Impo, creativity and dedication to sharpen even the impossible
Impo (BN Crew) tells his story exclusively to Throw Up Mag, explaining us, how a careful study of this discipline and a persistent artistic experimentation are the roots to achieve unthinkable goals.
Yo Impo! Tell us about your first approach to this noble art of graffiti writing and when did you start to use spray cans?
Hi Throw Up Mag and readers, first of all thanks for the interview and the interest shown.
My approach to graffiti writing started in 1994 observing the artistic movement that was spreading and expanding in Milan during those years in parallel to the development of philosophy and the training about the 5 disciplines of the Hip Hop in Italy.
I spent the first few years constantly “sketching” on paper with pencils, pens, acrylic colors and watercolors to create and design unique and personal subjects. This is an essential activity to innovate and to create novelties, things never seen before while trying painting on walls and metals with sprays. It was around 2000, with a constant practice and commitment that I managed to have a good grasp on cans starting to create what I really wanted to. Obviously after almost 24 years of practice, I’ve never stopped “sketching” on paper as I believe the study should be constant.
Which is the story behind your art name? What’s the meaning? Tell us about It…
In the beginning I wrote Neon, then Simp, not later realizing that those name were already taken. Therefore, I became Imp (name of the little devil in the Nordic Mythology) and at the last Impo, a word reminding many personalities (stuffer, pretender, important, impeded, imperial .. etc) deciding afterward to exclusively paint unique puppets and personal figurative that will be referable to my style and my ‘’name of the street’’…
Finally in 2001, I developed again my name to ‘’ImpoSible’’, trying to distinguish my artistic production towards something even more new and super-experimental starting also to paint canvases, creating background sets, sculptures and experimenting with computer art / video art performative, moving towards a multidisciplinary and multi-faceted production.
Tell us about your crew and how did you get part of it. Do you prefer to paint alone or with the guys? What’s the difference?
I joined the BN Crew in 1996, called in by some friends from the West of Milan (Baggio District) whom I used to visit and paint together. We met each other destroying (by tags) the metro train going to Cologno city to take the colors from the “Vecchia” (in english ‘’The Old Lady’’), one of the first graffiti paint shop in Milan. I’ve always painted with someone doing figuratives characters between the letters of my friends , also dealing with common backgrounds to develop more complex and integrated walls of crew.
It’s very rare for me to paint alone as I do believe the graffiti writing is made of interaction between people as teamwork enhances the single! I only paint alone on canvas, other supports and when I create experimental contemporary art.
What are the important steps in the history of writing that must be passed on?
The origin from overseas of the 70’s/80’s; the expansion to the world and the European scene: in France, Germany, UK, Switzerland, Spain and Italy; the wild style and the psycho futuristic style, the evolution of the 90’s and 2000’s with the production of the colored spray Brands; the introduction and evolution of the Street Art of the last fifteen years.
Tell us about your life before Impo and your life now. Which is your attitude in the day life? Has the graffiti writing influenced your personality?
Between 14 and 15 years old, I just entered the artistic High school. I was very curious and proactive towards spontaneous cultures: skate, punk and heavy metal/power metal; the constant practice of Kung Fu Shaolin and snowboarding … my roots. Therefore, with the coming of the Hip Hop culture (a great street culture based on personal and group evolution, now social and bulk), I mixed some activities I used to practice the most as writing, Breakdancing and beatboxing .
Today, after 15 years, I love to create always something new and unique, to experiment and combine different languages and techniques. I’m always hungry to discover and find stylistic and content solutions, from painting to sculpture; from digital to performance world.Obviously most of my life has been influenced by the discipline of Writing: the desire of constant improvement also in the daylife, the desire to overcome technical limitation, the continuous search of novelty in productions, the desire of a unique lifestyle .
How did your style evolve over the years? Tell us about your favourite support and the techniques used.
In the beginning, the intent was to develop a puppets “series”, inventing a unique and personal characters to be used at the jams and on the walls: HipHopotami with three eyes, clowns, mechanical dinos, long noses, and more on….
To invent new characters was my only purpose. Afterwards I moved to backgrounds and various puppets in total freestyle while for few years I studied only to use spray cans to be able to paint photographic subjects and small subjects with complete themes and details. Later I dedicated myself to live art performances and to the search of the impossible, either stylistically and technically, to a series of spherical metropolitan worlds in a prospective development and wired style. Then came the period of the digital experiments and ceramic sculptures; the approach to the world of Kustom and the airbrushing.
For a long time I was an aerosol purist: a free hand without any facilitation / masks / stencils on any support, from wall to panel or canvas. Later I experimented with a mix of techniques with street stuff: indelible and varnished markers, various colors of Grog and MrBlack and various brand sprays. Today I use a combination of techniques like digital support for painting; sculptures made of treated polystyrene for large format and ceramics for medium / small format and for refinements.
How would you define the artistic expression behind your drawings and sculptures?
Neo Surreal and ultraPop, visionary and impossible, avant-garde ideas, subjects of the sci-fi, to the necessary evolution and technological progress.
Have you been inspired by any artists over the years? Have you seen any new talent around?
My source of inspiration and references have been Zeta (THP), Sisma, Bodè, Toast (TWS), Eron, Can2, Phase2, Futura 2000 and great illustrators like HR Giger, Enky Bilal, Druillet, Moebius, Todd McFarlane, Castellini, Greg Capullo; in art Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrant, Monet, Picasso, Rodin, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Dan Flavin. I reckon today one of the most powerful artist on anamorphoses is Odeith and the Spanish Belin, Pichiavo and Felipe Pantone are also very cool in their ideas and achievements.
Which advice would you give to some kids approaching to the world of graffiti writing?
Those who are approaching today the world of Aerosol Writing should be very brave and certainly extroverted and exhibitionist, but I also recommend to paint for themselves, for the pleasure of doing it letting people enjoying it while on the street or in the live station.
There was a time when you painted only for passion and not to social purpose. When you tried to take a picture of walls and many times they didn’t come out well.
As a purist I spent years not photographing any piece as my productions were a spontaneous “gift “to everyone. It was a method to not producing exclusively for magazines or fanzines that published them. Then there was the advent of digital and social media… In addition, I advise you to paint only unique letters or subjects, aesthetically appealing and unique. I insist on the “never seen before” and extremely personal, studying very well the use of color, the painting techniques and the relative use of the spray. Obviously today there’s plenty of great online material to get inspired to, also understanding what has already been done but the codes of the graffiti writing are endless and contain innumerable expressive possibilities. Good work / fun!
Do you have any future projects? Where and how do you see yourself any further?
Obviously I will continue to experiment the languages and techniques that I’ve learned so far, to produce more not only to expertise but also for exhibition and commercial purposes. I’d love to travel and paint in many places, from Italy to all over the world. I’m also working on stories and screenplays for films and books, writing to bring multi-faceted artistic performances to the theater. I have only to consider and decide between the infinite possibilities of an impossible universe.