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UNO Interview | Italy

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UNO is a Russian born street artist who now lives and works in Rome.

The techniques used in his artistic production are the classics of street art, although his preference, right from his first experiences in the street, are posters — repetition, collage, decoupage.

Anything that has to do with paper and its manipulation, with the streets and the ephemeral, with the perpetual and incessant need to roam around burning the midnight oil.

– How did it all start for you, and what has it turned into nowadays?

Since I was a child art has always been part of my life. When I was young I spent a lot of time painting with my father.
I started working on the street during the first years of 2000s and I began to do it in a serial manner when the icon of a famous chocolate brand, well known to my generation was replaced by a more eye-catching one. This urged me to begin doing what I still do.

-What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?

-Street art is mostly a visually stimulating form of art. To add one more sense to it, what music would you pick to accompany your artwork?

The music of Mike Skinner, no doubt.

-In all forms of art, inspiration is crucial. What inspires you?
The 80s, the 90s, ceramic, old wallpapers, punk and underground culture, pop and street culture, situationism and guerrilla art… All the experiences and realities that I have known and deepened over the years of my training are an undeniable presence in my work.

-Before going to paint, what is on your check list to take along?
I have an ever-ready bag, inside there is everything I need to work: stencils, tape, caps and spraycans. I just have to add or change a few colors every time.
Another bag is for pasting on the streets: glue, brush and obviously a bunch of posters.

-Do you have any artists you admire and on what basis?
I admire the works of great artists such as Warhol and Rotella.
I especially like the work done by Andy Warhol on the seriality and “consumption of images”.
About Mimmo Rotella I consider interesting the way in which his work was focused on a common object removed from its natural environment and also admire his ability in working with paper.

-Have had any trouble with the authorities while practising your art? Feel free to tell us of an instance.
Sorry but I prefer not to answer this question.

-Which cities do you think are the most inspirational in Street Art?

Currently I prefer small towns, where it’s easier to have a contact with the community and where you have time to get familiar with the place.

-Do you have other passions apart from art?
To clean the kitchen.

-What is the wildest project that you wish to achieve some day?
Create and build an entire house and design the interior and the exterior of it.

-Does your art include symbolisms, messages or repeated patterns?
Lots of symbolism and iconography, few ironic messages and lots of repeated patterns!

-How do you react when you realise someone has vandalised your work?
I’m okay with it, the street belongs to everyone!

-What reaction do you aim to get from viewers, when they see one of your works on the street?
People is so various and I like variety in every form. I think all kind of reaction could satisfy me, either positive or negative.

– If you were a holy spirit what would you change in this world?
The quality of neon colors for spray paints.

-What are your creative plans for the future?
On June 8th I’m opening an exhibition in Rome that’s the conclusive part of a project I’ve been working on during this past year. It’s a research I did on all the techniques and inspirations of my artistic past, some kind of Proust’s little madeleine, and that became an exhibition of works of spray and stencil on paper.
Right after that I will be visiting festivals and working on a new project.

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