Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Graffiti Borgo degli Albizi Florence Italy



Cari Amici (Dear Friends),




As a continuation of my last blog post on the original form of graffiti, I share with you these images of a gorgeous work in degradation.  It is on Borgo degli Albizi, one of my favorite eye candy streets in Florence, Italy.  I think these designs are beautiful. 
[Click on an image to see it in a larger form.]




Even though the light pigments have eroded away, the ideas are still somewhat visible, “scratched” into the concrete.  True graffiti





This fourth image is a bit funny… to repair graffiti, it makes sense that one would have to refill the original incisions or decaying part.  But this grey ball is one blob that is not only a bit thick (protruding from the wall more than the rest of the design), but it seems odd that the new design was not created immediately while the cement was still wet!  Who knows how long this has been this way?


What a fantastical creature s/he is!



And finally, old and new graffiti together.  



Past posts about Italian graffiti:
My previous post with the meaning of “graffiti” :  http://artbyborsheim.blogspot.it/2013/08/graffiti-florence-italy.html
The sign of the Medici family (6 balls on the shield):  http://artbyborsheim.blogspot.it/2012/10/graffiti-florence-italy.html
Few things last forever, disappearing graffiti:  http://artbyborsheim.blogspot.it/2012/10/more-graffiti-florence-italy.html


****
Interested in street art?  I created a different kind of it in Florence over the course of four years.  I have written a book about the art, the artist, the politics, and the ambiance of working from 10 am to midnight in the streets on Italy.  The book is titled, “My Life as a Street Painter in Florence, Italy” and you may get your copy at a country near you… click on the appropriate Amazon link on the right hand column, under the moon at:

And thank you for joining me on this artistic journey.
Kelly Borsheim, sculptor / painter / muralist
 



Sunday, August 18, 2013

Graffiti Florence Italy


Cari Amici (Dear Friends),


I have written before about graffiti here in Italy before.  I just find it fascinating and beautiful.  I am speaking of the original meaning of graffiti, not so much the graffiti of today.

graf·fi·ti  [gruh-fee-tee] :

Origin:
1850–55;  < Italian,  plural of graffito  incised inscription or design, derivative with -ito -ite2  of graffiare  to scratch, perhaps influenced by presumed Latin *graphīre  to write; both probably derivative of Latin graphium  stylus < Greek grapheîon;  cf. graphic, grapho-, graft




Coming home recently in Florence, Italy, I turned down a short road on the Oltrarno side of the Arno River, not far from the Trinita bridge.   It was after dark and my lack of ability with Photoshop meant that I was not able to successfully lighten these images… but here goes.






You may see here that the cement was troweled onto the wall and then the designs were scratched into the still-wet mixture.  Just as in sculpting in 3-dimensions, note that the artistan keeps the line at 90 degrees and crisp when he wants a dark line [note the raised edges on the straight lines near the top of the image], while he opens up the incision a bit if he was a lighter effect [grey vs. black, curved lines in the bottom part of the image].  In something flatter than a proper bas relief sculpture, these subtleties are about the only control the artisan has to play with tone, other than using actual color later.


This third image shows how this material ages… the wall becomes highly textured (and in my view, gorgeous) in the process of erosion.  

This next series illustrates a couple of things.  I have noticed here in Italy (and maybe in other countries) that great art is one thing and decoration quite another.  However, it is amazing what a simple design (technically speaking) can do for a space.  Many times I have seen palaces and homes decorated to the point of feeling almost too much on the wall patterns.  But when you look at the design, it is simple and repeated… not difficult per se, but it certainly gives a wondrous effect!



These last three images confuse and amuse me a bit.  I cannot tell if the faces in the patterns are by the original artisan or if a different person came along and added something closer to what we call “graffiti” today… the faces.  I am amused because you will note that the simple shape drawn for each head and the very simple faces drawn still result in what seems to me to be unique personalities.
A man…


A woman…


A work of art by Edvard Munch (author of “The Scream”).  What do you see?


I hope that you enjoy my little examinations of traditional Italian graffiti:   More in the next post.

Past posts about Italian graffiti:
The sign of the Medici family (6 balls on the shield):  http://artbyborsheim.blogspot.it/2012/10/graffiti-florence-italy.html
Few things last forever, disappearing graffiti:  http://artbyborsheim.blogspot.it/2012/10/more-graffiti-florence-italy.html



Gadget

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