IN STUDIO with Microbo & Bo130 – ep. 12

IN STUDIO with Microbo & Bo130 – ep. 12

Anna Frattini · 2 months ago · Art

For the twelfth episode of IN STUDIO, we went to the studio of Bo130 and Microbo, two iconic artists who have shaped the landscape of urban art. Bo130, born in Milan in 1971, forged his unique style in the ’80s, inspired by punk and Hip-Hop, amalgamating his tag with the iconic stylized crab. His layered works are a lysergic journey into an alien’s archive of memory, constantly expressing the sensation of being out of place in “normality”. A long-time collaborator of Microbo, Bo130 has entered the institutional art scene with exhibitions in museums and galleries. Microbo, born in Catania in 1970, describes herself as a “citizen of planet Earth and a microbe of the universe”. Her artistic language focuses on the search for the invisible as nourishment for the soul, creating an ancestral organic alphabet of microbiotic creatures. After a nearly self-taught formation between Catania and London, Microbo formed a deep collaboration with Bo130. Together, since settling in Milan in the 2000s, they have become prominent figures in Italian street art and promoters of extremely innovative projects in the urban universe.

The Studio

We are in the heart of Chinatown, Milan. We meet Microbo and Bo in their home-studio which over the years has collected memories and objects from many parts of the world. Throughout all the previous episodes, this IN STUDIO is perhaps the only one where private life and work develop within a single space. An extremely interesting case that leads us to reflect on how different the perception of workspaces can be for an artist, in this case, a duo. For Microbo and Bo130, it has become a real life choice to unite these two worlds, and it is the basis of their serenity. The next step, however, is to start separating the spaces even though both define themselves as punk in the way they conceive the studio.

What are the mediums you prefer?
MICROBO&BO130
: We often paint on found or scrap material, such as beams, wood panels, and old frames, and then layer upon layer, we build our works by mixing with acrylic colors, spray paints, stencils, paper, and posters. We almost never start from a blank canvas.

What objects or tools are essential in your studio?
Bo130
: A Bic pen and a blank sheet of paper.
Microbo: Everything is indispensable and nothing is, we are both serial accumulators, on the street, you find a lot of valuable material that can be reused and transformed, so I would say that the “workshop” part is the most indispensable.

How does your creative process unfold?
BO
: Often, we almost never sketch, but we have an idea or several sketches. As we build the image, we add or remove depending on the moment.
MICROBO: In many cases, we also go freestyle, which ends in the perfect finale. Alternatively, we start with an idea and a story that we want to tell. They are real invisible stories.

How does your creative process develop?
It is important to first distinguish the fact that we both have our distinct and separate universes, although especially in recent years, we often find ourselves working together as a couple.
Microbo: If my work mainly focuses on the microcosm, Bo130’s imagery can be decidedly compared to the macrocosm; together, we have found a way to unite the two imaginaries in a sort of yin & yang dance, which besides satisfying both of us, we notice is also appreciated by our friends and collectors.
Bo130: A clash of styles and techniques permeates my images and drawings. I draw from a wide range of influences such as music, movies, comics, and “news of the day”, blending a Lo-fi aesthetic and a punk and DIY approach. Once I have defined what I intend to paint, I begin to layer different sections of the painting. I often start from torn prints of my own drawings, to which I add color with very fluid brushstrokes, in an extremely spontaneous and unplanned way. Subsequently, I proceed by inserting more consistent acrylic colors and spray, other elements such as texts, abstract shapes, and other paper collages. I build the image until I reach a point where a little voice tells me: enough!
Microbo: I have two different methods but both are important to me. In the first one, I start with a clear idea or a “story” to tell, then, once all the elements to be included and the type of support for each one are established, I build my composition. In the second one, I start by dirtying the surface with random colors without thinking too much about it and gradually add different layers, letting the work develop spontaneously and only in the end adding details that will “reveal” the title. This is an approach that I call “magical” because often simple coincidences turn out to be synchronicities. In both methods, I cannot do without my sketchbooks which I use not only to draw but to write down notes and thoughts that don’t always take shape in the present but reveal themselves as keystones in the future.

