It’s the fourth edition of “Without Frontiers”, a festival of urban art in Mantova Italy, organized by Simona Gavioli and Giulia Giliberti. This is the first mural we’ve seen from the 2019 edition, a hail of man-made products falling from the sky called “Plastic Rain” by Street Artist Mr. Fijodor. Here Mr. Fijodor is helping to continue a recently begun public painting tradition in this city with his illustrative scene of humans repairing a robot amid destruction, a storm of plastic bottles falling all around them.
Since 2016 the festival has tried to balance the new muralism of the moment with the history of Mantova (or Mantua in Emilian dialect) sometimes referred to as “the cradle of Renaissance culture”. Truthfully it’s a city known perhaps more for its Gonzaga tapestries than it’s Street Art culture but since 2016 “Without Frontiers” has hosted artists including Bianco-Valente, Boogie Ead, Corn79, Elbi Elem, Ericailcane and Bastardilla, Etnik, Fabio Petani, Mach505, Made514, Molis, Panem and Circenses, Perino and Vele, Peeta, Sebas Velasco, Vesod, Zedz, Joan Aguilò and Joys.
You are what you eat. Mr Fijodor thinks we are eating cars, buildings, cities and a few other non-foods along with all the other stuff in this stack of hamburgers. Of course, he is right.
Researchers from GlobalChange.govsay that already we have chemical contaminants in the food chain, with things like mercury, carbon dioxide, and pesticides altering our daily diet.
Here at the Athens Street Art Festival the Italian Street Artist says his multi-story “XXXL Panta Burger”in Nikaia is, “A visionary section of our times, a fat and enlarged shape of it.”
He began his public art career as a graffiti writer in 1994 but these days Mr Fijodor (alias Fijodor Benzo) receives invitations to participate in quite a few festivals and create works for private clients, usually painting in his dream-inspired cartoon-style illustrations.
Since its’ beginning almost a decade ago the Athens Street Art Festival, lead and organized by Andreas C Tsourapas, has hosted more than 170 artists painting in multiple municipalities of Athens.
Mr Fijodor tells that he was supported and promoted by the Italian Culture Institute of Athens to get to this festival. He says he’s happy to do this mural, which is marked by a social or ecological criticism that he often uses, “using as a weapon a childish and astonished smile realized through a spontaneous and direct style, free from any complex technical elements.”
An appreciable number of Street Artists around the world continue to address climate change with their work, whether small stickers or large murals, often with a focus on the animals that cohabitate with humans. Functioning perhaps as the canary in a coalmine, this rising number or artists and creatives is beginning to sound like a chorus.
17 street artists are realizing public artworks that address the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development 2030 (#Envision2030), say organizers of this new initiative in Turin, and Mr. Fjodor chose number 14, which examines “Life Below Water” with a focus on sea and its inhabitants. He tells us that Goal No. 14 to him means first prevention of pollutants and then finding ways to significantly decrease every kind of marine pollution.
“I have interpreted the Life Below Water goal using a whale as the main character of my work, being the largest marine mammal but also one of the most vulnerable,” says the artist. “The whale represents the fragility of the marine ecosystem and the careless and shortsighted exploitation made by men”.
Monsters, whales, deer, dragons, dogs, birds, fictional creatures from the woods, very surprised looking people; these are the figures who appear in the murals of Italian Street Artist Mr. Fijordor. A graff writer/ Street Artist since 1994, the quietly engaging wit of his simple illustrations are meant to converse with passersby.
Here he shows you his new mural work just completed on the façade of an elevator company’s business here in Turin, and he tells us it is 130 meters long. “Although the winter is cold I managed to draw a giant wall with skyscrapers, dragons and robots,” he says.
So here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Alexis Diaz, Below Key, Bia Does NYC, Blox, Ceas, City Kitty, Donut, Drsc0, El Sol 25, Kimyon333, LDLR, Lego To The Party, Loa Jib Lazee, London Kaye, Lunge Box, Mr. Fijodor, Myth, Pat69, Pixote, Willow and Witch Christ.
New York is bracing, as is the rest of the country, for the fallout of the election.
We’ve seen an uptick in anti-semitic graffiti on the street, but not a great deal of other stuff aside from acidic disgust toward Trump – but that was true before the election. The governor and the mayor are warning the new administration that no discrimination or hate will be welcomed in the State or City. Most of the time the president elect is still hanging out at his towers in Manhattan choosing rich, connected, white men to fill all his cabinet posts. Almost every one those choices have people up in arms.
Meanwhile, the autumn has been spectacular and we’re all reminding ourselves and each other that we have a lot to be thankful for, and to fight for – for all of us across the country in every city, town, suburb, and rural home. It looks like winter is coming, so gather wood for the fire.
It’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Aaron Ki, C-3, Dan Witz, Ganzeer, Individualactivist, Livio Ninni, Mark Bode, Mr. Fijodor, ODeith, Ouizi, Qi Xinghau, Raphael Federici, Roteo, SpY, and Voxx Romana.
Wild Style. No, not the movie nor the distinctive look of aerosol lettering by a graffiti writer. But yes, that is what the Italian Mr. Fijodor refers to when talking about his surreal, simple and spontaneous creatures in an abandoned industrial grove. Maybe these are closer to Where the Wild Things Are since his style is more like an illustrator of a children’s fantastic tale than writer of a big burner.
“Clumsy hominids, hallucinated minotaurs, gargantuan fish and frightened dinosaurs peek out from the walls,” Mr. Fijodor tells us, and you can see how his imagination is freed in these spots that are slowly being reclaimed by the forces of nature. He says the hallucinatory phenoms come from his dreams as well as his nightmares but for urban explorers who like to discover places like this, they can become reality for a minute before they are covered with mold and vines.