Interview to the street artist Endless
In recent days his name has been on everyone’s lips, and in the titles of the articles: for his Self-portrait, with which Endless marked an epochal turning point for the Uffizi Gallery, which embrace the legacy of patrons of the contemporary world by welcoming the first street art work of their collections; but also for his intervention in Cortina d’Ampezzo on the occasion of the 2021 Alpine Ski World Championships.
Thanks to our relationship with Cris Contini Contemporary (Londra – Porto Montenegro) that represents him, we had the pleasure of getting to know the artist better in an excursus on his production and, in particular, on his Italian interventions.
SpeakART: You entered the art world realizing street art works in London streets, in parallel during the years you dedicated yourself also to artworks on commission (eg. Liberty London, OXO Tower): how do these two paths of your production relate?
Endless: I first started showing my work on the street, as I liked the freedom of expression and the way it enabled me to reach a wider audience. In turn, this led to exhibitions, commissions and commercial work, as the artwork was noticed by the right people. My aim was never to be a street artist, or to stick to one genre, but rather to get my ideas out into the world.
SpeakART: What does it mean for a street artist to have a stable relationship with a gallery?
Endless: In order to progress and grow as an artist, it is important to work with a gallery, so that you can reach the right audience and to give the artwork a different context. When art is on the street, people refer to it as ‘street art’ or ‘graffiti’ – whereas a piece that is hanging on a gallery wall is simply ‘art’. I prefer to be recognised as an artist, rather than a street artist and working with a gallery is the best way to make strides in the art world and gain credibility.
SpeakART: The homage to recognizable images and symbols, taken from the world of brands and celebrities, makes you an interpreter of our time and our society: is this a more descriptive or a more critical choice?
Endless: I use branding and symbols as a commentary on modern culture, but never a criticism. I simply take what I see in the world and reconfigure it, to give meaning, but not in a negative way. The viewer is open to interpret the work however they see fit.
SpeakART: Is there a common message in your works that you want to communicate, a reflection you want to arouse in the viewer who is in front of it?
Endless: All of my work comments on the way in which modern humans communicate within their surroundings and the influence media has on our lives. My work often has comical aspects and recognisable symbols, which tends to grab the attention of the viewer and draw them in. They may choose to look for a deeper meaning, but they are not obliged to.
SpeakART: In 2019 you created the first mural intervention in Cortina, The Kingdom of the Fanes: you managed to make contemporary the Ladin legend that inspired it. Can you tell us how?
Endless: Much of my work features the icons of the fashion world such as Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Karl Lagerfeld etc…In this work, I used Kate Moss to tell the story of the Queen Of The Dolomites, giving a modern twist to the traditional story, but without compromising my artwork style. The aesthetics of the work seems to fit well with the mountain surroundings.
SpeakART: This creation was part of a workshop on street art as an art form in which also the Artistic High School was involved: what did you want to communicate to the students with whom you had the opportunity to relate? What do you think they brought home from this experience?
Endless: I think it is important to show students the ways in which art can become a career, despite the difficulties you may face in trying to do so. I hope that the students were inspired to look at art in a positive and inclusive way and that they took home the message that anyone can become an artist if you put the work in and push boundaries.
SpeakART: In 2021 you come back to Cortina for a new intervention, Powder to the People: can you tell us something about it?
Endless: I was asked to return to Cortina this year, to create a mural in celebration of the 2021 FIS Alpine Ski World Championships. The piece I have created reveals a magazine cover, inspired by a 1950’s magazine cover, featuring a female skier. The mural ties in with my recent magazine style artworks, where I reveal a juxtaposition of genuine media headlines from recent times, but in this case, I created humorous headlines featuring ski puns and relating to the upcoming events in Cortina. The main subject of the painting is adorned in a print which I created using my logo, but also relates to my comments on brand worship in the modern world. It is great to show my work on such a large scale and in a great location, I am always happy to visit Cortina!
SpeakART: How do you feel about your work being added to such a prestigious collection as the Uffizi? Were you surprised that this genre was requested?
Endless: È It’s a great honor to be included in such a historic collection. It is important that artwork from modern genres are shown in prestigious collections, so that they can be recorded as part of history. When I found out that my artwork was requested, I was initially surprised and curious as to how it would fit into such a collection. But once I heard Eike Schmidt’s plans to rejuvenate the self portrait section of the gallery, it sounded like the perfect match, whilst still breaking the mould of pre-conceptions and moving towards the future.