Alessandro was born in Florence in 1969. Always looking for new creative stimuli, attracted by any form of artistic experimentation, over the years he plays to redefine his role, dealing with different people and experiences.
After obtaining a diploma in Graphic Arts at the Istituto Statale d’Arte in Florence, he trained as an illustrator, and in 1995 – together with Simone Boni – he founded and directed the INKLINK studio, which soon became an international reference point for non-fiction illustration, archaeological reconstruction and museum teaching. During this experience he worked as a team on a series of illustrated maps and geographical maps, including the Monumental Map of Florence.
In 2011 he began his career as art director in the marketing/communication section of NEXUSCOM srl. He is in charge of the restyling of the company logo and corporate image, as well as dedicating himself to communication startups – on and offline – aimed at customers. Since January 2013 he is the creative director of the newborn communication agency NoName, based in Florence.
How would you characterize yourself? What are the most important things to know about you?
I have a past as a scientific illustrator, in particular I have always been passionate about nature. Creative thinking is a necessity, it helps me to visualize thoughts, to exorcise fears, to vent anger, to raise reactions in people. It offers the possibility to change point of view, like my glasses. My artistic projects develop in “waves” without methodology, without continuity. I want to keep it that way: a door that only opens when I have something to say.
Why is it important for you as an artist to deal with ecological and environmental problems and topics?
It is about discussing our future and that of our host planet, it is essential to raise the issue to change the way we live and “consume” the earth. In this project, I have portrayed her as a flayed animal.
How did this initiative come?
The ideas come up on their own, “knock on the door” as images, then they start talking. In 2016 in Morocco, in Marrakesh, I saw a tarpaulin with the CocaCola logo upside down in a market.
This image accompanied me in my thoughts until it became the symbol of my project “Age of Dodo”: the current era or Anthropocene, in which man places himself at the center of everything, with his own market needs, redesigning landscapes to the point of leaving permanent traces in the rocks, without realizing that the Dodo can be himself, if he does not act to change things. We are witnessing fatal changes that make glaciers melt and disappear, raise water levels, migrate entire peoples in search of more livable areas. We are wasting water like an industrial product without thinking that groundwater is not created at the speed at which we empty it.
What triggered you to start working with these topics?
In the past I reacted to a state of economic crisis with some art projects and it gave me back many comparisons and requests from all over the world. I have learned to react to fear with this approach. Now it is instinctive: I always try to turn a crisis into an opportunity. The climate crisis is just the tip of the iceberg of a problem that we have been growing for a long time.
Which work of yours do you consider the most important or most significant? Why?
The most important one is always the one you need to process, at that moment, what’s burning inside you. To develop a project is to evolve a thought and mature a message. Now is the time of Age of Dodo because either we stop and think or we die out. My maps are war trophies, a war on the environment won every day by man, a ruthless hunt to squeeze the resources of the earth, as if they were an endless product. A colonial attitude that has never abandoned us and that leads us to think that all this is due to us.
The earth, in its graphic representation of a geographical map, after having been mistreated, tattooed, branded and exploited, is further exposed as a witness object of the generous hunting expedition.
Do you exhibit abroad?
For me exhibiting is mainly publishing the project online, enhancing it and telling it like that. Then, if interest is created, it starts to run autonomously on the web and I simply respond to requests. I don’t feel tied to Italy or to a country in particular, nor to galleries as a favourite exhibition place; it’s always nice to see the different and unpredictable reactions. Often before publishing a project online I do a small exhibition in Florence, in the places where I feel protected, so I can listen to people’s comments and understand with them what I am doing. Like a dress rehearsal before the online begining.
Is this environmental crisis still very neglected or is it becoming more and more important and dealt with?
This crisis has always been underestimated, by governments and by all of us, postponed, I would say. It is hard to take responsibility for what we have done and are doing. We now have a double chance: to put climate change on the back burner with the pandemic emergency, or to reflect on what happened and what we may have done to amplify or stimulate the spread of the virus.
Surely we cannot fail to notice the positive effects of our absence on the environment: the clarity of the skies, animals reappropriating urban spaces, CO2 levels at historic lows; all this in just two months. This is proof that if we really made a real effort we could see concrete results even after quarantine is over.
What is your experience?
My experience is based on what my eyes see now and what they saw as a child. We have lost daily contact with nature, we have a greater impact on it. Fortunately, we are developing a sensitivity to the ecological issue. We must insist on and increase the volume of communication. We need to reach “critical mass” to create a positive chain reaction.
We hear ’a lot’ about how Anthropocene has an effect globally but what do you think that how it has an effect on the individual?
Some cities are a bit reminiscent of big zoos where you can live and have food without having to hunt anymore. We are more and more protected but not necessarily happier. We have more controlled food, but not always healthier for our metabolism. We need to get back in touch with our bodies, to understand what nature is telling us.
How is it to live in this era?
This is yet another man’s challenge. The web is a great weapon to win every battle… or lose it. Young people are ready to fight for the good of the earth and you have to give them confidence, incentives and tools to fight and build the best future. I have two children, I can’t help but be positive. Every day I have a duty as a father to send a signal for possible change.
How environmental awareness is present in your daily life?
I use the bicycle to go to work, in my family we have only one car (there are 4 of us), my children travel by public transport. I try to repair what breaks down, avoid buying what we can make at home, teach my children how to do it. We cook as much simple food as possible, we try to promote zero km and sustainable shopping, we have almost completely eliminated meat. At work I try to promote sustainable projects.
What are your plans in the near future?
Open an online channel to sell my works directly, find a small house about a thousand meters above sea level, with some land and a well, to have a small vegetable garden and be able to cool in the summer heat. Prepare today a small personal escape route to climate change. Think about a slow degrowth tomorrow.
Are there any specific events or exhibitions that you are prepairing for?
I hope to be able to resume the setting up of an exhibition in Florence, interrupted by the lockdown, to further evolve the Age of Dodo project, started in 2017.
Finally, considering this unusual situation…How do you spend your days now, in the caranteen?
In this period I work at home, I cook with my children, I look after my plants more, I spend more time with my wife, so much DIY to make our house better. I haven’t had so much space for art, but just enough to have a little fun.
Works of the artist
Age of Dodo Project
In the current era or Anthropocene, man places himself at the center of everything, with his own market needs, redesigning landscape to the point of leaving permanent traces in the rock, without realising that the Dodo can be himself, if he does not act to change...