Read his story

his story

“The research of a style is the key for obtaining respect and fame, the same reasons why the writing has been born.”

One of the very first Italian Graffiti Writers, KayOne, born in 1972, has began painting in the street in 1988 at the age of 15. A pioneer in Milan when Graffiti appeared only on recycled American TV shows, and when it took five years for trends to cross the Ocean. KayOne spent most of his time working as an art director and artist, painting pictures on walls in Italy and abroad. Struck at that time by the great strength and visual impact that Graffiti Writing can express in the street, and that flavor that only the Hip Hop movement can evoke, that moment marked the course of his life up to the present day. Those were hard times for the Italian writer, who did not know in depth the phenomenon and looked with curiosity and admiration abroad, those were times of turmoil, Italians were the pioneers of a new great underground culture, result of the road and made on the road. At the time there were very few of them, they would gather at the “wall” to feel part of a group, share their passion, exchange tips on sketches and listen to new lyrics.

They spent the whole day talking about Writing, in front of breakers, skaters and frisbees flying over their heads. Countless attempts to get skinny or fat caps, huge markers with indelible ink and the frantic search for photographic material from abroad, moments that just few have had the privilege of tasting, recognizing in this the Italian Writing, as result of years of work of all those who were there. Founder in 1991, along with Heron and Adstar, of the first Italian fanzine dedicated to Writing, “Hip Hop Tribe Magazine“, assembling photocopies and photographs, the fanzine marked the history of Italian Writing as the primary means of spreading the culture at national and international level becoming the official voice of the Movement.

Thanks to Writing, he met people from all over the world and has participated to numerous jams. In Writing he has found a microcosm, made up of rules and unwritten laws dictated by a strong sense of belonging and respect for the deserving components. Son of a non-academic research, Writing is always changing, always attentive to the many stimuli of the road. The style of KayOne has remained faithful to a more “old school” strand compared to many others closer to contemporary influences dictated by graphics and 3D, keeping alive the spirit of the early New Yorker pioneers and of the Hip Hop flavor which has begun to disappear in Contemporary Writing. He has studied maniacally the evolution of calligraphy, the base of the style of each Writer. He has supervised the construction of many of the most important events related to the culture of Graffiti Writing. Instinctively, since he began his “career”, perhaps for his art studies, he made abstract paintings closest to the taste of the road.

On canvas he has tried to find a more gestural and instinctive kind of painting, thus not abandoning the impacting visual look of Graffiti Writing, it is on the wall that he expresses his full force through bright colors and large dimensions creating works that refer to that world by joining the lessons of American Pop Art with the strength of the Italian Informal. Many are the recent successful exhibitions: Museum of the Triennale, 54th Venice Biennale and the Pirelli Tower. In 2017 he published with the publishing house Drago his book “Vecchia Scuola – Graffiti Writing a Milano” devoted to the birth of this culture in his city between the 1980s and the early 1990s.