Artist, journalist, photographer and public relations.

Visiting your websites (www.alanzeni.com, www.giovedi25.com) we are immediately struck by your polyhedral style. Let’s start from the beginning: after your degree in Telecommunications at Politecnico in Milan, you launch a public relation and event business.

After four years, you needed more inspiration so you travelled in different states getting in touch with many cultures. Could you talk us about your post degree years and above all your trips?

When a person is confused, like I was, what should they do? I don’t know honestly, I searched.

I searched outside and by doing so I guess I found myself. Perhaps confusion is the wrong word. I’d say that someone like me who did not have the guts to be what they are, must find it sooner or later.

The only way I could find it was going away from my comfort zone that made me feel safe, always busy, things I could do well and concentrated. On a day in 2006, during a bad period, I told my mates and friends that I was about to leave since I was not feeling at ease. Believe me on this, they had realized it before I had.

I think I was unbearable. So I left. Nothing heroic, one way ticket to Barcelona. That’s all, no expectations. Only my backpack, a huge suitcase and a friend who was with me to make this huge step. He would stay with me the first 3 days. Then he came back in Italy with my suitcase. I only kept my backpack and some new and old fears.

That was my very first trip for about 50 days and I moved from Barcelona to Valencia. One night, while I was in Madrid, I realized I had reached a balance, but still I didn’t know what I wanted. What I knew was what I did not want. I had to fix things back at home. So I came back and told my work-mates that I did not want to go on with my adventure as before.

Among difficulties, explanations I went and came back from and to Valencia for long. After I was travelling to London, New York, Paris and one month in Australia. So this situation lasted 3 years. One day a friend of mine advised me about Theatre, which is a sort of trip too and it was enlightening but clearly not a definitive solution.

In 2007 you started your painting and photograph career. Being a communication expert, painting and photograph are two natural consequences of your profession. We are used to interviewing artists coming from academic background or schooling experiences.

What was your first approach to Art? Why did you undertake such project? Did you have a work of expressive need? Do you take inspiration from any artists?

More than a communication expert I’d say I feel the deep need to communicate. This is what led me towards my achievements, the necessity to “give” someone who wants or can seize it.

"Maurino l'uomo" (Maurino the man) Courtesy of Alan Zeni

“Maurino l’uomo” (Maurino the man) Courtesy of Alan Zeni

Shifting people’s attention is definitely something I enjoy, but my way, without any sensationalism or extreme provocations. I have never understood provocations, I feel touchy about them. To cut a long story short, in 2007 I started drawing and painting. I had always wanted to do it, one of those things that was there waiting to be experienced in 2006.

My works were colorful and pointy. Maybe like me, i have never drawn inspiration from anyone and lacking a specific education I follow my instinct.

However, you can recognize Picasso style geometries and later details recalling Schiele or Basquait. It depended on what kind of color I was using, acrylic, oil or paint and what materials: bigger or smaller. Honestly, great comparisons for someone who follows his ego and hand

Browsing your website I was impressed by “I Baci di ZA”(Za’s kisses), a series of illustrations representing the simplicity of daily romanticism. Observing your drawings I immediately thought of The Birthday by Marc Chagall, a very famous work and, as I see it, extremely simple and every-day love of an in love couple. Where did you take inspiration for this work or is it just a random inspiration?

I baci di ZA are a project, unplanned actually, infinitely small considering that they originated in a period of my career that is mainly on large walls together with graffiti.

Il bacio eroico / The heroic kiss (omage to Stenberg) #sketch #print, size #A5, 15,8 x 21 cm, #sketch. Courtesy of Alan Zeni

Il bacio eroico / The heroic kiss (omage to Stenberg) #sketch #print, size #A5, 15,8 x 21 cm. Courtesy of Alan Zeni

I am constantly in love and truly romantic. I am fascinated by involuntary gestures, and a photographic project is also this.

I Baci are born spontaneously with a good morning that is not a real kiss but it is between two persons in love that great each other. From there I created a new kiss without a particular timetable.

Then, in an open air market, I found a book published by Mondadori in 1945 entitled “L’arte di vivere”(Art of living).this book contains only illustrations by Steinberg, an extraordinary Italian-American artist. He really got into me giving me a momentum. From that day I have painted a new kiss every night, almost.

