Ale Senso is an Italian street artist whose work has enhanced the walls of many European cities. Currently, Ale is based in Berlin and will exhibit her work at Gallery Nomad in a solo show, LA FAME, in May.
Nomad: Let's kick things off with an easy opening question. Where do you come from and how did you get started with street art?
Ale Senso: I originate from a small village in northern Italy called Gromlongo located close to Bergamo. When I was 14, I moved to another village, where I did not know anyone at all. In an effort to meet other people, I participated in a mural competition. From there, spray painting took over my life. Through my art and working in a street art crew, I have gotten to know like-minded people many of whom I have developed lasting and enriching relationships. These friendships have helped me to get where I am today.
Nomad: How long have you been working as a street artist and in which countries can we see your work?
Ale Senso: At the age of 16 I realized that painting the streets was part of my personality, so I followed this. The majority of my work is found throughout Italy. I have also been invited and taken part in events and festivals to realize walls of all sizes in other countries. On other occasions I just travelled by myself. I have created works in Romania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Latvia, Hungary, the United Kingdom, USA and of course Germany.
Nomad: Your works have a high aesthetic value but are not necessarily provocative. At the same time, they make a strong statement. What topics do you deal with?
Ale Senso: Human beings and their connection to their surroundings is the main subject of my work. In 2007, I participated in “Whereis_107” an illegal artistic rave in Milano, taking place in an abandoned building. The impact and fascination that abandoned places like this offer and transmit caused a big change in me. Ever since then I have realized and taken part in many performances and events to artistically transform such places into artistic spaces just as it was the case of progetto. To me, these old buildings are a kind of ‘no man’s land’ or like a barrier between two separate worlds. These places give me the chance to intervene in whichever way I decide. My artistic style is influenced by the so called fantasy genre, symbolism, surrealism but also by popular traditions and our social everyday life.
Nomad: What is your source of inspirations, where do you get your ideas from?
Ale Senso: I am generally a very curious person and my personality leads me to follow up on certain topics while leaving others aside. Reflecting upon the social environment in which I happen to find myself is my main source of inspiration. I like to philosophize on the actual purpose of a place and arrive at some sort of clarity by myself.
Nomad: How would you define your stile?
Ale Senso: Dirty and honest.
Nomad: You often seek out abandoned places to realize your work, is this on purpose? Do you want to hide your work?
Ale Senso: Absolutely not, but I do have aesthetic requirements. What people mostly see are my works framed (a photograph, a projection or an image on the internet). This medium, however, cannot deliver the same experience as viewing the actual work since it is often temporary in it’s existence.
Nomad: What is your opinion about the transience of your works on the street? After putting a lot of effort in them, are you not sorry when they are painted over or torn
Ale Senso: That is actually the beauty of it, it’s volatile! The beauty of a mandala made from rice is that it will vanish, doing them in the present and seeing them vanish; that is intriguing. You know, in 2000 years from now; regardless of what “values” we are trying to preserve today, it’s not going to be up to us to decide. It’s going to be a future society and it will be up to them to decide what to preserve and what to discard. I’ mean we cannot predict anything, things happen, nice and tragic all over.
Nomad: You mostly like to paint huge walls. What do you think about Streetart in galleries?
Ale Senso: I like the idea, though then you may no longer want to call it street art, I guess.
Nomad: In your series, "LA FAME", your works are rather striking and the color composition is reduced to black and red. What is the meaning behind this color choice?
Ale Senso: The stomach is an organ of big importance, not only when it comes to digestive functions, but it also can influence the mind. The gastro intestinal system in fact is not only connected to your brain for digestion but can also trigger emotions. I started with studying this organ to develop images consisting of anatomic parts and their connection with poetic and social representations. This led to a discovery of how ‘fame’ or hunger is strangulating our society. The red and black in my work depict the raving madness, blood, passion and darkness associated with the human mind when it is in pursuit of satiation.
Nomad: We have known each other for a long time. I know you are a hyperactive artist who can not sit quietly for five minutes. You are always doing something and continuously
thinking about new ideas, and want to make them happen immediately. What are your plans for the future?
Ale Senso: I experimented a lot during the last couple of years; that is why I came to Berlin. I knew it was the right place for experimentation, and in this I was not disappointed. I planted my artistic ‘seeds’ in many places, to see how they would grow. I harvested a lot, but also lost some. These days I am still the same person I was, but I learned to focus my energy. I want to continue to paint walls, collaborate and hand on my knowledge that is my plan.