World-known for his large scale black and white murals, Millo’s art is immediately recognizable by simple monochromatic lines figuring child-like subjects, interacting with the surroundings. We reached him for a coffee break during his intense painting activity, talking about his fine technique and future plans, starting from the night before his first mural…
Hey Millo, let’s go back in time for a moment, tell me some about the night before your first big mural. Tell me about your feelings, and did you were sure it would be the first of a long series?
I wasn’t sure at all! It has been something that happened soon after I finished. Painting for me was and still is a sort of meditation, it makes me feel in peace and relaxed so of course passing from canvases to walls was the best feeling ever, I mean this glorious feedback lasts much more. I guess the night before my first wall I asked myself if I would have been able to do it and the answer was always the same : “let’s try! If I don’t do that I’ll never know.”
At the beginning of your career, how did you manage to find the right space to paint your subjects? Who or what do you think played a key role at the beginning of your journey?
Probably for the same reason I was saying before, I felt a kind of urgency of expressing myself with art, this helped me a lot of not giving up and keep trying.
And today, looking back at the pictures of the murals painted in many different countries, can you highlight elements of continuity and change over the years?
My firsts works were already similar to those I’m doing now, I used for many years only the black colors, then little by little I started to add more details, first of all the shadows and in a couple of years the use of colors.
Agueda, Portugal – 2016
Is there anything in your style that you believe will change in the next few years? I mean, in this period are you experimenting with something you think you’ll develop in the near future?
Now I’m creating more realistic objects inside my black and white world, and I like a lot the contrast they create in the scene. I think I’ll keep on experimenting.
Tell me some about the technical aspect, I’m always curious about the different paths artists find to move through their work. Let’s say you have an image in your head, tell me all the necessary steps before seeing it freshly painted on a big wall.
Well, I have an image in my head, usually for me they appears early in the morning , so I put the coffee machine on the fire, and I start to rough sketch what I feel.
From that moment till the wall, I don’t think too much on it. I really prefer not sketching or having something fixed in my mind, I love the possibility to change the idea on a last minute, in order to fix better with the surroundings. So i really prefer when the sketch is not required, cause this means I have the time to arrive in the place, have a look around, and feel inspired by it. When I decide what to do, I use a crane to go up at more or less the middle of the surface, and from 5-6meters far from the facade, with a long pole with a brush at its end and a very light gray, I start to sketch the characters. The characters are the only things I place on the wall, then with the black color I start to create all the rest.
Now speaking about your attitude towards your art, what do you think has changed? I mean, how do you approach the beginning of a new job, what is the push that leads you to complete a new mural?
I really love what I do, in the years I learned even to love it more and more, each wall is a new challenge. Each wall is a different place to discover. Behind the walls, there are months made by emails, to let them organize the events, and when I arrive I’m always full of anergy with a unique will: to do my best.
Kremenchuk, Ukraine – 2017
You started painting in Italy and then “colonize”, or better, “millonize” the rest of the World. In which country did you find more attention towards your work?
I have to say there are no particular countries I prefer, I’ve had the occasion to paint in different part of the World and the feedbacks I got were totally good.
Most of the time it’s mainly because I took part to events really focused on social issues ad so my works are placed in contests where people really consider them as a good sign and a strong will to renovate and bring some beauty.
I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but I started this job before the World became “Social”. And yes, now it’s easier. And yeah, it offers a lot of opportunities. And yeah, it allows you to reach an immense audience. But no, … Fill the blank space.
But no, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to work hard!
For example, have you ever felt too much pressure, you know, an excessive expectation to meet? I mean, 20 years ago you could do a “bad” piece on the streets for just 100 people, now they’ll see it in millions … Does anything change for you?
I don’t think too much on this side of the situation, I mean when I start a new wall I don’t really care about how many likes I’m gonna have, I try to create the best for all the people living next to the wall and of course for me.
I’m also curious about what excites you in the world of art today, give me two names in contemporary art that blow your mind, one for painting, and one for street art.
Well, about street art I’ll go with Sebastian Velasco, and for painting, no way: Mark Ryden.
And what about yesterday, let’s say you have a dinner out for two, and you can choose an artist, whoever you like, from the Egyptians through the ’60s. Who’s who?
That’s hard! Mmmm…I think Picasso!
Well, I guess our time is finishing, but I cannot leave you without asking some about your future plans. Please tell me what will you do, or what would you like to do, in the next 5 months, and in the next 5 years.
In the next five months, I’ll keep working and travelling and yes, I would like to go to the beach and enjoy next summer..And for the next 5 years, more or less I would really love to share the same program!