How is your studio a meeting point?
According to those who have been here, the atmosphere that pervades our studio recalls the essence of a true “speakeasy”… and we like that! This place has grown together with us, preserving the memories of our travels and experiences accumulated over the years. We have also built or collected furniture over time, emptying the cellars of relatives and friends, a fusion of styles and eras that reflect our taste and personal aesthetic research. The works and objects are not only part of our personal archive but also the result of exchanges with other artists. We often find ourselves hosting friends and artists of various kinds because confrontation and sharing have always been important to us. Someone has dubbed our studio “The Yellow Submarine” beyond the fact that it is underground because we filled it with colored lights and over time it has also been a place for epic parties and nights. It is precisely this coexistence of different realities that perhaps makes our studio unique, vibrant, and attractive to our guests.

ph. courtesy Andrés Juan Suarez

IN STUDIO with Microbo & Bo130 – ep. 12
Art
IN STUDIO with Microbo & Bo130 – ep. 12
IN STUDIO with Microbo & Bo130 – ep. 12
1 · 20
2 · 20
3 · 20
4 · 20
5 · 20
6 · 20
7 · 20
8 · 20
9 · 20
10 · 20
11 · 20
12 · 20
13 · 20
14 · 20
15 · 20
16 · 20
17 · 20
18 · 20
19 · 20
20 · 20
The freedom without veils in Birdee’s shots

The freedom without veils in Birdee’s shots

Giulia Guido · 4 weeks ago · Photography

Blackbird fly, blackbird fly / Into the light of the dark black night, sang the Beatles more than fifty years ago, and it is this song, and its message of freedom, that inspired Jamie Johnson in the choice of what is now her stage name, Birdee. Birdee has been shooting since 2014, when she started with self-portraits. Today, her photographs taken mainly in analogical form are able to analyze the themes of femininity, strength and grace.  The young girls who are the protagonists of her shots are beautiful, carefree, suspended but not for this reason they are not determined and tenacious. Moreover, the fact that we almost never show their bodies in full and often hide their faces helps us to identify with them. They are nobody, so they can be anyone, even ourselves. 

Scrolling through Birdee’s website or her Instagram profile, you will notice that in addition to female figures there is also another element that always comes back in her shots, real water. It almost seems as if the graceful bodies of the girls who shoot are transformed in contact with the waves of the sea or a swimming pool. The little bubbles that caress the skin give light and life to the images. 

Discover a selection of Birdee’s photographs below. 

The freedom without veils in Birdee’s shots
Photography
The freedom without veils in Birdee’s shots
The freedom without veils in Birdee’s shots
1 · 12
2 · 12
3 · 12
4 · 12
5 · 12
6 · 12
7 · 12
8 · 12
9 · 12
10 · 12
11 · 12
12 · 12
The Weight of Memory through Ana Topoleanu’s Shots

The Weight of Memory through Ana Topoleanu’s Shots

Collater.al Contributors · 4 weeks ago · Photography

Ana Topoleanu is a Romanian-Mexican photographer who blends elements from her origins into captivating visual narratives. Her journey into photography began as a means to express her thoughts and capture the essence of the world around her, a passion ignited after completing her studies at the University of Sociology in Bucharest. Since then, photography has become more than just a craft for Topoleanu: it is her universal language and preferred form of expression. Inspired by the diverse cultures of Romania and Mexico, Topoleanu’s work invites viewers on a journey of discovery, urging them to pause, reflect, and appreciate the beauty that exists in both the ordinary and extraordinary. Her photography delves into themes such as the role of women in society, the complexities of motherhood, and the power of human relationships and memories. Today, we discuss “My Pillow”, a project that reflects on memory; let’s see how.

Ana Topoleanu’s My Pillow

One of her most touching projects, “My Pillow,” is a testament to the emotional depth and complexity of her work. The project began during the last years of her grandmother’s life, who accompanied her during her formative years. Topoleanu fondly remembers her grandmother, affectionately called mamaia, as a source of love, guidance, and inspiration. As her grandmother’s health declined, Topoleanu embarked on a photographic journey to preserve the memories of their time together and honor her legacy.