So far I have 116. Chagall? I am sure you are referring to “I Baci Mandati”, an imperceptible way of being present for two lovers who are distant. Yes, there may be something, but again involuntary, it’s a huge honor reminding of his lightness.

"I baci mandati / Sent kisses" #Illustrations, #print, 'kisses', size # A5, 15.8 x 21 cm, #sketch. Courtesy of Alan Zeni

“I baci mandati / Sent kisses” #Illustrations, #print, size # A5, 15.8 x 21 cm, #sketch. Courtesy of Alan Zeni

Your Murals are a series of works made on completely white walls you filled and decorate with this large black and white drawings with a modern oriental style that give a very personal touch to your works.

It’s no easy task to make murals, in fact there is a design step when you calculate the space you will need and the right technique. Could you tell us about the designing step, from the choice of the theme to its creation? Among those on you website, do you feel a special connection to any of those?

Just like my life, even if have a lot of space I improvise, so also for “Murals”. I am sorry to let you down but no designing: only the certainty to know what message I want to convey. The latest have colors too. Unfortunately, one of the downside of my artistic life is the inability to be using only one procedure. It is a limit, at least in the Art market.

“Backpacker in Barcellona” Courtesy of Alan Zeni

“Backpacker in Barcellona” Courtesy of Alan Zeni

“Backpacker in Barcellona” Courtesy of Alan Zeni

“Backpacker in Barcellona” Courtesy of Alan Zeni

If we compare my first and last works, you can always perceive a commune gesture of vibration. I like it because it makes understand that I have never betrayed my most intimate nature.

The wall I most attached to? Maybe “Ocean”, dedicated to my son recently born and since I have just uploaded it I guess you haven’t seen it.

“Oceano / Ocean” Courtesy of Alan Zeni

“Oceano / Ocean” Courtesy of Alan Zeni

Let’s speak about photography. In 2014, you made “Soul”, a photographic project that “takes the wraps off our true nature”. You gave a personal touch to it, cutting, tearing and coloring this wonderful shots. Would you mind telling us about the creation of this project? Do you look up to any photographers?

In 2010 I thought gathering all my ideas and experiences in a sort of Resume as if it was a newspaper. I loved the idea so much that I made both a paper and non copy to keep all the desires and projects of youngsters from small villages like me. By doing so I was hoping to reach out to curios and maybe entrepreneurs too!

“Soul” D. (photo & paint) 2014 – Courtesy of Alan Zeni

“Soul” D. (photo & paint) 2014 – Courtesy of Alan Zeni

In 2011 I managed to launch this project, and I was very satisfied with it.  I wanted to make the pictures for sponsors myself and I became fond of it. Thanks to some friends’ advice, I learned the basics of photography. The rest is only experiments.

I can’t say I take inspiration from anyone. This world is wonderful and I am no photographer but rather someone who uses this mean in a complimentary way for the ideas.

I have for “Soul”and also “Baci” the permanent search of attitudes and gestures make a person “Tasteful” to people’s eyes. The signs, tears on the photos are the culmination of a certain person.

My idea is that by looking at a photo, even without a visible face, a friend could recognize the subject.

Our last question is always about the future. Any projects? Exhibitions?

Currently I am participating in the selections for a project called HERE at CAVALLERIZZA in Turin after last year very successful first edition.

Za Exposition (photo paint) Cavallerizza Turin 2016 – Courtesy of Alan Zeni

Za Exposition (photo paint) Cavallerizza Turin 2016 – Courtesy of Alan Zeni

Za Exposition (photo paint) Cavallerizza Turin 2016 – Courtesy of Alan Zeni

Za Exposition (photo paint) Cavallerizza Turin 2016 – Courtesy of Alan Zeni

Way in the future, I would like to travel throughout Italian squares with “a surprise installation” that obliges observers to set in motion their curiosity.

In the meantime, with the Italian fashion label VAR/CITY I created a small part of their fall/winter collection where my pictures and hand-made

Article & interview by Loriana Pitarra

English translation by Chiara Vilmercati