Drago Interviews

INTERVIEW WITH GREG JAGER

At this month’s Fendi exhibition, Drago interviewed Greg Jager, the Roman visual artist who started out in graffiti but is now known mainly for his geometric aesthetic.

by Rory O'Keeffe

Could you describe your work and how you started out as an artist?
I moved to Rome in 2000 to study at the European Design School. I started painting graffiti in 1997. When I moved to Rome, I joined a crew of graffiti artists in San Lorenzo. We started to paint trains and subways together, so that’s how I got into graffiti.

Is some of your work still visible in San Lorenzo?
There is still some graffiti near Piazza del Verano. There is a rooftop I painted on in 2003 or maybe 2004 and it’s still there. It’s difficult to read. But I know that it’s there. I also work in San Lorenzo in a studio in Pastificio Cerere. But I live here in EUR.

What do you think of EUR? Some of the public have been writing ‘gentrification’ on the public wall here at Fendi. Is that something you’ve noticed happening in EUR?
The change of the social structure is normal. It’s nothing special what’s happening in Rome because if you go to other cities around the world you see exactly the same thing. Maybe for some people here it’s special but if you travel a lot and know other towns, you’ll see that this kind of behaviour in the city and in urban life happens all over the world. It’s interesting that these changes happen in the same time and in the same way all over the world.

Greg Jager Interview Les Journées Particulières Fendi 2018
Les Journées Particulières | Colosseo Quadrato, Fendi HQ, Rome
Greg Jager Interview Les Journées Particulières Fendi 2018

Often it’s in the east of the city. In London and New York, and in Rome, EUR is not East but similar things happen with Pigneto and Centocelle.
Yes, the Eastern side of every city is always creative.

Tell me about your work here at the Fendi exhibition. What’s the piece you are working on?
What I’m doing here is what I generally do. I work in aesthetics a lot, with geometry and vector shapes. What I’m doing for Fendi is exactly what I do for myself. They asked me to put some elements of Rome into the artwork. I took inspiration from the architecture of EUR which is Rationalist Architecture, the architecture of Mussolini, which is very linear and geometric. It’s clean and minimal and very similar to what I do so there is a link. I work with abstract shapes. There is nothing recognisable when you see my art but it can create emotions.

Do you take inspiration from architecture a lot or is it other artists?
Both. I take inspiration from modern architecture. For example, MACRO (Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome). I made something for the new opening, which was 1st October. It’s in the foyer there: 100 square metres of painting. It was inspired by the architecture of the Macro; I studied the design and the colour palette, which had lots of blacks, whites, red, and greys, which are colours that I use. It’s very similar to what I do but I reinterpreted the space. But I’m also inspired by the Bauhaus school, even Italian design school from the 1900s. Bruno Munari is a designer who I’ve studied; he’s not very similar to my aesthetics but he’s a very smart designer and artist so sometimes I take inspiration from him. The roots of these kinds of aesthetics lie in constructivism, Russian Constructivism, Suprematism.

Greg Jager interview Les Journées Particulières Fendi 2018
Les Journées Particulières | Colosseo Quadrato, Fendi HQ, Rome
Greg Jager Interview Les Journées Particulières Fendi 2018

Is it different working with brands compared to working with other institutions or on the street?
Of course, it’s different. Generally I like to work with brands because it’s fun for me. The brands usually ask for something special for them. For example, I am putting a little reminder of the Square Colosseum into the Fendi artwork. Your art has to meet the commission. This is normal. You can do what you want in the street, but I prefer to work in abandoned places, like factories, to experiment and work in peace. Painting illegally means you have to be very careful and you have to hide and work at night. The kind of work that I am doing is very slow work and I have to concentrate.

Is it difficult here with the public watching you work?
A little bit but it’s not a big problem. Sometimes they ask you questions and want to chat with you and you have to play the game and go along with them.

What projects do you have coming up next?
I am working with galleries a lot which is something new for me. From October 18th there is a collective show in Paris that I’m part of with many other artists such as Zest. It’s an international project and I am happy to be involved. I like to work with galleries outside of Italy as I think there’s a different perception of art. It’s more commercial and they are more open to proposals. After that, I want to relax a bit. I worked very hard from July until now. I never stopped. I’m a little tired so maybe I should take a holiday over Christmas.

Greg Jager Metamuseo MACRO Rome
Metamuseo | MACRO Rome
Greg Jager Natura Razionale Athens Drago
Natura Razionale | Athens Street Art Festival
Greg Jager East Ex Dogana Rome Drago
East | Ex Dogana, Rome

Artist Instagram

Greg

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FAITH XLVII LIMITED EDITION

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