The work of Italian artist Jupiterfab seeks to highlight the use and/or abuse of technology in modern life. His uncanny depictions of people often in ‘social’ situations clutching at ‘selfie’ sticks or staring into screens resonate awkwardly. The juxtaposition of these concepts, in turn with the hand-painted murals in public and communal spaces, is a catalyst for conversation. In this interview, we get to know more about the evolution of Jupiterfab’s work, his motivations and upcoming projects.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself!
I am an Italian artist, nowadays I am based between Europe and Mexico and for many years I have lived and worked in Toronto, Rotterdam and Barcelona.
As an artist, I took the decision not to follow any academic studies and to work freely on the evolution of my art. Of my topics the streets soon became a source of inspiration and also my canvas.
My art is the reflection of extensive observation of urban life and human beings, which I mix in my works with my sensibility and personal way of painting.
The main subject of my works is the human body. I study and represent them, underlining who we are behind the mask, our real feelings and our real emotions.
The main goal of all my works is to make the viewer stop and reflect a little bit about normal aspects/concepts of our lives in a modern world and how we interact and communicate with each other.
I am a muralist inspired by Mexican muralists of 20th Century. I also love painting on canvas and working on sound installations. The sound installations are made in collaboration with my friend, Andrea Dedomenico.
My main mural project is called “Is this modern society?” This project is a mirror on the use/abuse of mobile phone and technology in our “modern” lives. My idea is that communication worldwide has become way easier but for absurd, we are struggling to communicate directly with people around us and we tend to use technology to do it rather than to talk directly. Moreover, we tend to be isolated from the rest of our surroundings looking for fast and superficial virtual enjoyments which, instead of feeding us, make us everyday hungrier. The entertainment era ate us completely and our personal ego has filled every space of our lives.
In 2009, I also began to work on social-art projects about marginalised communities, using art as a tool to make a community stronger and their voice more widely heard. Every year I work on a project about a community.
How long have you been making art? How did you start?
I started when I was a kid, writing a lot. As a visual artist I started in 2004 and my first mural was in 2009 in Rotterdam.
At the beginning art was a way to vent my feelings and my frustration on the outside. And in a way, I guess it still has this function on me, plus I try to make people wake up, reflect and think a little bit.
Painting on the street is a lot different to paper – how did you make this transition?
To begin with I painted on canvas but I was unrolling it on a wall and then painting because I was feeling the need to feel the wall. I always loved to paint big, so truth is, there had never been a real transition.
Why did you choose your artist name? What does it represent?
It came about by accident when I created my first email account. My name was too common in Italy and at that moment I was listening to a song by The Cure “Jupiter crash”. I did not know what Jupiter meant but I liked the sound of the word and here we are…Jupiterfab, which is the joining of Jupiter and Fab (the beginning of my name).
Do you do legal or illegal pieces?
I normally paint legal but sometimes when I do political pieces I paint illegal.
Once in Barcelona I installed a mural I painted on canvas. It was about the way Catalan politicians throw the topic of independence in the eye of people in order to hide all of the stealing they do. The piece was taken down by someone the same night I had put it up… it disappeared.
Who do you paint for?
I paint for myself and for the people who see my work.
What styles/materials/techniques inspire you?
It is a mix of classic and modern. I love Michelangelo and Caravaggio but I remember I felt a strong feeling of energy in my veins when I visited an exhibition of work by Basquiat. I guess I feel inspired by everything I feel is strong and with a real sensibility and reflection behind it.
How does location affect how you work/what you paint?
Under my point of view, murals must have a sense/a reason why they are in the place they are painted. They have to play with the architectural space they are located.
If resources were no issue, what would you create/do?
I am used to seeing the lack of economical resources as a way to increase my creativity and collaborations with other artists and people in general. There are always ways to do what you want, especially in the street… And if you cannot do something now exactly as you would like to do it, well, you have to be patient and you will do it later and bigger.
Where is the best place in the world to be a graffiti artist?
I don’t know exactly, but from my experience, I felt Athens a great place with a great vibe and talent in the street.
What life experiences led you to the work you do now?
Life experiences are the base of the way I make art and the subject I paint my works about.
What else have you been up to recently? What are your plans for the future?
I keep working on my main project “Is this modern society?” trying to spread it in different places and countries.
Shortly I will be back in Europe (I am in Mexico now) and I will paint in Sofia, London, Manchester and Barcelona.
Moreover, I am starting a project in my native city, Brescia, in Italy working with teenagers in a neighbourhood with a high percentage of immigrants and problems of marginalisation and integration. The project will last 3 years.
Do you have any other projects/goals aside from in graffiti/street art?
Yes, I love sound installation and painting in the studio too. They are different processes, I can work in a more intimate and complex way. And social projects are important for me too.
All images courtesy of the Jupiterfab.