A sneak peak into the book
Crossroads, a glimpse into the life of Alice Pasquini is the first anthology on the artist Alice Pasquini, one of the top female international street artists. In over 300 pages, 200 images and a number of original extracts from her sketchbook, Crossroads tells the story and showcases the artwork of Alice Pasquini. Alice is a prolific illustrator, creative designer and painter who has been gifting cities with her artwork for over a decade: through her work, women and children become an integral feature of any urban surrounding. From large artwork – like the wall of the Italian Museum in Melbourne – to small cameos in London or Marseille, Alice’s creativity shines through in every city thanks to her unique style. The images in Crossroads have been taken from photographers the likes of Martha Cooper and Ian Cox. The book is brought together by a foreword from the editor Paulo von Vacano, texts by Jessica Stewart and journalists Nicolas Ballario (Rolling Stones) and Stephen Heyman (New York Times), as well as article extracts by Serena Dandini, DJ Gruff and Chef Rubio.
I paint in the locations where I have lived through a story to share with the city and its people, depicting intimate stories in a public space. (Alice Pasquini)
Bittersweet, gifted beyond belief, and with a work etiquette that has no off button; these are the characteristics that distinguish Alice and make her a cut above the rest. (Jessica Stewart)
The Other Sight
The earth cries, the earth burns. The wounds heal. The scars remain. Like Nero who sang with the lyre while Rome was consumed by flames, a neoligarchical feudalism still reigns over Rome. And it hits the population like a Roman bully with a Santa Smacola (a traditional Roman knife). Roman history from the time of bullies teaches us that these knives were a symbol of passion, love and devotion. And of course, death. The work of Alice is exactly this: with her spirituality, through Street Style, the artist positively uses the energy of passion and of love to transform the blade in a loving re-evolution. Like the los descamisados of an agonising civilised society.
We lived in the dawn of a new millennium, and, as I have written many times, we now live in the Zeitgeist of a New World or NeWe (Neue Welt). A place where the rule of the financial capitalists, in ties with a faceless and incognito political elite, and viscerally connected to a mechanical infrastructure that they use to transform the world into a social carcass. Decadence and degradation sit alongside one another in a continuous Panem and Circenses. It is a place in the shadow of Debord’s Society of the Spectacle. A Brave New World type of dystopia continually pursued by the spectre of global barbarisation. This show of barbaric inequality makes a good job of masking the sad war between society’s poorest
The ideological collapse of the various -isms still hold 99% of the population hostage and it is now clear to everyone what its Achilles heel is: nobody has managed to keep the promises of a “positive” future. This is the tragedy, or comedy, or whatever it is that you would like to call it, has a thousand names and a thousand faces, but only one characteristic defines the whole thing, and that is the fact that evidently, a society for men, managed by men, does not work.
Revolutions are born on the streets. And all roads lead to Rome. Alice knows it well…
One is not born on the streets, but it is on the streets that one learns how to live. Those who survive the streets of Rome can conquer the world. Alice is a Roman, a woman, an artist, a fighter, brave, and able to assert herself in the most patriarchal circle; that of Street Art. The patriarchal lobby which is the world of art. The figure of the artist has always represented a sort of MC, of the Masters of Cerimony (or Crime, in this case) able to transform negative energies into positive ones. The artists capture the future, they “feel” it and tell it, with their own language, to those who want to listen to them.
As a publisher, engaged in the world of contemporary art and alternative independent culture for more than twenty years, I always find myself remembering that we live in the phase of REP (Remix of Cultures Pop) in which there is only one vanguard – that of sic! (Independent Culture System). Over the past 50 years an aristocracy of the street has come into being, consisting of creative pushers representing an enlightened minority, which has now become the only direct expression of a trend that today is the only alternative to war, desired by a male caste, to hide one’s shortcomings and confuse true values. And it’s there where I like to look, with my lyre.
We would like Crossroads to be a celebration of the work of Alice Pasquini, an artist who doesn’t hide behind a pseudonym, but who is proud of her own name, and who travels the world to distribute her vision to all, from Melilla prison to the breath-taking views of Sao Paulo, from her beloved village, Civita, to the skyscrapers of New York.
To paint in the streets, you need to have “balls.” You need to be strong and brave to climb up to reach the high exteriors of the walls. How do you move the ladder by yourself? Are you not afraid to walk the streets at night? These and a million other similar questions have been asked to Alice during her career.
Street Art is a male territory, it is populated by men who confront men and who are in turn judged by men. The female presence in Street Art is young. As a minority, it is liable to suffer at the hands of prejudice. Journalists prefer to have a photo of Alice as she works on a mural, rather than a photo of the mural when it is finished. It is her gender which sensationalises her work, rather than her skill. Even this pillar has been brought down by our heroine, for Alice has painted larger murals, addressed more contentious themes and done so in places even further away. A person who is both a female and an artist must dedicate themselves to make people look beyond themselves, to make the work itself the topic and not their “subordinate” condition as a woman; their handicap of not being a man, not being male.
Alice wants “to make people turn their heads, to appreciate the abandoned corners of the city, and to look at them with new eyes.” Alice the artist wants to occupy large spaces and to make her art accessible to all. As a woman, Alice wants to not only contribute in making our world a better place, but also to better the lives of those who populate it.
Street Art is a movement that has always been fundamentally connected to the society and to the majority of the people, that of the 99%. And yet, the fact that Alice’s work contains the feminine spirit means that her work is not fully integrated into the majority, nor fully accepted by the social mass of people to whom her work is dedicated. Her work addresses different themes and results from a particular type of sensitivity. As Alice herself says, “what I am looking for is not a correlation with a standard of aesthetics, but rather, with an internal truth”.
Alice’s world is populated by women and children, who stand out because they are “different” from how we are used to seeing them represented. Alice’s women are beings who think and have feelings; we can see it on their faces, in their eyes. The women on billboards, those who are there to convince you that you need a certain new watch, or that if you buy this particular car you will be considered a successful person, these women are different. The purpose of these women is not to show their own feelings, but they are there to produce certain feelings in you. They are a product of a form of eroticism; they expose their body to all and use their beauty to produce create desire, both for the women themselves and for the product advertised. When it comes to Alice’s depiction of children, they are dishevelled, real, dreamy, and most importantly, they always seem to be looking at you. These too are not typical of the way we would expect to see a representation of children, or childhood. They do not fit in with the perfect family. They are children, and yet they express a real recklessness, vital energy, and natural rebellion. They maybe even think for themselves.
This is what stands out and this is what stays in the minds of people who pass by. In Alice’s art, the woman is the subject, not the object, and there is a sense that the woman portrayed on the wall is done so for a reason other than her beauty. And you want to find out what it is. So you look, and look again, until you can almost name her.
A feminine perspective seen from a feminine eye. And art sits back and watches.
For this reason, Alice continues to paint, to climb up the highest walls or to remain with her head bowed in the pages of her inseparable sketchbook, because “she knew she had but to open [her eyes] again, and all would change to the dull reality of adults” as was written in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.