Ozmo, Lucamaleonte, Blu, Omino71, and Mr. Klevra.
From Trastevere and Ostiense, to Pigneto and San Lorenzo, there is no stopping this movement, it brush marks, or its social commentary. So why do these artists choose the streets as their galleries? Their audience is the FREE public, unconfined by the formal art world. While some artists aim to provoke, to insight the viewer regarding socially relevant content, others simply see urban space as a canvas for personal artwork.
In Rome, perhaps one of the most prolific artists is known as Blu, a pseudonym he uses to conceal his real identity. He was born in Senigallia, Italy. He lives in Bologna and has been active in street art since 1999. In 2014 he finished a masterpiece that took 2 years to complete; it was the largest and most complex piece to date for Blu. His canvas, a large, abandoned Aeronautical military warehouse built in 1910, which has been “occupied” for the last twelve years by people in need of a roof over their heads (primarily coming from South America and North Africa). It’s no wonder Blu chose this venue. His brush strokes, creativity and attention to detail are visually intense, bringing to life the stories, trials, and tribulations of the people behind it’s walls.
No matter what their aim, street artists are transforming the streets of Rome. Some may so for the worse; but I say for the better. The Comune of Rome seems incapable of stopping people from spreading senseless graffiti throughout this historic and marvelous city. At least the Street Art Movement makes some sense of this chaos, creatively conveys a message, and aims to unite the people within its neighborhoods. Perhaps one of the biggest attractions is that it is free to all, rich and poor, as art should be.
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