Swirling through dimensional meltdown and abstract planes of polished organics, the impossibly clean lines and bulging physics of Made 514’s work are simply breathtaking. Tornados of texture spiral into quantum helixes and tease perception through the stillness of furious movement. Vast geometries bristling with razor sharp edges shred perspective as the whirlwind spins clear off the walls and through the cortex. Hailing from Padua and entirely self taught – there is something profoundly sculptural and solid about Made’s work. Deconstructions of letter and form throw up frozen incantations and the bold weight of his outer lines scream graphic illusion. Vortices yawn open and snap shut, characters pop mischievously out of the angles and the overall experience – the physical force of his work is stone cold stunning. We spoke.
What were you early experiences of graffiti
Definitely something extraordinary. I didn’t live in a big city, so graffiti was something out of the ordinary – something I had no reference points for. The imagery and sensations that opened up in my mind about graffiti and the culture that revolved around it was infinite and seeing as I didn’t know a single thing when I started, every little idea, fragment of information, or word that I heard became a truth, and I contributed in making that truth real through practical application When you don’t know anything, the right thing is to take action.
How did you first start to develop your own style
I have always had a very open approach to painting. I never planned much of anything I did except in a few rare cases. I would draw a lot on paper, but when I came to the actual wall, I would end up painting something totally different. It has to be said that using that approach led to a lot of very bizarre tangents, but I think it allowed me both to learn and to develop a very flexible and versatile attitude. Lately I’ve been devoting myself a lot more to what I do, and the weight that it has for me is substantially different. At the moment my attention is much more focused on a certain type of shape and letters, but I know it is a phase of a path.
What were your early experiments in 3D like
It was fun, I enjoyed doing the letters and approaching the design aspect made you actually think and see things in 3D. Obviously I tried to make the letters stylish, but doing 3D characters as well as the lettering was not at all easy in the beginning and it’s still a massive challenge to this day.
Tell us about the symbolism of spirals in your work
The spiral comes into my work as a harmonic structure. I follow certain rules and methods to construct the letters and the piece and I mainly refer to three points – call them images or visions. Calligraphy and especially graffiti writing has never really been about a ‘font’, but the graphic representation of an organism with golden proportions. It is an organic whole that projects character and symbolism through dynamic harmony, rhythm and a choice of visual references. The act of writing a tag produces turbulence in the air that is directly tied to its motion and its movement; a sort of three-dimensional derivative of a negative. When we utter a word – and especially a name (that ideally represents a whole person’s being in a limited number of letters and sounds, a bit like the concept of Kanji, but cubed*), you do it with a plan, and speak it with a combination of mouth movements, vibration and channelled air pressure. Through those vibrations, ejected air will create turbulence and generate a physical ‘thing’ that did not previously exist. We rarely pay much attention to the unseen, but even something so simple and so taken for granted is a physical manifestation of intention and expression – free will. Cosmic choices and moments of manifestation.
Show the dimension in which speaking a thing’ through handwriting alone can be visualised and you can crystallise a flash of expression at a moment in time. In some ways you have to see the lettering as a break dance in full flow – where you can no longer see the dancer clearly, but through his movement – through those spins and dives you can perceive the essence of something beyond his physical form. Looking into the ‘aesthetics of chaos, there are mathematical rules that govern harmony and perceived randomness, where the empty space is filled with latent potential and where a line that goes in one direction corresponds with another in the opposite direction. Each line created in nature refers to the golden ratio, and the spiral that spins through it. These lines are moving in time and space on different cycles and in different sizes, and their existence and direction is determined by moments of “choice.”
* (I think what I do with my graffiti is draw the kanji of a name)
Looking for inspiration is like sending a spy satellite into the universe of imagination and primal organics, so subliminal references are always transmitted back – depends if you consider that as intentional.
What does the letter form mean to you
The name as a vehicle, free will and bifurcating moments of choice as a movement. As the letters form; perhaps the soul travels
What techniques do you use to create dynamics and movement
I try to visualise what I want to do – sometimes I make rough sketches of the movement or of the whole piece, sometimes I have a complete draft of what I want to do – but distilling it down, essentially paper and pencil, some basic rules of thumb and a sustained commitment to watching how things move.
I like representing visions of things on a wide range of scales, so I like my pieces to have that ethereal appearance. I do something similar with the backgrounds and I often use things that seem psychedelic so as not to give away too many points of reference. If you want to enter the vision you get into everything on every level
Did early science fiction on TV and film have any influence on you
Some of my favourite films are science fiction, though alas the majority are extremely trivial and based only on the special effects. I love it when something can give me a point of view that most people haven’t considered as it reforges your perception and adds new filters and windows into it…. having said that, I think that reality is often far more interesting and far more bizarre.
