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Street Artist John J. Mahyo Takes on the Mafia

When was the last time you saw Street Art addressing organized crime? No, not posters for Uggs, silly, the Godfather/Tony Soprano kind of thing…

Take a look at these photos by artist John J. Mahyo, who traveled to an abandoned stone quarry in southern Italy for a representational retelling of stories related to the reported crime family, Camorra. Influenced by the book, “Gomorrah” by Roberto Saviano that reportedly unmasked a modern day crime family, thus meriting 24-hour police protection for the author, Mahyo worked with photographer and artist Elp Supra to create this homage to the victims of organized crime. In his words, “It’s a simple guerrilla action against Mafia and a support to the civic engagement of Roberto.

John J. Mahyo. Caserta, Italy. (Photo © Elp Supra)

John J. Mahyo. Caserta, Italy. (Photo © Elp Supra)

Mahyo, who speaks oddly in the third person about himself, answered a few questions about the work.

Brooklyn Street Art: Can you expand a bit on the use of death (skeletons) and the “business men” in the large mural?
John J. Mahyo: Certainly… The skeletons represent the Mafia’s victims ready to relive and get revenge against their nemesis, represented by a mobster and his killers and assistants.

John J. Mahyo "Ginevra Risman" (Photo © Elp Supra)

John J. Mahyo “Ginevra Risman” (Photo © Elp Supra)

Brooklyn Street Art: The portrait of the lady sits on a bed of arms. Could you expand on those symbols and their juxtaposition?
John J. Mahyo: The lady is Ginevra Risman (anagram of a notorious Italian actress); she looks like an “Avenging Angel” just emerging from a pool of blood, AK-47, Thompson and Beretta guns

John J. Mahyo. "Ginevra Risman" (Photo © Elp Supra)

John J. Mahyo. “Ginevra Risman” (Photo © Elp Supra)

Brooklyn Street Art: Can you tell us a little bit more about you and about Roberto? Who is John J. Mahyo?
John J. Mahyo:
Well, he was born as a graffiti artist in 1997 and at the sunrise of the 3rd Millennium he began to also create Street Art (the evolution of “writing”). Mahyo doesn’t consider himself an artist but a communicator; he asserts that art is a genuine communication that can be used as a weapon to win lost causes. Just like Roberto Saviano, who wrote “Gomorrah”, the best-selling book translated in 51 countries, where he describes the clandestine particulars of the Camorra business.

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