Artist Interviews 2022

By Laura Siebold

Blub is a very interesting street artist from Florence, Italy. Their art work is very particular, it is not often that you find a painting of goddess Venus, or The Queen (may she rest in peace) with diving goggles. Blub’s art happens underwater. When my co-editor Julia shared Blub’s art with me, I was intrigued. In this short interview, the artist shares some insights on their underwater world, and gives some advice for novice street artists. The artist also shares their vision of art as a powerful tool of unity, especially in times of crisis.

Blub, it’s nice to meet you! You are a street artist in Florence, Italy. How long have you been based in Florence? Can you tell us about your early beginnings in the art world? Did you receive a formal art education?

Hello and nice to meet you. I'm from Florence, I don't have a studio of my own, at least not open to the public, being anonymous, I make use of my collaborator's studio and some points to convey my works. I have a formal artistic path, art institute and academy of fine arts in Florence.

Can you please try to describe your art in three words? Please go into detail about why you chose those three words.

Blub, can I use 4 [or 5]? The name I have chosen to accompany this project is: "art knows how to swim". Blub is the onomatopoeic sound that refers to the sound of breathing underwater. 

Your art portrays characters, among them some famous personalities, under water, wearing diving goggles. How do you choose your subjects and how did you develop your unique style and artist name?

My art is submerged, an underwater world that has different physical laws but belongs to the same world we live in. We can float without the weight of gravity, with mysteries yet to be discovered. My iconic characters float timelessly in this underwater world, they come alive with diving masks, reminding us that the arts and talents live and survive every difficulty and crisis in the passage of time.

Was there a specific moment in your life when you identified yourself as an artist? What led up to this moment?

[Being an] [A]rtist for me means making an art of your life and living of art. I had no beginning, just a natural consequence in the life path.

What or who would you say is your biggest inspiration? Please go into detail.

Surely the characters of the history of the Renaissance, even, if you want by inheritance, being Florentine. Putting a diving mask on a Dante or a Venus makes them more reachable and timeless.

What is one of the most important lessons you’ve learned throughout your career? What kind of advice would you give novice street artists to increase their presence in this realm of the art world?

Surely to trust their intuition, believe more in themselves. As [a] street artist, your field is the street, so be discreet and careful where you intervene, the historic center of Florence is protected by the fine arts which is why I decided not to intervene directly on the walls but only on the metal utility doors. Ask yourself what you want to convey as a message, given that the audience that will benefit from your work will be very heterogeneous

If you could paint and exhibit your work anywhere, where would you like to exhibit? Please explain your choice.

Although the inspiration came to me in Dalì's small village in Cadaques, Spain, the project started in my hometown Florence. My work would get lost in big cities, also because I use metal counters. I have also exhibited in museums, in the end, mine are historical figures. I don't know where I'd like to exhibit, these are things that happen [in] the moment, and I don't think about them.

The past 3 years have been largely influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic. Some of your work clearly shows the influence of the pandemic by adding masks to the recurring element of diving goggles – one of your paintings (IG, Oct 29 2020) shows ET removing a mask off a man’s (Steven Spielberg) face. In your opinion, how did isolation measures and masks prevent society from recognizing who they really are? How can art help uncover one’s true identity?

That painting means a lot to me, ET pulling the mask away from its own creator, Spielberg, because it doesn't recognize him with the mask, the title is in fact, " WHO ARE YOU?" Actually, with the pandemic, I realized that it came out of people who they really were deep inside, your true nature emerges in times of difficulty, I didn't really like what I saw [was] coming out. A community that is divided, that preaches unity and peace and in reality, does not accept anyone who thinks differently. Art in its various forms unites and unites true feelings without words.

You sell your art to interested passersby on the streets of Florence. My colleague Julia discovered your art in a guitar store in Los Angeles, CA; she mentioned you were very surprised to hear about your art being exhibited in this corner of the world. I think it’s beautiful how much your art flows, just like you mentioned it in one of your posts at the end of a lockdown in Italy (IG, June 2 2020). Do you think that art has the power to change the world for the better?

Yes, it always surprises me to know that my works are seen, even where I've never set foot, who knows in what ways it ended up there. It's always a nice surprise. Certainly, art as I said in its various forms such as that of music also has the power to unite and not divide, as if it extrapolated from the human being his best side and his highest values.

What is the legacy you would like to create for yourself and your art?

An art that has a positive and hopeful meaning, to bring out our true nature, that of an awakened conscience.

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