Painting dreams

By Chen Shasha Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/30 17:43:39

Italian muralist Millo brings his brushes to Shanghai

Italian muralist Francesco Camillo Giorgino, better known as Millo, is responsible for brightening up Daxue Road in Yangpu district by transforming the bleak, boring walls of its several buildings into literal canvases.

Millo at work in Shanghai Photos: Yang Hui/GT

Using the city as a canvas

According to Millo's local agent, Cao Bin, the Daxue Road project was initiated by Knowledge and Innovation Community, which aims to bring international arts into local communities around Shanghai, converting neighborhoods into veritable outdoor galleries.

The largest mural by Millo, featuring a fantasy land, is 46 meters in height and 10 meters in width. Millo also finished a piece at THE HUB, an urban complex near Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station.

This was not the first time that Millo had brought his art to China. In 2016, he was invited to create an 8-meter-high and 6-meter-wide mural on the outer wall of a local kindergarten on Xiangnan Road in Pudong New Area, which won him praise from local residents.

Born in 1979, Millo became obsessed with painting since childhood, but only started painting outdoor murals five years ago. His works can be seen in cities all over the world including the US, Russia, Australia, Thailand, Argentina, Chile and Morocco.

Instead of daubing walls with multiple colors, he prefers simple black and white lines with dashes of colors only when necessary.

The Global Times recently interviewed Millo to better understand his unique brand of street art, which is not often seen in China.

Millo's new 46-meter-tall mural.

GT: What made you start painting murals?

I have been drawing since I was a child. As I grew up, it became the only thing that made me feel happy and satisfied, that's why I chose to dedicate more and more time to it till I made it my full-time life. I started on normal surfaces like canvases until receiving a proposal to paint on a wall. When I was there painting, everything came easily and I loved that feeling so much that I haven't stopped since then.

GT: Why do you paint in simple black and white lines?

I find that black and white can express my feelings and messages with a simple and pure effect. With the contrast of the occasional dash of color, I underline what I really want to say with my work.

GT: Your works are about children's dreams and activities. Why are you focusing on this topic?

I use chaotic and frenetic cities made up by buildings, streets and cars as the habitat where my characters live. The characters are always out of scale and a bit clumsy, trying to do something in such a place. Sometimes they are playing or creating while sometimes they are just contemplating their surroundings. Some people think they are children and some say they are aliens. However, in my mind, they are reflections of the purest part of us, in which we haven't forgotten how to play and how to be surprised.

GT: How do you usually get inspired to start a new creation?

I let everything around me inspire me, from the news on TV to the sounds of walking outside. Moreover, I prefer to come and visit the place where I have to work before starting, so as to make sure that I'll create something that fits in with the city.

GT: What do you think is the most important thing in painting murals?

To paint a mural, I have to face different problems, sometimes it is the weather, sometimes it is the (crane) machinery used during painting. For me, one of the most important things is to have enough time and to remain focused on it.

GT: Would you like to share some stories of your experiences painting wall murals around the world?

I have so many things to say! Every time I go up with my cherry picker (crane), I hardly notice what it's happening down on the ground. But when I go down and I find local people waiting for me just to say thank you. I think I'm very very lucky.

Millo operates a crane while painting.


Millo operates a crane while painting.


Millo prepares his paints.



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