A chat with Truly Design
interview Enrico Fassio / GIorgia Finello, photo we.mind, portraits Davide De Funtis
Truly Design is is an alternative communication studio directed by four urban artists intertwined in the world of graffiti, but your latest work using anamorphism at Museum Ettore Fico is an exhibition entitled: ”Truth depends on where you see it from.” Before you guys were critical of Artissima, now you do an exhibition, what is your relationship between the street and art museums?
Every year, after having visited it, we publish a very critical and ironic article about Artissima, accompanied by photographs regarding the works that we consider the most paradoxical. Our critical attitude is not about the “official” world of art, but a critique on hyper-sophisticated content that Artissima has offered for years. We have never ruled out the involvement in exhibitions, museums and galleries, especially since we decided to dedicate ourselves to the art even from a business standpoint. From our point of view the relationship between the street and art museums is a matter of terminology: for us only what we can paint in the streets, with out any interference or manipulation on the theme is defined as “Graffiti” or “Street Art”, all the rest of our work (works for institutions, museums, galleries, and so on) is totally another thing, it’s only contemporary art inspired by the aesthetics of Street Art and Graffiti. Use these two terms out of the public context seems incorret to us.
Pixel Pancho criticized the way of doing graffiti by projecting, what do you think about that? Is there a “right” or “wrong” to do graffiti?
The question of the “Projector” as an artistic term has been debated since ancient times, and the fact that some of the most important authors of the history of Western art (Tintoretto, Caravaggio, Dürer, Van Eyck) made use of similar instruments (optical chambers and co.) since at least the fifteenth century. So honestly, I think the debate holds little value and I think that every artist is free to choose to use technology (projectors, computers, sensors, 3D printers ..) to express themselves. Many artists of the Street Art world use the projector in a discontinuous way, depending on their needs, and challenges to try and figure out which works have been used and which have not .. At our age -33 years old- the considerations for a new piece or work are increasingly focused on a poetic appearance and less and less about the technical aspect, de gustibus (it’s latin for, It’s a matter of taste). Having studied drawing and painting at an Academy for many years, I don’t feel like I need to continue to demonstrate a certain designing virtuosity every time I paint or draw. Many times we had to use the projector mainly for reasons of time, without ever considering it to be the real do’er of the work, but only a very useful help.
In street art there is a bit ‘a competition to see who is more “real”, why have you decided to follow the route of “legal” graffiti?
Like everyone, in 1997, we started with illegal graffiti, street bombing, tags and trains, we did not miss anything. Painting of night trains in twenty minutes was an incredible experience
that has marked a considerable portion of our youth. We must also consider that at the time painting illegally was the only way forward since a legal way didn’t exist yet. Through the years we’ve been driven by the desire to paint more and more complex things, large and conceptual at the expense of our nocturnal and illegal activities. The need for time to realize our new projects has made us closer to legal tagging, even in conjunction with the opening of a good dialogue with the institutions of the city. Turin has been able to create a dialogue with the phenomenon of graffiti, without creating a bigger problem as is what happened , for example, in Rome or Milan.
What do you think of the action of Blue in Bologna?
We fully support the action of Blue in Bologna in retaliation in the response to his street works being “forced to become museum- ized”. For the organizers, this is a case of protection against an artistic heritage that would be demolished, which took place without contacting the creators (all still alive and known) of the work itself or to consider their wishes in this regard. The sense of the ephemeral is intrinsic to the graffiti artist themselves and does not scare any artist or creator belonging to the movement. Like Td, we have a photographic archive documenting hundreds of graffiti paintings in the course of almost two decades, most of which has been demolished, repainted or washed (in the case of trains). For us there is a conscious choice, when we make public art, to entrust the fate of our work with all the formalities of time and events. Blue himself decides where, when and if he wants to market or sell his art. Surely, this decision can’t be taken without his consent.
How do you reconcile the soul of an artist with the business side?
The balance of the group is based on a clear distinction between commercial commissions (with customers and maybe a theme to follow and a price that allows us to work and to support ourselves) and the creation of works, whether on a wall or canvas. The fruit of the commissioned work, much closer to the traditional tasks of a classic studio of communication, allow us to invest time and resources in our free and independent Street Art projects, such as our “Medusa”.