Mezzolani Expresses Himself Through Graffiti
Graffiti artist Marco Mezzolani has perfected his technique
into one that is so aesthetically pleasing that anyone who
sees it forgets they are looking at a graying stucco wall.
Known to spend anywhere from 30 minutes to several days on
one piece, Mezzolani -—Mesh to his artist friends —
splashes an array of spray paint to transform drab walls into
a street museum of vibrant, lyrical, illegal, awe-inspiring
works of art.
“When I first saw painting, I felt this passion that
filled me completely.” Mezzolani said.
Looking at his lanky six-foot-three-inch frame and lucid
blue eyes, Mezzolani, 27, hardly passes for the delinquent
gangster wannabes often associated with the scrawled markings
alongside major highways and the backs of churches. His markings
Mezzolani is an artist who has created works across Europe
and participated in international graffiti contests in Germany
His pieces are known to encompass huge spaces. Mezzolani
has painted completely over sections of walls, measuring from
the length of an SUV to the length of a swimming pool.
What he requires for these extensive projects is a little
time to plan what he wishes to create — often thought
of during dinner and drawn on a napkin or placemat —
and a few containers of paint. Simpler pieces require about
five cans of base paint and a few cans of detail paint.
His art is easy to pick out. His use of bubble lettering
and the sleek movement of ebony and aqua shades to mask his
artist name in twisted lettering are unique within the chaos
of color from the other works.
A flux of teals, fuchsias and fiery reds blending fluidly
together, Mezzolani’s pieces are anything but crude
Mezzolani and one of his original designs.
"A flux of teals, fuchsias,
and fiery reds blending fluidly together, Mezzolani's pieces
are anything but crude images."
Graffiti, a tradition born out of the early
hip hop era, has branched out into two forms: graffiti, an
intricate layout of design images, and tagging, simple spray
writing that has plagued public domains for decades now.
The work of “taggers,” dubbed the “ New
Generation” by Mezzolani, is found throughout Cagli.
Evidence of the New Generation can be seen everywhere, from
the walls of people’s homes to the doors around the
town’s main piazza.
Noticeable for their monochromatic design and lack of intricate
detail, these pieces take around five minutes and are merely
“Kids today, they don’t plan anything; they just
spray to put something on the wall,” Mezzolani said.
“ It’s ugly. It isn’t art.”
Introduced to graffiti art at 14, Mezzolani spent hours practicing
lines and shading, poring over sketchbooks and examining other
pieces found around town. It was months before he let himself
near a wall.
design done by Mezzolani
The Cagli community has come to know Mezzolani’s
pieces as art. Restaurants and clothing stores are adorned
with creations of his imagination, bold colors shining underneath
blazing lights that add to their magnificence.
Lilliput, a children’s clothing store in Cagli,
hired Mezzolani to paint cartoon-style children on the walls
of the store’s showroom, adding pizzazz to the originally
dull area and offering a unique spin to the interior.
“It’s nice to have something to look at; it gives
the store a fun look,” said shopper Maria Falcinelli.
Although at first Mezzolani was blamed for all graffiti misdeeds
found within the medieval walls of the quiet town, with his
evolution from simple designer to magnificent full-wall artist,
his work has become so well known and respected that he no
longer remains at the top of the suspect list down at the
stazione di polizia.
“Mesh is number one in all Cagli,” says Luca Toscani,
a Cagli resident and longtime friend of Mezzolani’s.
"...Mezzolani spent hours practicing lines
and shading, pouring over sketchbooks and examiming other
pieces found around town."
is Mezzolani's tag name
Travel out of Old Cagli and into New Cagli, and it’s
an entirely different world. On what is commonly known as
the “Wall of Fame,” artists who are serious about
their craft paint masterpieces in clouds of fluorescent mists.
Music notes, characters, faces — all sorts of images
adorn this stretch of wall. When the wall — a legal
graffiti location — becomes full, painters paint over
the old images. Here there are paintings upon paintings, layered
It is at this wall that graffiti gets its roots back. It
can be appreciated for its attention to detail, its carefully
planned landscaping and use of space. Here it isn’t
Just as sculptors and portraitists plan out their pieces
— their focus, composition, colors, medium — so
does Mezzolani. This attention to specifics raises graffiti
art to a modern plateau that is consistent with the current
pop culture while retaining the calculated delicacy of his
“I do graffiti to continue a tradition. By painting
I keep the hip hop era alive,” says Mezzolani.
of a Mezzolani design
"I do graffiti to continue a tradition.
By painting I keep the hip hop era alive."
example of traditional graffiti done by Mezzolani
by Jana Konys
page by Joanna Walsh
by Jacque Bailey
by Omar Alfonso