Ferraro-based mural artist Allessio Bolegnesi continues our summertime fascination with Italian painters on this last day of summer. This “Whale-man” is a provocative fusion you haven’t probably considered, yet now you may wonder if it will be possible someday. Actually, he says the new 15 x 7.5-meter mural is just a metaphor.
Allessio tells us, “The Whale-man is a symbol of the relationship that binds the human being to the sea and vice-versa.” It is true if you have ever met an oceanographer or a surfer. This relationship, the artist says, is, “A bond that we’re forgetting.”
Alessio Bolognesi. “The Whale-Man”. Caorle Sea Festival 2022. Caorle, Italy. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Ferrara-based Alessio Bolognesi (Bolo) is a part of the Vida Krei Collective with two other Italian artists, Psiko and Rash. Here in Molinella last fall for the ARTU festival, BOLO went solo to paint his “Folaga Partigiana”, or “Partisan Coot.”
The huge event invites many artists to paint – one creative activity that isn’t really constricted during the pandemic – and one that draws an appreciative audience.
Bolo’s mural focuses on a Coot – the medium-sized water that are members of the rail family, Rallidae – and who figure into regional history. He places and old water mill on the bird’s back, and since Molinella comes from the Italian word for mill, Molino, you can see where he is taking you. He places a red handkerchief around its neck in solidarity with the partisan struggles in this area, he says.
“I wanted to create a work that can be read at different levels” – Bolo explains – “the first impact is certainly due to the contrast between the bunch of colors in the background and the black of the coot which, I hope, is positive for those arriving in the village since the wall of the railway station on which I painted the mural is located right on one of the main access roads to the town. However, if you want to read beyond the aesthetic aspect, then you can stop and reflect on the references to the territory and history I wanted to include in the project “
Artists who participated in the festival included Kiki Skipi, Mi Chiamo Zeta, Vesod, Fabio Petani, Paolo Psiko, Alessio Bolognesi, Ermes Bichi, Alessio Anthony, Pasa, Burla, Turbo Kidd, Luca Lorenzoni, Edo 9000, Gloria Goderecci, Adamo Morky, Luca Falesiedi, Inch the Kid, Marco Gallini, Brome 732, Rash, Mr S and Jato.
“I chose whales because despite of their size, so many are found on our beaches with the stomach full of plastic,” says Alessio Bolognesi about this new mural for the ST.ART festival in Italy. “It’s a symbol, in my mind, of how even the huge animals are so powerless.”
The image of large seafaring creatures washing up on shore starved of nutrition and bloated with plastic is becoming more common as we continue to poison ourselves and the world. Not surprisingly, similar images are also popping up in Street Art in other locations.
Originally from Ferrara in the north of Italy, the 3D
graphic designer also once belonged to a graffiti crew as a kid, and he now balances
professional design work with an increasing number of mural painting
opportunities. Here in Provincia di Vicenza (Veneto region), he says he chose a
whale drowning in plastic for this secondary school façade. But he didn’t want
to be completely didactic, preferring to let the viewer make the connections
“I like to paint murals with a ‘multi-layer’ reading approach,” he explains. “You can look to the mural and just see the obvious image or you can try to go deeper and capture some more meaningful detail.”