Unpacking the STRAAT Catalogue. Happy December
Street Art in Southern Italy and more cool stuff, in your every-1st-of-the-month newsletter.
Hi there, how are you?
I’ve got this package from Amsterdam sitting around, I keep finding myself glancing at it multiple times a day, I step closer, sometimes I even take it in my hands, but I don’t have the nerve to open it up because it will mean acknowledging that my AmsterDream has factually come to an end.
I have been living in Rome for several months now, but my emotional state is still rooted into my Amsterdam life (quite ironically, as I’ve never felt I belong while I was living there). In particular, I keep thinking sentimentally about my job at the street art museum, the outcome of which awaits inside that Pandora’s box in my living room.
In the past months I’ve done several job interviews and to the question “What accomplishment are you most proud of?” my answer is always the same: writing that catalogue. I passionately worked at it during my time in The Netherlands, interviewing the artists who came to Amsterdam to create their artwork for ‘our’ street art museum and documenting their creative journey in this 300-page art book.
You would expect I impatiently opened it out from the postman’s hands, but the opposite happened. I’m glaringly avoiding the package on my way around the house, because I’m afraid it will relish some uneasy feelings I still have towards quitting that job, meaning I can no longer avoid to process them. That's probably what's going to have to happen, though. Whatever.
Let’s open the package together, shall we?
(read more about the editorial process of writing STRAAT Museum Catalogue on the blog)
Until next month,
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New on the blog!
Behind the Scenes of the Tower Art Museum and More Experiences I had in Matera
I had the chance to peek behind the scenes at Matera’s soon-to-open Contemporary Art Museum TAM, I visited the National Museum of Contemporary Sculpture MUSMA and, it goes without saying, I took many street art photos around the UNESCO-listed city.
New on the blog!
The Boca Contest Art and the Stunning Murals in Bonito
Bonito is home to one of the first street art projects in Italy. The native Colletivo Boca welcomed the first street artists in 2011, ushering in a vibrant adventure that culminated in 2016 with the Impronte mural art project.
In Partnership with Masterclass
Learn Portrait Photography with Annie Leibovitz
Each month I’ll review one Masterclass and leave you a special link to try it too, because I believe you should keep learning new things in order to trigger new ideas and nourish your mind.
This month I watched a class on Portrait Photography by Annie Leibovitz, an American photographer well-known for her conceptual portraits of pop icons in original settings.
Click below (yellow button) to take this Portrait Photography Masterclass with Annie Leibovitz, or go to the blog to read my full review.
Full disclosure: If you use the link above (yellow button) to get yourself a Masterclass membership, I’m earning a small commission at no additional cost to you.
Handpicked by Yours Truly
Stuff I liked this month
“Tear Along the Dotted Line”, the first Netflix series by Italian cartoonist Zerocalcare. I’ve always loved his comic books, both for the sensible way he treats social and political issues and for expressing so well the discomfort of Millennials -a constant feeling of unease that is so widespread in our society to become intergenerational:
What just happened in the street art world? Artists from all over the world are flying to Miami for that annual graffiti + street art reunion that is Wynwood Mural Fest, undoubtedly the most attended event in the scene, the one appointment all artists look forward to. Photos are popping up on Instagram and, like every year, it looks like everybody is having the time of their lives. I don’t have a favorite mural yet, but I’m definitely enjoying the festival vibe through the lens of legendary graffiti photographer Martha Cooper (@marthacoopergram)
Martha Cooper is a true legend. She extensively documented the rise of graffiti and street art in New York and her first book, Subway Art (1984), is considered the Graffiti Bible. You can learn more about her and her photography in the documentary movie “Martha: A Picture Story” by Selina Miles.
“Like many other people, I met Martha through this sort of street art / graffiti connection. It wasn’t until my first days in New York that I realized that she worked for National Geographic, she had this photography project in Baltimore and she has done many other amazing things. As she revealed herself to me, I realized that my feature would have been much longer than 10 minutes, as I had originally planned.” - Selina Miles
Last month marked the 1st anniversary of street artist Hyuro’s death. Escif and Axel Void honoured the recurrence with this moving mural in Paris:
“Tamara asked me to assist her in painting this sketch on this wall before she died. Somehow in a strange and beautiful way, it is such an honour to be her assistant together with our dear friend Escif” - Axel Void
Mural of the Month: “Portrait of Caroline Chisholm” by Fintan Magee in Sydney:
Australian street art legend Fintan Magee has just completed a new mural at the corner of Bedford and Baltic streets in Newtown, Sydney. The mural depicts Caroline Chisholm, a 19th-century English humanitarian known mostly for her support of immigrant female and family welfare in Australia. It shows a further evolution of the bevelled glass technique that Fintan Magee is currently experimenting, which I find mesmerising and I can’t wait to see live, on an actual wall -I’m sure it’s even more striking than how it looks on screen;
I also liked this 800-sqm mural painted by Vesod in Lodi (Italy), which is inspired by Giacomo Leopardi’s poem “L’infinito” (The Infinite). Vesod mixed his iconic, futurism-inspired painting language with a vertical garden made of actual plants:
This animated GIF by French street artist Levalet;
This hilarious illustration about what a graffiti writer sees in the public space;
I watched a new Italian series called Dinner Club, which isn’t a masterpiece but, as I know that many of you follow this newsletter to reminisce on your holiday in Italy, I’m posting here the official trailer (you can turn English subtitles on). Expect beautiful sceneries, off-the-beaten path places, local food, traditional recipes and a cast of extremely popular Italian actors and comedians:
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From the Archive
NICO, The Riot Vandals (TRV) and the Golden Age of Graffiti in Rome
When I was 7 years old, the TRV Crew started tagging the walls of Rome. That’s how all this began for me; as an innocent hunt down the rabbit hole of Rome’s earliest graffiti scene. Little did I know that, almost 30 years later, I would once again be walking on TRV’s footsteps by going from Rome to Amsterdam, where I met NICO, a founder of the TRV Crew.