«HYBRIDUS REX» by HOWLERS CREW

HOWLERS CREW Interview – 2-12-2020

Street Art piece that has modified the urban space: HYBRIDUS REX

Location : MONGRANDO (BI), ITALY

Year : 2016

1- If you had to choose a Street Art piece that you created, as a transformation of the urban space, which one would you choose? How does this Street Art piece denote urban space metamorphosis?

If I had to choose, I will go for Hybridus Rex for sure. This piece was the result of a big collaboration with the inhabitants of the city and also have a really high impact on the urban space. It is done on a big concrete wall of a secondary school. Mongrando is a post-industrial little city near where we are born.

2- Why did you make this Street Art piece in this urban space? Was it the town hall or the property owner who authorized or asked you to create it? Can we consider this work as illegal/vandalism or legal, what is your criteria?

We where asked to paint this wall because it was really important for the institutions to give a new look at those sad building: kids everyday goes there and they wanted us to make it more beautiful and cozy. For sure they have also other, less honest, reasons. Let’s say that we cost less than a whitewasher. However, we decided to start the project but not just painting that wall. We have done two months meeting the kids in school to really make something for them and in which they would recognize theme selves. So, we where asked to do it, but we decide to do it in our own way. The final result was also criticized buy institutions and parents, but kids were happy: so, what’s the matter?

3- What is the message you want to communicate through this Street Art piece? Is it related to the urban space where you did it?

For this wall in particular, I can say that we didn’t represented our message: all the things were focused on involving the kids and peoples that lives near the school. Everything was about trying to understand their feelings and needs. What we wanted to communicate with this wall was the filing of those particular and difficult years of our lives, that corresponds to secondary school period. All the scene is frozen in a static, timeless moment. The Yellow suit that the dinosaur is wearing allows him to move on and survive in an unfriendly world: it has made t-rex harmless but is also the compromise that allow it to breath. The Hybridization Concept wants to be a metaphor of childhood, a moment of changing in our life. Everything came out from the meetings whit kids and inhabitants. So, I can say that is strictly related to the urban space in which we have done it.

4- How was this work integrated into the urban space? What was the interaction that the inhabitants of this city had with your project? Did they participate in its creation?

We tried to make something that could be impactful and also respectful of the landscape. The colors of the back ground were token by the sunset that you can see in this spot. We wanted to integrate the wall whit everything was around, but also to take people in another, surreal reality.

As I said everything was based on involving people. Regarding the kids, they were involved in the creative process for the sketch and we have try to stimulate their creativity and critical thinking. We also have involved the older ones during the practical realization of the wall. Talking about the community that lives near by the building, five or six people have worked with us during all the wall preparation and painting.

5- According to you, what is the criteria that determines your Street Art work modifies the urban space and why is your work considered aesthetically well done?

I think that is the main thing. For sure and unfortunately you cannot involve communities every time you are planning to do some wall: usually, those process takes long time and have to be planned in advanced. We always try, as we can, to get in touch with inhabitants and to understand the way of living of the place we are working on.

6- Why is urban art important to modify the urban space? What sort of projects are you planning to do in the future ?

I think that you can say that your wall has modified the urban space when you can see the changings in the way people looks at those building and at their everyday life. Not only the kids, but also parents, institutions and inhabitants were shocked: they started to think about the meaning that those wall have and how it is really modifying the city and the urban space that they are living. Not only good reviews are important. I think that you succeed when your wall became a point of start for something else: if you make people discuss on their habits and way of living those spaces you have reached your goal. Aesthetically speaking, you can say that something is well done when the wall is integrated in urban space but also impressive and have the power to be noticed.

7-What is the “historical future” of your work? Should we take care of it, preserve it and repaint it as if it were a museum’s piece of art? Or should it be allowed to age with the city itself?

Absolutely we don’t want our walls to be preserved and repaint, unless if you have painted into a regeneration project and the maintenance of your wall means the maintenance of all the space around. The wall has to change with the space around it: you have to see in it the time passing by and all thing and stuff that append to the city. This is the power of street art and it’s biggest value: you can work into the life and into the buildings of the city, for real.

8- How does your work add value to the urban space in which it is produced?

I think that every aesthetic change in the urban space’s landscape have the power to modify our lives: it could be something that you could not perceived, but it is still modifying somehow your way of living. And then, there is also the message that you want to communicate: the meaning of street art should be making people reflect about their lives, their place in the world and about the role that they are playing into the society.

9- What were the difficulties that you encountered during the completion of your work modifying the urban space?

There will be always someone that tries to make your life difficult or that is disagree with what you are doing… It could be Institutions but also inhabitants that don’t understand what you are doing or don’t want to understand it. Changings are always hard to accept. But I think that talking and try to answer people questions is the only way to manage those situations.

10- Why is urban art important to modify the urban space? What sort of projects are you planning to do in the future ?

Urban art is the way that you can use to communicate with every kind of people. Work into the public dimension means that you can really reach every single person that lives in the city and wall through the streets. Is a direct communication way that have the power to overcome social differences and roles. It’s also a tool with which you can create communities and relate peoples. Is the most beautiful declination of artistic disciplines nowadays and the only one that can hold inside the real meaning of what we call aesthetic (philosophically speaking) and art.

Nowadays we have a lot of projects on the way. Not as big as in the past, by now, but we are trying to do us best in all of those.

Interview conducted by Art Bill – journalist and owner of Street Art In Action.

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