Hello My Name Is: Nico189

Name: Nico189
City/Country: Milan, Italy
When did you start writing? I started taking interest in the hip-hop culture in 1996. Approximately 1 year later I painted my first piece.

What’s graffiti for you?
I think graffiti is a positive way of expressing one-self thanks to the infinite combinations that can be found between letters.

Anything can have an influence on me, provided that it can strike my chord: an old book, an old-school picture, a walk, my job, chatting with my friends.

Tell us about your city, how is life and graffiti there?
I’ve been living in Milan for more than 10 years now. Milan has always been considered “The house of style” by writers all over Italy. This city has always been a source of inspiration for me, and I’ve always been intrigued by it, despite the fast-paced lifestyle that I’m forced to live here. I was born in a small town in south Italy where you still have a more laid back approach to writing. Writing is something that you share with friends. You have a lot of spots available to paint and a lot of time to paint. But I love Milan anyway, despite all its contradictions: it’s my house by now.

What keeps you still writing?
I’m still connected to writing, because of the passion that comes from it, a passion that I share my old-time friends.

What first made you interested in graffiti and how did you end up on that track?
When I was 15, I liked basket and I got hooked by the American culture. I started listening to rap music, and the tags I saw around my town would catch my attention, so I started myself taking tags with a friend of mine. From that point on, graffiti became a real obsession. I would pour into it all of my energy, my time, and the lil’money that I could get as a teenager back then.

What trends are you seeing now in the graffiti world that you don’t like?
I don’t understand why it’s getting so popular to paint whack graffiti with letters that are painted as to look bad on purpose.

What do you do when you’re not painting?
I live a very normal life when I’m not painting. I’m very busy with my job and my family. I’ve just become a father.

How would you describe your style?
My style takes roots from New York wild style. I’ve always tried to hide my letters and build’em up by using loops and arrows. Lately I been looking for something more simple and easy, I use more my instinct to paint, hopefully the result shows a more personal style.

Can you remember the first piece you did?
I can clearly remember my first piece and, besides that, some previous attempt, the outcome of which was dreadful.

Future plans?
No big plans, I just paint when I feel like it. I hope I can travel more, and paint with all the writers I give credit to. As a part of my job, I’m focusing on illustration, and I’d like one day to make these passion to be connected.

Do you adapt your pieces and tags to the spot/surface?
I’m forced to adapt the surface or the spot where I’m painting. If my sketch doesn’t fit into the room available, I’d rather go freestyle with my piece.

What do you think about the new generation of writers in your city?
It’s hard for me to label the new generation of Milan writers, but generally speaking I like spontaneity and minimalist approach from many of them. A lot of the stuff I really don’t understand it, but I still feel interest for it. diversity is the forte of this movement.

What are the best and worst aspects of graffiti?
Graffiti make you see the world from different points of view, they make you share with other people nice, sometimes even extreme, experiences; and they create strong links as a consequence. On the other hand, you gotta cope with narrow-minded states of mind and some writers’ gigantic egos.

Who do you paint for?
For myself, no doubt. I just follow my desires and passions. And I’m happy if people are able to feel them and appreciate them.

What writers have inspired you?
Phase2, Kase2, Dondi… so many from the New York school of style, you name them. In Italy, PWD/CKC styles. Rae has always been a point of reference for me and my pals from CSK crew. I owe them so much, they’ve always been a source of inspiration for me, they’ve made me look at Trani as a little New York city.

Can you ever feel tired of graffiti?
Sometimes I get tired cuz I find it monotonous, not spontaneous. But it’s part of me by now, it’s like a drug. I need it, cuz it helps me escape from routine. Plus, some sort of competition between writers always makes me be on the lookout. When I see a burner, I feel like painting better then that, I feel like I wanna create something mind-blowing.

What do you hope people will think and feel when they see your stuff?
I hope people can feel the energy i put in my paintings… That’s all about it.

Spray Paint: Montana Cans / MTN
City: Milan
Markers/pens: Anything
Surface: Anything
Cap: Skinny Pro

Instagram: @_nico189

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