This weekend Urban Contest is taking place in the Circus Maximus. This event brings together the city of Rome and street artists to display their talents in a public forum. Yesterday a pact was signed between the city and the cultural association Walls, which has been working for years in the city to make bring public art to the city. Alemanno has agreed to provide 100 legal walls (4 for each municipio) where artists will be free to paint. People can help select walls for consideration by going on the Walls website and giving suggestions. Do I think that this will help end the vandalism that we see in the city with walls covered in tags, etc? Not quite, but I think it’s an important step forward. Of course, the artists who will be using the walls are not the same people scribbling in marker on any surface they see, but I am all for giving people places to express themselves. I will be most excited if and when I see the city begin to start really spending money to clean buildings and when city officials realize that the excessive hanging of political posters (sometimes up to 6 inches thick), often in illegal places, is one of the worst eyesores in the city and creates enormous amounts of litter. I firmly believe that by showing this respect for the city, citizens will return this favor in kind.
Anyway, enough of my rambling and back to Urban Contest. The action started tonight, but from 11 am to 5 pm tomorrow you can go to the Circus Maximus and see 15 different artists from all over Italy complete large scale canvases. Above is a just a glimpse at some of the action tonight, but one thing I can say is that I was very impressed with the wide range of styles and techniques represented. It goes to show the breadth of Italian urban art and my compliments to Walls and 21 Grammi for making it happen. Go my advice, go stop by tomorrow to see some live art in progress before heading to the Invader show, which opens at 6 pm.
PS. The artist in action in photo 2 is Sparky. Photo 3 is the sketch of his work.