Profile Of Two Florentine Street Artists

Though I see numerous signs proclaiming street art illegal in Florence, I've seen a ton of it. And, I've seen some pretty funny, creative pieces during my wanders around Florence. Two artists in particular stand out when I'm walking Florence's winding streets, particularly on the southern side of the Arno: Blub and Clet Abraham.

I love being caught by surprise when I turn a corner and see a street sign or utility cover with a sneaky piece of artwork by Abraham or Blub, respectively.

 

Blub

Spotted along utility covers throughout Florence, these colorful, small works of art take a famous piece of artwork or person and change the setting so they are underwater. Around Florence you'll see images of the David and Girl with the Pearl Earring, both underwater wearing masks. I've even spotted the Mona Lisa and the Buddha going for a swim in Blub's stick-ups.

As far as I can tell, Blub is an anonymous artist who seeks to make art visible to all. Blub's Instagram has the tagline, "Art Can Swim" and shows fun projects throughout the city.

You can find some of Blub's work for sale at the Carla Bruttini Gallery (called the Dhai Studio) on Via di S. Niccolò, 44, 50125 Firenze FI. Here you'll find originals (very expensive) plus prints and postcards. You'll also find work by Carla Bruttini, including pieces I really enjoy that focus on being proud you are a woman.

 

Clet Abraham

I've actually started seeing signs by Clet Abraham several years ago when traveling around Europe, but when walking the streets of Florence, it is hard to enjoy a few days here without seeing a modified sign. If you've not seen his work, Abraham modifies street signs with stickers and turns them into a controversial, and sometimes comical, reflection on today's civilization, laws, and government.

Abraham's studio is relatively near the Dhai Studio in the San Niccolo district on Via Dell’Olmo 8r. At Abraham's studio you can find post cards, prints, and t-shirts of his work. Around this area too, you'll see numerous examples of his signs featuring sumo wrestlers, stick figure men, and even prima-donna musicians destroying their instruments. Personally, I'm a fan of the sumo wrestler, because who doesn't like a butt view?

If you want to read more about street artists in Florence, Girl in Florence has a street artist guide and Art Trav has an interview with Clet Abraham that is really interesting, albeit focuses on an installation that is no longer present.

Have you seen any of Clet Abrahams or Blub's work in Florence or elsewhere around the world? Should street art be legal or illegal ... or is there some kind of grey zone?