A few months ago we were able to catch up with the always on-the-go Jessica Stewart and chatted about her new book (in English and Italian) on Rome’s fascinating and energetic street art movement — Street Art Stories Roma. It took us several months, multiple phone calls and emails, and another trip to Rome’s Mondo Bizarro Gallery (really nice folks there!) to finally get our copy — and we were fortunate enough to grab a second one which we will be giving away to a lucky fan or follower!
Jessica moved to Rome in 2005, and by 2008 she had become interested in the Roman street art, which she discovered when pursuing her original love, photography. Jessica explained that street art is fundamentally different from graffiti, as graffiti is normally writing, tagging, or marking a territory. Street art, on the other hand, is art created to express the artist’s vision, engage the viewer, and enhance the urban environment.
Indeed, we first noticed Rome’s street art many years ago, such as the scary Van Gogh-like face on the side of a post box on Via Cavour. It’s been there for several years (and happily, it was there a few weeks ago when we walked by). Then in 2010 we saw this:
Yes, it’s a space invader on a concrete wall off to one side of the Spanish Steps. A few days later, we saw the movie “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” and the movie introduced us to the artist, named (appropriately enough) Invader. Well, Invader had invaded Rome, and his little art installations popped up throughout the city. And then we discovered street art like this:
And we were hooked, becoming devoted followers of Jessica’s great blog. The street art movement has been accepted in some communities more then others, Jessica explained. Large murals are now going up — with the local government’s blessing — in areas such as Garbatella. Ostiense has also been fairly open to street art. Other areas with a concentration of street art include San Lorenzo, Trastevere, and Pigneto. Interestingly, as Jessica pointed out, Rome has not historically embraced modern public art the way other major cities have, such as Paris or London. Street art may fill this void and provide color and interest, particularly in communities with few of the ancient or Baroque monuments of the historic center. Fortunately, over the last few months, Rome seems to be starting to see the value in public art, so perhaps we will see more of it in the future.
Jessica also explained the ability of some street artists to transition from street art into galleries. Invader, who is reportedly French, was featured in a big art show at a Roman gallery, which raised the awareness of the street art movement in the Eternal City. Some of the active street artists in Rome have likewise been shown in some of Rome’s most interesting and engaging galleries, as well as internationally. Nonetheless, Rome street art remains a vibrant part of the city. Images of street art are often publicized via social media, which in many cases preserves the street art since it is, due to its very nature, frequently impermanent.
Want to learn more about the energetic and ever-changing Rome street art scene, and exciting artists like Alice Pasquini, Hogre, Sten Lex, and more? Enter to win a copy of Street Art Stories Roma. It’s easy: Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, and also leave a comment on a Facebook post about the Street Art Stories Roma giveaway or retweet a tweet about the giveaway. The winner of the free copy will be chosen at random from among the eligible entries on August 31, 2013. For all the details, we have a second post with all the legal mumbo jumbo required by law for such a giveaway. And for those who don’t win but want their own copy of this great book, it’s now also available on amazon.it.
UPDATE August 31, 2013: Congrats to Jess@Autumn_Sunshine, winner of our giveaway of Street Art Stories Roma, a great book about Rome’s vibrant street art scene, with photos and text (in English and Italian) by Jessica Stewart of http://www.Romephotoblog.com. Enjoy, Jess! And thanks to all who entered.