MINDSET

Rapper, entrepreneur and collector. Fedez told us about his passion for street art

Contemporary art – and street art in particular – in addition to the now consolidated audience of enthusiasts, collectors and museum institutions, today also attracts a new, younger one.

Much of the credit for this interest can be attributed to the synergies that some artists have been able to create with the fashion industry, thus multiplying the opportunities for meetings between young people and art.

Consider, for example, the collections created by Kaws and Murakami for Uniqlo, or the collaborations of MrBrainwash with Dolce & Gabbana, that of Alec Mononopoly with Tag Heur and of Jeremyville with Lacoste.

Some artists, however, such as Shepard Fairey – known to most as Obey – have opted for the creation of their own brand.

The homes of the new collectors are caskets of street and urban art and art toys; the most popular names are Kaws, Ron English and Murakami, but also the Be @ rbrik produced by the Japanese MedicomToy and the Playmobil characters.

We at Forbes met pop star Fedez to talk about her collection and her passion for art.

How did your passion for art come about?

I studied art, so I have always had and cultivated a passion for art. After completing my studies, this bond was further strengthened when I got to work as an archivist at the Pomodoro Foundation. A particular memory I have from that period is the exhibition by Jannis Kounellis (Single Act, Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation 24.09.2006 – 11.02.2007 ed)

Contemporary art or even classical art?

I appreciate all kinds of art and I love to discover the masterpieces present in our country. When I go to Rome, for example, often together with my family I like to take artistic itineraries to see the great masterpieces present in the Eternal City up close. Certainly, however, my interests lead me to be closer to contemporary art and in particular to street art.

How did you come to collect street art?

My passion for art is transversal. I started buying and collecting Ron English and Jeremyville vinyl toys many years ago. In the following years, those of Kaws and the works of Takashi Murakami and Mr Brainwash were also added.

What do you think of the relationship between street art and streetwear?

I think their two audiences influence each other. What I find particularly beautiful is that thanks to this influence, think of Obey for example, art is democratized, thus truly giving everyone the opportunity to approach it. This is a very important concept for me, I think it is right to give everyone the opportunity to enjoy art, of whatever kind it is.

The street art phenomenon is very successful in the United States, do you think it can further expand also in Europe?

Surely in the United States they are much better at celebrating it. Having said this, we also have great talents in Europe: suffice it to say that presumably Banksy is English and then in Italy we have Blu, who in my opinion, for the technique and messages of his works, is certainly among the best street artists. Except that he doesn’t enjoy great popularity because he preferred, unlike others, to stay behind the scenes.

How do you decide to buy a work of art?

I let my taste guide me. I am not interested in art as an investment, I buy what I like.

How did your relationship with Mr. Brainwash start?

I discovered it by watching the documentary he made with Banksy (Exit Through the Gift Shop, 2010) The feature film fascinated me because it actually tells how the art market is unhinged: at a time when the demand for street is growing art Mr. Brainwash finds a way to please her.

At that time I was recording one of my albums – the first ever made with a major – and I decided to give it its name because at that moment in my life I found myself sharing a goal very similar to his: to please the public.

How did your relationship with this artist continue later?

Years later I was lucky enough to meet him in the United States and he even made a work dedicated to us – a merry one in which my son is depicted. I found him a person of exceptional positivity and this is a great value for me. Moreover, I am fascinated by the fact that over the years he has continued to not follow the logic of the art market.

Is there a work that you would like to have?

One of Kaws’ large dissected sculptures.

Jealous of your art toys?

I am not attached to objects in general, so no jealousy and I also let my son play with them quietly.

You are also a member of an art gallery, the Hive Tattoo Art Gallery

The gallery combines contemporary art with the art of tattoos and sees my historic ex-girlfriend among the partners. I accepted to become a partner in order to make it – and to be myself – an aggregator of different arts; I am happy if I can support emerging artists to make themselves known.

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