The last time my fingers got in contact with a spray can was no later than this morning, while the awesome deodorant I used was leaking along my arm pits. When this could appear nasty to you, there is Wany who, in the contrary, makes me feel like one of his characters threw a grenade in the mix to create a graffiti piece in an explosion of paint and smoking colors. Mr Wany originates from the south of Italy, a dry region infected by the mafia, where bombing a wall right in front of a pig’s face would leave him completely frozen, for the great joy of this dude. And while his agenda is about to crack open because of the numerous venues he planned to attend, Wany already spread his art for 25 years, and 10 times as many incredible stories to shake his memories : train-bombing, walls and cops chase, he did it all. Although his career is truly diverse, he dedicates a true love to mixing up styles, defined by as many flops, letterings, personal pieces and 3D’s for your curiosity to be hit. A chance we could exchange a few words with him while medicating ourselves with some macaroni’s, read by yourself, but the least to say is that he was the one to give a taste of his own medicine.
J / Hey Mr Wany, give us a few words about yourself.
W / Hi I’m Mr. Wany from Italy, I started painting in the nineties when everything was different !
J / Tell us more about the name you use, why did you choose Mr. Wany ?
W / It’s along story, when I was 12 -in 1990- I began writing “Wan Yell One”, it’s like a Native American name. But this name went through a few stages: WanyOne, Wany1, Ueni, Ues, Mr.WanyUes, Mr.Wany, Mr.Wany’s. For a certain period in the nineties I was writing Wany because Ueni was illegal. Then in 2004 I wrote Mr. right in front of my name because in the Asian culture, Wany is the name used for Woman. However, I lately realized that I had launched a true worldwide trend with the use of the prefixe «MR» and the funniest is that it happened to appear primarily among manufacturers of characters.
J / Outside of your Art education, when was the first time you met Graffiti ?
W / When I started painting walls illegally I was living in Brindisi, in southern Italy. This wasn’t really considered a crime in a city where 50% of the population was smuggling cigarettes, and there was no specific laws in this regard. I was the youngest of my group, but the only one who was drawing. So I began bringing my friends to paint walls at night to do backgrounds.
J / Can you tell me more about the graffiti scene in Italy ?
W / The Italian graffiti scene hasn’t changed for 10 years now... Skilled guys are still the same. Same shit when it comes to Street Art, unfortunately regarding the letters, nothing’s really new. I’m not one of those whiners spitting shit about things, but I think it’s an Internet issue. That’s probably why I don’t go out publicly too much. I keep it more private, as a personal thing that can only be seen by my close friends. Anyway, you can still see that shit in the streets.
J / How would you define your own artistic style ?
W / I try to carry a complete set of skills, I have studied and know my own calligraphy, gestures, letters, characters, abstract solutions, tattoo and illustrations, imaginations, comics, graphics. My character’s name is Hyroshi Kabuki, he is an actor who always plays different roles. My research on lettering uses an array of letters instead, which is part of the occidental aesthetic standards (Dondi, kase2, Phase2 softy, Bando, Giving, Swet). I love a «Wild Out» in which a letter is readable and arrows, boubletrix, overlays are out of it. Or, for instance, I invented (until proven otherwise) the «Double S» (double style) which is when two names are mixed up as it was done in different ways with Dare, Swet, Revok, Sofles, Twice and other people who really respect this technique.
J / Are you listenng to music while painting ? What genre ?
W / Yes, for sure ! I take inspiration from rhythm and words ! To get motivated, I listen to a lot of Italian rap music like FabriFibra, Machete crew, Jesto, Hyst, Clementino and who I love listening to right now is Die Antwoord, I am fond of their clips, Yelawolf, Gill scott Heron and a lot of funky music as well.
J / You have been travelling through the world thanks to your art. What’s your favourite country ? Any crunchy stories ?
W / Travelling to paint was a great opportunity for me to grow culturally, mentally, and in some cases to improve my style. I think I can say I loved every aspect and perspective of every trip I took part in! Dude, I got so many anecdotes, but it’s too personal and I don’t really know if I can speak about that ! Haha.
J / What has been your favourite exhibition ?
W / We made a go exhibition in the GFA Biennal at the contemporary art Museum in the Brazilian city of Sau Paulo, that was a truly good exhibition, but I have been to and still see a lot of great exhibitions around the world. But, I can say for sho’ that I love to see Murakami, OsGemeos, Mode2, Futura2000, Twist works...