Topoleanu felt that this approach lacked the depth she wanted to convey. Through continuous refinement and introspection, the project evolved into “My Pillow,” a title deeply rooted in memory, representing a poignant moment before her grandmother’s passing. While working on My Pillow, Topoleanu focused on capturing the ephemeral nature of time and the inevitable passage of generations. Each photograph served as an attempt to freeze moments slipping away, reflecting the gradual fading of precious memories and the profound impact of loss.

For Topoleanu, “My Pillow” is more than just a photographic series: it is a labor of love, a tribute to her grandmother, and a reflection of her personal journey through grief and healing. Through her lens, she invites viewers to explore the universal themes of love, loss, and the enduring power of memory.

The Weight of Memory through Ana Topoleanu’s Shots
Photography
The Weight of Memory through Ana Topoleanu’s Shots
The Weight of Memory through Ana Topoleanu’s Shots
1 · 11
2 · 11
3 · 11
4 · 11
5 · 11
6 · 11
7 · 11
8 · 11
9 · 11
10 · 11
11 · 11
Marta Passalacqua and the sad side of summer

Marta Passalacqua and the sad side of summer

Collater.al Contributors · 4 weeks ago · Photography

Summertime Sadness is called Marta Passalacqua‘s photographic project that reveals the sad side of summer. Born almost unconsciously, Passalacqua’s shots place colorful elements in dialogue with desolate settings. Summer has not yet begun, or has just ended. The photographer provides no spatio-temporal indications except for a few clues. A deserted beach with closed umbrellas, then cloths lying in the sun. Or even unlit showers. Human presence never appears but is instead replaced by “objects that smell of saltiness,” placed in a suspended and infinite time that seems to never end. «Summertime Sadness” is the poignant melancholy that catches us, often unprepared, in the middle of a sunny afternoon. It has the flavor of moments already experienced and others still waiting for us, unknown,» reads the curatorial text of Liquida Photofestival in Turin, where Marta Passalacqua will exhibit from May 2 to 5, 2024.

marta passalacqua | Collater.al
marta passalacqua | Collater.al
marta passalacqua | Collater.al
marta passalacqua | Collater.al
marta passalacqua | Collater.al
marta passalacqua | Collater.al

Courtesy Marta Passalacqua

Marta Passalacqua and the sad side of summer
Photography
Marta Passalacqua and the sad side of summer
Marta Passalacqua and the sad side of summer
1 · 8
2 · 8
3 · 8
4 · 8
5 · 8
6 · 8
7 · 8
8 · 8
Perspective, Suzanne Saroff distorted photography

Perspective, Suzanne Saroff distorted photography

Giulia Pacciardi · 4 weeks ago · Photography

In her latest series Perspective, the photographer Suzanne Saroff, creates distorted images of colourful food using glass objects and vases filled with water.
Images play with light and shadow, appearing fractured, divided into several parts, shrinking and incredibly distorted.

With tools and techniques such as refraction, directional light and vivid colours, her photographs offer to everyday objects alternative visual paths.
In fact, through shadows and fragmentation, they seem to become something more than what they really are.

Follow her on Instagram to stay up to date on her beautiful photographic project.

Perspective, le fotografie distorte di Suzanne Saroff | Collater.al 1 Perspective, le fotografie distorte di Suzanne Saroff | Collater.al 2 Perspective, le fotografie distorte di Suzanne Saroff | Collater.al 3 Perspective, le fotografie distorte di Suzanne Saroff | Collater.al 4 Perspective, le fotografie distorte di Suzanne Saroff | Collater.al 5 Perspective, le fotografie distorte di Suzanne Saroff | Collater.al 6 Perspective, le fotografie distorte di Suzanne Saroff | Collater.al 7 Perspective, le fotografie distorte di Suzanne Saroff | Collater.al 8

Perspective, Suzanne Saroff distorted photography
Photography
Perspective, Suzanne Saroff distorted photography
Perspective, Suzanne Saroff distorted photography
1 · 8
2 · 8
3 · 8
4 · 8
5 · 8
6 · 8
7 · 8
8 · 8