Does geometry have a primal magic
I think the geometry is the only ‘real’ thing, and mathematics is what lies above
How much do you pre-plan a piece and how much do you lose yourself in the moment
I love to lose myself in the piece, but the doors of good inspiration don’t always open. . Having very clear ideas about what you want to do methodologically helps a lot, but it takes a lot of freshness and instinct. I try to plan as much as possible not just to play on the wall but to keep the flow.
Many of your pieces either seem like a whirlwind about to burst out of the wall or a vortex about to suck the viewer in. How important is it to break the barrier of a 2 dimensional wall and interact with reality beyond it
Warping the space on the wall is a way to increase involvement, it helps to define a space in which the subject belongs, and that the viewer can share, and then encounter a different experience.
Are there more than 3 dimensions and we are just unable to see or understand them
I think that physics assumes that there are at least a dozen, but unfortunately I do not think we have the tools to even imagine them. We can but speculate.
How do you approach sculpture
I’ve done a bit of sculptural work, and it is a world that fascinates me so much, I know what I like, and now I’m working on the prototypes. For the moment, I’m keeping them under wraps – they are small things that help me to make evaluations and calculations for when I’ll be ready, because I do not want to go out with something I’m not 100% sure of – but I assure that I can’t wait until that moment comes.
Your paper work has a very different identity – where did that caricature feel come from
As I said, I really like gestural calligraphy, and often use the technique to display images. Putting the two things together, I find myself sitting in front of the paper where I draw the expressive signs complete with dirt stains, all the while trying to keep my head empty because as soon as you seize on intention, you lose the true thread. It’s about seeing something inside and letting an image form slowly and independently. It’s almost a kind of training for the right side of the brain … I enjoy it, and I definitely need to detach from what I usually design.
I think that the study of letters in the largest and most complex pieces must necessarily put have anchors in the tag written with a marker or a brush, because I believe them to be derived from the archetypal expressiveness of the letter.
Do you still do illegal walls or do you not have the time to express yourself creatively in the time frame.
I’m not doing illegal walls now, not at night anyway.
When do you use figurative characters in your pieces and when do you keep things abstract
Painting characters is great fun for me, but as an outer ring. I consider it a decoration for the letters within what I’m writing. Design requires more effort while sketching character is a good laugh.
How do you see the power of colour
In all honesty, I’m pretty colour blind. That doesn’t mean I see in black and white, but I think I have a problem there. Nor am I very good at colour matching, but I’m getting away with engagement. I think all colours act on emotions and are a little bit like musical notes filtered through execution and interpretation.
I’ve been doing it more recently and I hope to do more and more – it’s very exciting. I’ve never been to Asia and I’d like to paint there in the near future. Are you constantly learning Yes. And I hope that my battle against inertia allows me to keep on going
How do you feel about nuclear power
I think it’s a great business for people who build and invest in reactors. I think that energy in general has been utterly manipulated since we invented the very need. Everything in this field was done with purely economic ends in sight. There is some important energy research happening right now, but anything concerning the holy grail of ‘free energy’ is systematically censored. On the other hand there is the total lack of interest of the masses; both ill educated and brainwashed. I think if you want to change something you have to battle our own automatation.
How often do you paint more political pieces
Almost never, I think it’s wrong! I think painting subjects that are explicitly “political” or rooted in social protest is nothing more than rhetoric. You will not get anything more than the consent of the fools who will be able easily ‘consume’ your art. You can offer them discomfort and reinforce their fear and anger, but they’ll just turn around and go home with nothing in their head. Something different can happen if you suggest solutions in an intelligent way, but the abyss of banality is one step away. Making a complaint is liberating and it is convenient. Stimulating change through complaining is a paradox. Quote: “If everyone understands what you say you’re probably not saying anything,”
What is the essence of art for you
Art is trying to peek through the keyhole of ‘God’ – no matter who your god happens to be. At the human level, art is an elevated form of communication where the artist is able to share an indefinable but interpretable message. I think the function of “social” art is to provide opportunities for reprogramming or harmonizing society. Many of those who are dedicated to creating art do so as a result of the need to get rid of a mood of unease. To do this, they begin to investigate within themselves – consciously or not in a bid to find a way to override that discomfort or to transform it. So it invents its own expressive language, which materializes as a code written into the universal program. It’s a metaphor, but I think a little cyber twist works.
What does the future hold for you
I hope to continue to paint and to do great works – once you’ve had a taste – it’s hard to go back. I have no fixed plans, other than to continue …