If the UK has Banksy, Italy has Tiler. This reclusive Genovese street artist’s creations have been popping on the walls of the city for many months now. Created with painted tiles, Tiler’s installations have appeared suddenly in many different areas of the port, and beyond. In recent times he worked in via Buranello, Sampierdarena, before moving on to gallery walls between Mazzini and the Carlo Felice theatre, an area often used as a shelter by the homeless.
Although he remains anonymous, it is speculated that Tiler is young, male, working class and highly intelligent. No wonder Italy’s internet forums are buzzing with Tiler talk.
Political, humorous and yet very disciplined, what the Italian media and public want to know is: Where will Tiler ‘strike’ next?
A recent interview in Italian (translated below) provides some insight into his motivation and methods.
“Tiler is a guy who has spent his life looking for a way to express himself other than in mere words. Tiler’s me. From an early age I loved drawing. The Lord has given me the talent, but has not given me much patience and pictorial art takes a lot of dedication and study.”
“I began on Photoshop when others began their first adolescent infatuation. I played with my first digital camera, when it was as big as a shoe box. Today Tiler is a creator of images: my brush is the mouse, my colour photographs and my screen canvas.”
But what drives a man to dress up like a monkey and go out at night to attach tiling graffiti?
“The comparison with a super hero is obviously exaggerated, but I’d like to be an example. Not that I want an army of monkeys to tile the city. I just wish that people really understood the point: our environment is a reality that will only get worse unless enough care is taken. There are those who walk past my work 100 times without seeing it, but on the 101st time look up and make a discovery. And, along with my tiles, they discover that there is a wall and, behind the wall, there is a neighborhood that needs to be cared for.”
“But when I go out at night, even if I start to work in the midst of dozens of people, I appear invisible to the eye; people are too careful with their thoughts to notice a monkey tiling a wall. I think we need to refocus our eyes and force ourselves to pull them up from the screen and away from the pavement. Recognize beauty and demand that it is saved for the world.”
“Tiles represent a choice made after a long period of study. First of all, I did not want to be like any other street artist. Therefore, I needed something new and innovative. Other artists use tiles but no one does it with my method. I also needed something that looked good on a wall, but that did not spoil it: paint and paper actually disfigure, but what’s better than a tile on a wall?
“My works are born from a photographic image that strikes me strongly and communicates a need, asking me to become something different. So I begin to ‘answer’ and, piece by piece, an entirely different image from the initial one comes together.
Some pieces I finish in an hour and some take days. There are images that are born with so much to say and others that are born mute, but I fall in love every one of them. For me, the most difficult thing is to share my work. I’m the jealous type.”
“I have a Facebook page full of fans, the best people on the planet. I’m happy that people talk about me because it gives my work an echo. I’m not here to sell anything, but to share a concept.“
“In my mind there is the whole world, surely the classic destinations – such as Paris, London and Berlin – are the first places to take my work to? No. In truth, I’m far more interested Italy. I go against the grain. I know that I can stir more interest abroad and gain greater renown more easily, but I do not care. I do what I feel: so first will be Turin, Milan, Naples, and so on. When I decided that I would not seek a gallery exhibition, but that the gallery would be the road or street, I was told I was crazy: people would not understand, I would get into trouble … But people realised all right and so I will continue to believe in their intelligence and understanding .. a relationship all Italian.”
“It annoys me to hear each urban artist from Italy being compared to Banksy. Don’t get me wrong, he is the best, but I’m not him. I have my own identity and I simply want to be Tiler.’
Tiler in 5 or 10 years?
“I will be a father, a worker and an artist, I hope. I love all my works, some obviously more than others. I hope I never lose this passion and this love for each new creation. As I have already said, I am the jealous type.”
Is Tiler is an idea, a moment and an identity: it is a studied and reasoned project, a relief moment without thought or an alter ego needed as Bruce Wayne to Batman?
“Tiler is all these things: a reasoned project when studying the materials, places and times. But it is also instinctive, when it is time to create. Tiler is both Bruce Wayne and Batman. ”
“Today Tiler is not an artist but a boy who is learning to be an artist. To accomplish this, I need help from the thoughts of the people, from their desires, criticism and advice. This is my review. There will come a day when I will be a true artist, but now, for me, is not important to be so.”
Reporting from http://genova.mentelocale.it
A post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, February 2017