Born in Rome, though “citizen of the world,” Alice Pasquini, also known as Alicè, left the mark of her art around the streets of many metropolises.
Born in 1980, after the diploma from Rome Fine Arts Academy, she soon decided to distance herself from the conventional art scene by making the street her personal canvas. She has been living in England, France, and Spain for many years specializing in hand-drawn animation and art criticism.
Her first contacts with street art date back to the first years of 2000, though she prefers avoiding this term to identify her art, which she instead considers “contextual” because down the street you are not alone with your framework. Many other factors linked to the context, indeed, stimulate creativity and revive the act of painting: first of all, the colors of the walls and light, especially sun light; the history of that wall and what is behind that wall, people passing and stopping, talking to you and telling something about themselves, those spray cans you have in your bag and brought there with you that day; and finally adrenaline, since although spaces are chosen with minimal art-historical awareness, you are anyway painting with no permission and the police could stop you anytime. However, differently from many of her colleagues who for this reason prefer remaining anonymous, Alice signs her works and works during the day open-face accepting the risks of the “trade” to fight her way against the misconception of vandalism which is still associated with street art.
This implies a certain operating speed which unfailingly makes her style more instinctive and immediately recognizable: the stroke is lively, sketched and dirty; colors are natural and play on contrasts between warm and cool hues. The color choice is driven by the moment, though certainly the tones of Rome, her city (where she still lives and works when she is in Italy), are part of her past and are indelibly embedded on her palette: that salmon pink, the colors of Rome’s buildings, contrasting with that aqua green sky, create the atmosphere reflecting a wonderful light unique to Rome. She firmly states that Rome is the work of art which has influenced her artistic research the most because it is a city where everything is designed by artists and it is possible to see so much history just walking around incredible alleys.
Chance is, hence, integral part of her work, mistakes and imperfections characterize her style, as well as her temperament, which is chaotic and messy: “During my artistic research I realized that, as Dalì used to say, your mistakes and defects are there to be sublimated: when you sublimate your defects, you have your style. I found my style and I accepted myself with all my defects: the need to completely dirty myself with color, let the drops fall down, splashing and dripping.” After all, this is an extemporary technique, working on preexisting frameworks, which are exposed to further alterations in time going beyond the artist’s will. Therefore, the finished piece lose importance in favor of first the artistic action and then the surprise effect on pedestrians. Differently from museum or gallery visitors, indeed, pedestrians do not expect to see art in those unimaginable corners; therefore, the impact with the view produces wonder which magically introduces the beholder into Alice’s narrative around the world. A universal language made of human feelings and moving images which capture little stories, everyday intimate moments that are for Alice the real magic of life.
Unaware protagonists of these spray and acrylic paint snap-shots are women far from any social stereotype and plunged into the everyday carefree, though at the same time resolute. No perfect dolls, sexy heroines or Cindarellas of the hearth, but women who are simply sleeping, reading, smoking or drinking a coffee. In April 2012, the artist decided to seal this favored theme in her first important personal exhibition at 999 Contemporary gallery in Rome and titled Cinderella, pissed me off. In this occasion, Alice had fun decorating the exhibition spaces with old shelves, wall units, and flaps which were enriched by her intervention making the location an intimate and narrative dimension with old pictures, writings and brushes. The external court is not missing, reinforcing the bond with the street: doors, shutters for light and gas counters, traffic signals
In spite of the difficulty to bring the street into the gallery, Alice masterly succeeded in transforming different recyclable frameworks into charming object-trouvé rich in memories. During her constant trips around the world, indeed, she loves picking up and collecting objects found by accident or bought at different markets. Just like the wall, these frameworks as well are not virgin as a white canvas is, but carry with them stories, offering always fresh ideas to the artist. For example, the exhibition Into the great wild open at Tri-Mission Art Gallery in Rome American Embassy, old maps convey the theme of the journey and the concept of border, from the crossing perspective and discovery of the Self.
Hence, small sketches on remote corners or entire gigantic walls, personal and collective exhibitions all over Europe, illustrations for comics and ads contributed to expand Alice’s fame: according to the classification published by Urban Painting, she is in the top ten most beloved artists in the world with more than 42.000 people following her page on social networks. Indeed, the relationship with the public is fundamental for her, since nowadays the Internet makes it much closer to rock and roll than contemporary art, becoming more enjoyable and immediate:
“You are not in front of a canvas, you don’t need to train yourself. Any interpretation is fine, especially this attitude is good because it means: open, touch and enjoy art because art is good!”
Click here for the video interview.
Photo credits: Giorgio de Finis; Lorenzo Gallitto; Jessica Stewart – RomePhotoBlog.