Interview : Vera Bugatti
My name is Vera Bugatti. I’m an Italian artist & street painter, born 1979.
2/You’re born in Italy, worked in Mexico, Germany, USA, Netherlands, What cities do you prefer? What they bring you artistically ?
3/Never in France ?
I performed in France in May 2012, at the Festival de Street Painting de Toulon. I created the piece ”Old woman with cat” using chalk on pavement and It had a size of 3 x 3 meters. The piece was dedicated to the relation between the woman and the cat, like in family embrace. The cat is in the colors we all can see. The old strong woman is in the colors that cats can better see, yellow and green. Every character lives in relation with the other, in a symbiotic connection. The friendship between man and animals, man and nature is one of subjects I like to work on. At the end I got the "1er prix Spécial International".
4/What’s exactly the 3d pavement art ?
Pavement art, commonly known also as street painting, sidewalk art or madonnari art, is the performance art of creating designs on pavement (streets, sidewalks, squares, asphalt) with impermanent colors as chalk or pastels. That is the original ephemeral technique and I usually follow that tradition cause I like the concept that my work will disappear as soon as the wind blows, as fast as the rain comes.
Nowadays artists use also semi-permanent colors (paintings o pigments with binder) to create large pieces that can resist to rain few days during the creating process. The 3D pavement art has been practiced in the 1980s by master Kurt Wenner and by other artists as Julian Beever and Edgar Müller. The suggestion was the ancient anamorphic art, a 500-year-old technique in which images appears in the right perspective only when viewed from a specific angle. That is the main idea of the 3D pavement art. You can work on different kind of distortions.I worked in the Wenner’s team in the USA two years ago and we created a very large piece that requested a high point of view. Visitors had to be elevated on a platform to see and shot the piece from the right point of view.
On my website you can see other artworks with that technique, the last two made in USA (The raft of Human Rights, created with the italian artists Cuboliquido, Legno, Ketty Grossi and Fabio Fedele) and Mexico (El sueno de un pintor, created with the mexican artists Adry del Rocìo and Alberto Carlos Garcìa Hernandez). I also worked on cylindrical anamorphoses (you need a cylindric mirror to see the right design) in the installations of my project "Memory Theater".
5/You prefer to paint faces, animals, moments of life, artists… ?
I surely love drawing portraits and feelings. My chalk pieces develop from heart, dream and mind through imagined and referenced sources, with nods toward art history and contemporary cultural iconography.
6/What are your main influences - art and otherwise ?
I have a weakness for artists of the XVI century. I’m not able to chose, I often think to Pontormo for example. In past I was a researcher on XVI-XVII cent. history so maybe that world had been fundamental in my way of thinking to Art. I also really love the sketches and engravings by Dürer, Rembrandt, and especially Honoré Daumier and Francisco Goya.
On the other side I love many artists from XX cent. and some contemporary ones surely as Lucien Freud and Ron Mueck. In the street painting I met many amazing artists. If I have to chose I can say that my favourite is Eduardo Relero from Argentina. I met him in many events, I think his work is fantastic, original and ironic as him in person.
7/One day with Vera, it would be what ?
It depends… If I draw on pavement I’m a very hard worker so often I’m in my world and I lost the connection with time and people. I’m also a Librarian so I like talking (and maybe I talk too much…) about books, history and art. So your afternoon could be different in the two situations!
8/There aren’t many women street artists, too much divided up ? too male ? What do you think about it ?
I think that now the number of women street painters is increasing and maybe it will be soon quite the same of men. One (but I can say other names) is the master Tracy Lee Stum from USA. I can say also that at the madonnari competition in Italy you can find sometimes more women that men. We work 24 hours straight on on asphalt under the sun of august and it seems that women are stronger in these conditions!
In the world street painting you can find many women artists too and the majority are not very young. It seems that in the years they become stronger as well as experienced! That’s in relation to pavement art. Regarding wall-art/writing I cannot say more cause it’s equally street art but I don’t know well that kind of world.
9/Your work is meaning, coloured, delicacy, you are proud (of you) ?
Often I’m not completely satisfied of the completed pieces on pavement and if the time to work on would be more I would work more. My friends told me always ”you never finish”. They are right, I work in the dark to put lights on details also when the piece doesn’t need more! That’s an incentive to be better another time. I have surely my favorite artworks, maybe "Die Erzhaler", "Pantheistic Dream", "The Old Circus manager" and "Co.Co.Pronto?".
10/Wich techniques did you use ?
In the pavement art I use principally chalk, a few times pigments with water to make backgrounds. I also paint on canvas, create artworks with iron (my Wire and nails project) and installations as the ”Memory machines”. You can see more on my website http://www.verabugatti.it
11/Before painting on streets/pavements, you prepare your work on paper or you make everything for the instinct without preparation ?
I always prepare a sketch black and white with pencil on paper cause are original pieces and I have to work on the subjects before. The high majority of street artists have sketches for 2 reasons: you have a big pavement size and you have to stay in that square (it needs right proportions); if you are making a 3D you have to create a grid on pavement to make the right draw. If you wrong something (also a small detail) the final piece will not work, it will be not correct in shot!
12/The son of my friend makes street art, it happened arrested by the police, but that mother is very proud of what he is doing. Your parents / friends are also proud of you ?
My parents and friends are proud of me and they support me. Your friend was making murals or pavement art? In the pavement art you need a permission to work and anyway police can tell you to go away. We often work in organized events, always work during the day and your work will go away by itself at first rain. The writers often works in the dark with spray or permanent colors so if they are not in a event or they have not permission (I think you cannot have easy permissions for legal walls) they have to escape if they see the police. This is a really otherwise situation. My contest is never dangerous. These are two different worlds but I see often similar intentions in the social messages we both leave and I love much this.
13/You had a day envy to paint in an unusual place (abandoned place, summit of the Eiffel Tower, on roadsign, etc.) ?
14/What’s in your toolbox ?
Chalk of different colors (I love much yellow and black), scotch-tapes, a plastic cover, a measuring tape of 5 meters, my sketch in different versions.
15/Are there any artists that you would like to collaborate with ?
I collaborated with many artists and It was every time a good experience. In the future surely I’ll work with other ones so I’m open to collaborations!
16/Who are your heroes ?
I’ve not heroes. In the Pavement art world I love the humble ones cause they often are amazing street artists and good persons too.
1/ Old woman with cat (Toulon, France 2012).
2/ Rememberig (Wilhelmshaven, Germany 2012).
3/ In your mind (The Netherlands 2008).
4/ Rememberig II (Almere, The Netherlands 2013).
5/ Trick or Treat (USA 2010).
6/ On the water problem (Valkenburg, The Netherlands 2010).
7/ Sophie’s world (Dublin, Ireland 2011).
8/ In his future (Italy 2012).
9/ Die Erzhaler (Geldern, Germany 2013).
10/ Becoming blind (Blumberg, Germany 2013).