I had no idea how much art was in Calabria. But once I lifted up the rock, it was everywhere.
I was fortunate enough to get to visit the countryside studio of Massimo Sirelli, one of Calabria's favorite sons.
Sirelli started out, as many young urban artists do, with graffiti as his medium. After graduating with a degree in Digital and Virtual Design at the well-respected European Institute of Design (IED) in Turin, he shifted his focus to graphic design and multimedia art. He's one of few artists I've heard of who has managed to rise from corporate design to become a world-renown artist.
What I admire about his work is that you can see that his love of street art is still there. Rather than bending to what clients want, he's made a name for himself with his edgy, paint-splattered designs.
Here a Sirelli...There a Sirelli...Everywhere a Sirelli
Drive around Calabria, and you'll run into a Sirelli masterpiece before long. There's his Catanzaro Colorful, the bright Lego-reminiscent concrete reef in Catanzaro. His mural of Zeus in Cinquefrondi. And then there are his graffiti-spray-painted robot heads that pop up in surprising places.
After visiting his studio, I saw one on a bridge on the way to Tropea, and it made me laugh with delight. It's like spotting a Calabrian Banksy.
But Sirelli isn't just in Calabria. You can find his work all over Italy, including in Turin, Rome, and Milan. He was invited to create an installation of the robots he's become known for in Dubai, of all places.
About Those Robots
These days, Sirelli has become known for his quirky robots, made from recycled materials. You'll recognize candy tins, cogs, and lids that, when put together, somehow equal adorable.
But you can't buy these robots. No. You can apply to adopt them on AdottaUnRobot.com (Adopt a Robot). Each robot has a name and details about its personality on the site. If you fall in love, you'll have to submit a note explaining why you are worthy of becoming a parent of one of these works of art!
I was thrilled to get up close and personal with one of Calabria's most well-known artists. Sirelli is going places, so don't be surprised if he pops up on a building (or in an art gallery) near you!