The red cave child mummy
I was driving towards Labaro, on via Flaminia, when I came across the last work of the street artist Solo. It was a 30m by 10m mural made in just five days and mostly with the brush. I immediately recognized his style, the call to comics and superheroes, the bright colors, the depth of the look. Solo’s creations seem to come off the walls, they seem to want to say something.
The work is part of the GRAArt contemporary urban art project. It celebrates the myth and history of Rome through the creation of Street Art works on the walls of the Grande Raccordo Anulare.
Solo’s mural tells the story of an eight-year-old mummy dating back to the 2nd century AC. She was found in the mid-1960s in Grottarossa, five meters below ground. She wore gold rings on her ears, a necklace of sapphires and an oriental silk dress that the street artist brought back to his wall. Because before every work there is study, in-depth analysis and research.
The X-Men in Torpignattara
A few weeks ago instead I was walking in the district of Torpignattara with my children and my partner. Now a nerve center of urban art, real works of art in open air peep through the popular buildings. “Look mom, the superheroes!”. So I look up and see street artist Solo painting the X-Men on a wall. It was near the Pisacane, the school that boasts the highest number of different ethnic groups in Rome. The X-Men are teenagers born with a particular genetic mutation.. This provides them with extraordinary abilities like reading in thought or flying. But precisely because of their diversity, they are despised and marginalized. A perfect theme for a district full of complexity like Torpignattara.
Solo’s project was part of the second edition of Muri Sicuri, on the occasion of the Torpigna Street Art Fest 2018. The goal was also to raise funds for Matelica, hit by the earthquake in 2016. Because street art is not just beautiful to see but it always has a social function as well. It redevelops popular areas and suburbs, allows everyone to enjoy free art and in this case also materially helped people in great difficulty.
Dad and Grandma in Diamante
And it isn’t over yet! Finally, last summer I was walking through the narrow streets of Diamante when my younger son looked up and said, “Mama look, Spide-mmann!” It was not Spider-man, but Brando has an obsession. It was Superman. Actually, it was not even him: it was Solo’s father and that was one of his works. I could hardly believe it!
Even for Solo it was a surprising coincidence. In fact he was contacted by Antonino Perrotta, a young artist from Diamante who studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. He wanted to involve him in organizing a festival of urban art in his town of origin.
“Do you know Diamante?”
“Of course I know it, it’s my grandmother’s town!”
Needless to say, they did all they could to paint at this festival, despite the different bureaucratic obstacles. For the choice of the work street artist Solo seeked inspiration in his database. He found the image of a mother fastening Superman’s cloak that seemed made on purpose. The mom became his grandmother, and a mustache turned his father into Superman. What better place if not Diamante to celebrate his father and his family of origin?
Diamante is a delightful town, bathed in crystalline waters. However it unfortunately is found in a depressed and abandoned region, where the territory and the coast are disfigured by ecomompas and buildings with no criteria. Diamante is a gem there and today it is also an open-air museum. So many thanks to street artist Solo and others like Diamond, Moby Dick, Violetta Carpino, Giusy Guerriero and Tmx!
Street artist Solo: a golden hearted Superhero
To make these casual encounters even more incredible is the fact that I’ve known Solo for over twenty years. I’ve known him since he was a kid, with his pants on the ground, his skate shoes and his hooded sweatshirt. Actually he has not really changed that much! I knew him when he was doing graffiti at night, even before he entered the Academy. We went out in Trastevere with a couple of beers to share with friends, and still no tags on social media. Solo is a golden hearted, spontaneous, authentic and always kind guy, with a smile and a contagious laugh.
He grew up at Trullo, has been drawing since he was a child and for years has been a writer. But that kind of art was not enough for him. So he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, becoming a true artist. He learned to paint on canvas and to use acrylic brushes and colors, so different from the can. And then he took advantage of what he learned and took it back to the streets, thus undertaking a social mission. Rigorously face-covered.
Among the most famous in the world, street artist Solo paints Superheroes on the walls of the suburbs of Rome, Italy and the world. He grew up with comics and wants to transmit the same values with which he became a man as a child. Jjustice, tenacity, courage and overcoming one’s limits. Because Superheroes are not infallible but override their weaknesses to defeat evil.
His role as an artist is also that of a traditional painter. Solo has exhibited at the Macro in Rome, Paris, Prague, Berlin, Miami and London. He collaborates with public and private entities and also with various national and international brands. And, last but not least, he is a cinematographic scenographer. A rich and multifaceted career that will see him participate in the collective Batman Darkness and Light where the greatest designers of the Dark Knight will exhibit. I’m excited to think of Solo alongside Manara, Pratt, Zerocalcare, David Messina and Ceccotti and to imagine the crowning of his dream. I remember him when he was painting during the day and at night he worked in pubs to earn a living.
Like his Superheroes he never gave up, and with tenacity and perseverance he overcame his limits to defeat evil.
Wonder Woman: my favorite work
Street artist Solo is the brother (not of blood) of one of my sisters (not of blood), Mirta. And so in some ways we are half-brothers (not of blood). This work portrays Mirta / Wonder Woman intent on a superhero mission: the pregnancy of her first child. The mural is part of the Muracci Nostri project, in Primavalle, and here too it aims to bring culture and color to the suburbs.
It’s my favorite work, but I confess I have not seen it yet. Who wants to come with me?