By Michel Fily, April 25, 2019
Truly‘s anamorphic artwork slowly takes shape from the first encounter between its founders, all italian graffiti artists, active since the late 90’s. Practicing in train yards, abandoned factories and suburbs led the crew to constant experimentation and to a progressive detachment from primitive forms of graffiti and street art. The collective now focuses fully on figurative and abstract anamorphic art. Using perspective, this practice generates surreal 3D images, which merge with its surrounding environment. Urban Street Art Urbain interviewed lately this incredibly talented crew.
Hello, can you introduce yourself and your studio?
We are the collective Truly Urban Artists. We started doing Graff together twenty years ago, gradually focusing our artistic production on large scale Anamorphic Art, with an “urban” twist. In the meantime (precisely in 2007), we founded a visual communication studio – Truly Design Studio – which specializes in bespoke mural art, anamorphic art, branding, and custom graphic design and illustration.
What triggered your artistic career?
It was definitely Graffiti and Street Art which spurred in us an already burgeoning, pre-existing passion for drawing and art. Taking your work out in the public is an important step which compels you to receive feedback and focus on other people’s perception and comprehension of your artwork. The satisfaction of completing a piece, as well as the notoriety and reactions we got from our art, got us hooked instantly.
Tell us about your inspirations and influences?
Our studies and research have led us to gain insight on a vast artistic panorama, starting from classical ancient art all the way to contemporary phenomena like Graphic Design and Urban Art. Our main focus as an artistic collective, Anamorphic Art, brings us to the times of the Renaissance, where we find many of our references: Leonardo Da Vinci, Luca Pacioli, and further on all the way to contemporary masters Felice Varini and Georges Rousse.
What are your techniques and creative media?
We always start from pencil and paper, finalizing most of our designs digitally. As for painting, we either use mural acrylic paint or spraypaint.
Tell us about Street Art in your country…
Being a country with an immensely rich artistic tradition, Street Art in our country (Italy), since its first appearances, was always very much influenced by the many currents which have crossed the territory over millennia and which can still be clearly seen in our cities. Finding references to ancient Roman Art in Street Art is as common as chancing upon aesthetic influences deriving from Graphic Design. Street Art and Graffiti boomed here in the Nineties, becoming quite a large phenomenon and attracting youths transversally from all backgrounds. They now are recognized forms of art: festivals and neighborhood renewal projects have been transforming cities; acknowledgement of these art forms by institutions and the general public have even been creating the possibility for many of us to make a job out of our greatest passion. The current panorama is very vast, with many people still choosing to operate in total anonymity and illegality juxtaposed to those who now aim at getting their name and face very much known to everyone, a total overturning of the modality with which Urban Art is mostly taken on at first by youths.
How are you recognized as an artist there?
We have been on the graffiti scene for twenty years, so many other artists know us as “old school” graff writers. Among a broader public, we are known as one of the most experienced artistic identities in the field of Anamorphic Art.
Tell us about your relationship with the public…
Ever since we started painting walls legally and in broad daylight (from the early nineties), the public and the feedback we collected whilst painting on the street have been and continue to be essential for us in order to learn what “ordinary people” make of street art, and trying to go the extra distance by creating something more “legible” for everyone.
What message are you trying to convey through your works?
Amazement, bewilderment, joy, creativity. Through our Anamorphic Art we love to push the boundary between reality and artificial space and perspective, by creating something which exists thanks to scientific and physical principles mingling with our senses and the way we perceive reality. When we get to the point where people are doubting and questioning their senses, it means we hit the nail.
Is it easier or more difficult to be a graffiti artist than to be a painter?
Whilst it is possible for a Graffiti artist to be a painter, it is not so for the other way around, in the sense that Graffiti can “adopt” the aesthetics of traditional painting and transpose its techniques on a larger scale, whereas the opposite makes much less sense, both conceptually and technically speaking. Aside from this reflection, it is technically harder to use spray paint than the vast majority of other pictorial techniques, as is sketching and defining detail on large formats, so overall being a Graffiti Artist is one of a challenge. The two instances in which it is easier to be a painter are not having to paint at extreme temperatures during the winter, and obtaining recognition from the “official” art entourage and consequently make attempts to live off of your art.
What do you think of the evolution of Street Art today?
As communication speeds up, so does the diffusion of knowledge and images. We are bombarded each day with quantities of images manifold more numerous than those we would have seen in our entire life a mere 500 years ago. This has led to an everlasting process of renewal, reciprocal influences, and amalgamation in all artistic fields. Street Art in particular, with its attention for social and political circumstances, quickly adopts cross-references from other media and cultures in order to deliver its message with cutting edge. Street Art is definitely an important touchstone for a generation’s mindset.
What are your current artistic activities and your future projects?
We are currently (as always) juggling a few artistic projects which I cannot disclose details of just quite yet, and at the same time (as always) carrying out a great deal of research and experimentation, on a more conceptual level as well as in a strictly technical sense. We are working on canvas, a support we have been seeing too little of over the past few years, clearly favoring large mural formats. We are having a great deal of fun playing around with mirrors and LED lights and are quire curious to see what will emerge from all this brainstorming and clutter.
What do you think about your success and what are your dreams?
I guess we owe our success mainly to our passion and ceaseless interest for our work, which has led us to pursue high quality projects and allowed us to specialize quite a lot in our scope. Aside form this necessary condition, being an artistic collective means that our ideas have always been the overlapping of the single artists’ personality, inspiration, and technical approach: this opens quite a few doors and allows for a richer brainstorming and more complex ideas: the strength of our unity is also something which has helped a great deal. In general, finding inspiration and allowing it to guide our work is our main goal. Of course, our ultimate dream is that of leading our experimentation so far as to get to a result which there are no words to describe just quite yet!
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