Beyond the Museum: Street Art in Florence
by Nellie Farrow
The art culture of Florence seeps onto the exterior of the city, making its way onto the many surfaces that line the crowded streets. The city is covered in street art: from graffiti to murals. According to some brief Google searches, this artistic vandalism is not illegal here in Florence. It’s great to see so much art decorating the city, beyond the scope of what is held sacred in museums. The focus in Florence, as the home of the Renaissance, is on art of the past, but street art, the art that most tourists gloss over, is alive with Florentine and international artists of today.
The most famous street artist in Florence is French artist Clet Abraham. His work playfully manipulates the symbols on almost every traffic sign across the city. For example, he adds a silhouetted figure carrying the white bar on the ‘no-entry’ sign and crucifies a silhouetted Christ on the ‘no through road’ sign. Less planned out but equally artistic are the tags from unidentifiable artists that appear anywhere from the outside of buildings to trash cans to the dam on the Arno river. Other popular street artists include Blub, Exit/Enter and Jamesboy.
Being from New York and studying in Los Angeles I’ve been surrounded by street art since I was young and have found inspiration from it in my art work. This makes the Florentine street art especially intriguing to me and it has continued to inspire my work here at SACI. I’ve taken photos of street art and transformed them into prints using linocut as well as photo-processes, transforming their color schemes and reinterpreting them through my own artistic perspective.
Nellie Farrow attends Occidental College in Los Angeles and her hometown is New York City. She majors in Studio Art and has worked mostly in photography, sculpture and printmaking. She is at SACI for both the Late Spring and the Summer terms.
Find out more about studying at SACI at www.saci-florence.edu.