In order to process certain subject of interest Ozmo aka Gionata Gesi does not focus on working with any particular media. It is his desire to express certain observations and emotions that are affecting the production of different works. The way Ozmo is combining painterly elements like figures, shapes, colors and the way the composition is being constructed suggest how thorough is the artist’s approach. References from popular culture, art history, and politics that are wisely appropriated contribute largely to both seriousness and humor of his works, as well as to their contemporaneity.
Gionata Gesi aka Ozmo is an Italian artist born in Pontedera, Pisa, in 1975. He started off by drawing comics in the early 90s but has soon changed his field of interest to writing and painting. Soon afterward, his tag became one of the most famous and respected ones in the Italian graffiti scene. After Ozmo finished the Fine Arts Academy of Florence in 2001, he moved to Milano. The underground scene of graffiti artist grew on him, so together with his friends decided to lay foundations of Italian Street Art. His career started to rise step by step and over the course of time he painted and showcased his artworks in New York, Miami, Chicago, London, Berlin, Sao Paolo, Habana, Beirut and Gdansk, among others.
Ozmo started documenting Italian street art by making photos and comments and collected all the material and decided to publish the book under the title Milan, an alternative guide. At the opening of his first solo show at Galleria Astuni, the book was promoted. That provided additional attention from both art circles and the media and Ozmo started exhibiting at the Italian art fair circuit and showcased in the main galleries of Milan. On that trail, the artist started painting monumental walls in alternative spaces and social centers. That is how mural at social center Leoncavallo came to life.
The works of Ozmo can be read as some form of metaphors or perhaps riddles since he is working with religious icons, various symbols, numbers, tarots or chess and often refers to philosophy. Whether the color pallet is bright and cheerful or simplified and somehow dark, Ozmo masterfully disposes of it depending on the theme or the composition in general. Actually, the whole process of working on a wall or any other two-dimensional surface is well thought and predetermined by a serious research.
After a special reportage by the most famous urban culture underground mag in Italy, which was dedicated to his achievements, Ozmo became known as one of the leading figures in the underground scene in national context. That was followed by his name being published in the famous magazine Flash Art within I nuovissimi Top 100 dopo Cattelan – The newest Top 100 after Cattelan list in 2006 and in the Dizionario della Giovane Arte Italiana – Young Italian Art Dictionary in 2008. The thin line between fine arts and graffiti’s seems to be erased in the case of Ozmo not just because of his engagement and recognition by both institutional and underground frame, but rather because of his authentic iconography and subtly socially engaged practice.
Featured image: OZMO in front of his Untitled mural in San Francisco, 2016, photo credits Jon Sadgilany
All other images courtesy of the artist
|2014||Ozmo||Piaggio Museum, Pontedera, Italy||Solo|
|2014||Tracks – Linguaggi d’arte urbana||Macro Museum, Rome, Italy||Group|
|2014||The Lisa Project||Little Italy, NYC||Group|
|2013||Escape The Golden Cage||Vienna, Austria||Group|
|2013||2501 x Ozmo - Branco e Preto||Tag and Juice Gallery, San Paulo, Brazil||Duo|
|2013||Festival culturale internazionale Seites Sois Seites Luas||Cape Verte||Group|
|2012||Ozmo||Urban Arena Museum of Contemporary Art MACRO, Rome, Italy||Solo|
|2012||Primo Piano d’Artista||Museo del 900, Milan, Italy||Solo|
|2012||Una fine che non finisce di finire||La Rada , Locarno, Switzerland||Group|
|2010||The Last Movie||Gdanska Galeria Miejska 1, Gdansk, Poland||Solo|
|2010||That’s all Folks||Stadshallen, Bruges, Belgium||Group|
|2010||Go get your shine box||Brooklynite Gallery, New York, USA||Group|
|2010||Attention - Border crossing||Padiglione Italiano alla Moscow Young Biennial, Moscow, Russia||Group|
|2009||European festival of monumental painting||Gdansk, Poland||Group|
|2009||Via Brick Lane||Brick Lane Gallery, London, UK||Group|
|2009||In & Out||Fondazione Bandera per l’Arte, Busto Arsizio, Varese, Italy||Group|
|2008||Ozmo||Pure Evil Gallery, London, United Kingdom||Solo|
|2008||Scala Mercalli - Il terremoto creativo della street art italiana||Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome, Italy||Group|
|2008||Pop Up Festival – Arte contemporanea nello spazio urbano||Italy||Group|
|2007||Arte Italiana 1968_2007 - Pittura||Palazzo Reale, Milan, Italy||Group|
|2007||Street Art Sweet Art - Dalla cultura hip hop alla generazione Pop Up||PAC Padiglione di Arte Contemporanea, Milan, Italy||Group|
|2007||Me odio y yo quiero comprar||Galeria Enrique Guerrero, Mexico||Group|
|2006||Senza Famiglia||Palazzo della Promotrice, Torino, Italy||Group|
|2006||L’immagine sottile 01||Galleria Comunale d’Arte Contemporanea, Monfalcone, Italy||Group|
|2005||Ozmo & Abbominevole||Galleria Astuni, Pietrasanta, Italy||Solo|
|2005||Con altri occhi, la città vista dai giovani artisti||Palazzo della Ragione, Milan, Italy||Group|
|2005||Emergency Biennial - A suite case from Paris to Grozny||Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France and various locations at Grozny, Cecenia||Group|
|2002||Gemine Muse||Museo Nazionale di San Matteo, Pisa, Italy||Group|
|1998||II Rassegna Biennale Giovani Artisti Italiani||Palazzo Lanfranchi, Pisa, Italy||Group|
|1998||Writing performance||Fondazione Teseco per l’arte, Pisa , Italy||Group|