Between Graffiti-Writing and Poster-Art

Lucamaleonte. – Stage name of Roman artist (b. Rome 1983), historical and appreciated interpreter of the stencil in Italy. Although with a degree from the Central Institute for Restoration – decisive in the elaboration of the meticulous technique that distinguishes his work – he trained substantially as a self-taught artist and inaugurated his activity on the street by coming into contact with the Roman graffiti-writing and poster art scene. …

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Artist BIO

His first stencils date from 2001, a technique that will keep him busy for a long time and with which he will achieve virtuoso results in the attention to detail and subtle tonal transitions obtained through the superimposition of image layers. His stencils with a strong realistic impact, in some cases photographic, lead him to achieve such notoriety that he participated – the only Italian with Sten&Lex and Orticanoodles – in the famous Cans Festival (2008) organized by Banksy in the Leake Street tunnel in London. In the last period, L. proposes new solutions involving the temporary abandonment of the stencil in favor of freehand painting, functional to the enlargement of the surface of his wall works even to entire facades, as in the case of the large portrait of F. Totti executed in 2014 at Porta Metronia (Rome). The icosahedron, a solid of classical derivation as well as a symbol of multiplicity and perfection, often accompanies his achievements like a brand, and in its different facets it is ideally connected to his pseudonym, which betrays much about L.’s modus operandi in relation to the places of his interventions. From the great respect for the latter, for their history, traditions and communities derives a self-critical attitude that leads L.’s work to insert itself with fluidity and agreement in different contexts, trying to respect their linguistic forms and cultural imagery, as in the case of the work of the puppets in Sicily, made his own by the artist and translated into his stylistic code for a wall painted in Capo D’Orlando in the province of Messina (2014). The history of art and in particular classicism are a notable source of inspiration for the artist, who nevertheless has linked his name over the years mainly to images of plants and animals, sustained by a great transport for copying drawings of iconographic plates found in books on zoology and botany. Notable is his passion for medieval bestiaries, an interest shared with Hitnes, a Roman artist with whom L. collaborated on Catalogo (2013), a sampler of fantastic plant species and animals painted on the walls of an underpass in Via delle Conce in Rome, now repainted in gray. Animal forms are often placed within specular compositions that symbolically restore a sense of geometry and balance to nature, a kind of living parallel to the classical icosahedron, which often appears at the center of these works. Such an iconographic source, which has now become proverbial of his artistic research, has greatly influenced the style, which from the photographic aesthetic of the early stencils – as an example, see the self-portrait made for the Cans Festival in 2008 – has changed its skin, until it has become subtly illustrative, consisting of a precise graphic pattern of marked black lines; a sign that closely resembles that of Renaissance woodcuts. This is how, to the stencil, today he prefers to confront traditional engraving and graphic techniques. More than fifty exhibitions, bringing together solo and group shows. Notable participations include, in addition to the aforementioned Cans Festival in London (2008), the collective Scala Mercalli at the Auditorium in Rome (2008) and the exhibition Urban legends at the Macro di Testaccio (2014). L. has exhibited in major European cities with the French collective Stencil History X, held workshops at the MART in Trento and Rovereto (2010-11), and from 2006 to 2008 curated together with Sten&Lex three editions of International Poster Art, an exhibition dedicated entirely to the poster as an urban art form. His most recent works include the mural in memory of W. Monteiro Duarte, who was barbarously murdered in September 2020, created on the facade of his home in an Ater lot in Colleferro. In 2022 the artist was artistic director of the first phygital street art festival in Italy, the Fidenza Village StreetArt Festival, where he exhibited the work Mucchio di tigri.