Alessio Trerotoli is an Italian photographer based in Rome. With his series “Urban Melodies” he creates, by superimposing different pictures, an abstract representation of urban landscapes and contemporary life from modern metropolises like Rome, New York, Paris, Berlin and many others. By juxtaposing these different images, his aim is to show a usual image in a different way, where everything is duplicated, the lights and the structures multiply and build a new vision of urban life.
How did you become an artist? Did you always dream of a life in the art-world?
I always had a passion for photography. There is a moment I can’t forget: when I was 10 years old I was showing to my grandmother photos of a little excursion I made with school in a place not far from Rome. My album was full of pictures of my schoolmates and my grandma told me: “But where are you?”. In that moment I realized that there wasn’t a picture of me in the entire album because I always was behind the camera. It was the first time I saw myself like a photographer. Later, After my graduation I began to travel by myself. In Europe, then in United States and in South America. In that moment I didn’t know to be a photographer, actually I didn’t know who I was. But my camera was with me, and walking through the streets and the alleys of Paris I suddenly found an huge inspiration, an inspiration that followed me in every city I visited since that moment. I didn’t choose to photograph, it just happened something in me that told me to do it.
Traffic Jam, New York by Alessio Trerotoli
How has your education helped your career?
I’m lucky because my generation maybe was the last one to grow up on the street, playing with other children in the alleys and in the streets of the city all day long. When I was a child I spent all my days playing football in the street and enjoying life outside my house: I’m sure that this way to grow up influenced a lot my life and therefore my work.
Do you work as an artist full-time? Describe your typical day. Do you have a routine?
More or less. I usually wake up at 9am. After breakfast I sit in my “office” (my room) and I turn on my computer. I spend all my morning working on my pictures, responding emails, updating my social networks. At 1.30pm I eat and then I stay two more hours in front of my computer, reading blogs, watching pictures and finishing my work. Then I go out (often with my camera), walking through my city, meeting friends or looking for new ideas and inspiration. At night I use to watch a movie, read a book or have a drink in a bar. At 2am I go to sleep.
Which historical and contemporary artists do you refer to most often? How are you influenced by their work? What are the other influences on your work?
I’ve always admired photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Doisneau, and I also love Margaret Bourke-White and Vivian Maier. But not only photographers. Movies, songs and books are my daily food. I find inspiration in music, books, movies, people around me. My personal heroes are Bruce Springsteen and Antoine Doinel (the protagonist of many of François Truffaut’s movies). Movies like “Boyhood” or “The Tree of Life” or “Les 400 coups” fill my soul of love for the art, inspiration and motivation for my work.
What was the last exhibition you visited?
Last month I visited an exhibition with pictures from the Second World War.
What are your experiences of the ‘art-world’ and the business of art?
I had some exhibitions in art galleries but I think that people are the best experience in the art-world. A lot of people write to me on my Facebook page or by email to tell me how much my work inspires them or touches them. This is the best satisfaction for me, more than an exhibition in a gallery or a feature in a magazine. I love read comments and reactions, they really are my engine. I do art, in some way, but I think that it’s the people who produce emotions, not me.
Do you have any tips or advice you wish you had known earlier in your career?
I have a story about it: in 2010, during one of my travels in Paris, I was talking with a friend of mine on a bench, not far from the Centre Pompidou. I was talking about my life, if I had to follow my dreams and go on trying to do my art, or if I had to turn my life in a surer existence, with a “normal” work, a fixed salary, summer vacations and something like this. Suddenly I saw some writing under the bench, that writing was in Italian (!) and said: “La vita è una sola, vivila come tu vuoi” (“Life is once, live it as you want”). I know, maybe it’s banal and not so original, but in that moment something changed in my mind. I never forgot this advice and that moment was really important for my career: good things happen to those who wait, so don’t be discouraged if results are hard to reach. If this is your real passion it means that you only need more time.
Do you or would you use assistants to make your work?
Nope. I work on my own.
Do you use social networks? if so, how and which ones do you find most useful?
Yes, my girlfriend says that I use them too much! Well, in order to show my work I have an account in a lot of social networks. I think each is useful for some reasons, but Facebook is definitely the social network where I post more things.
Which artist should we all look up immediately? What art magazines, blogs or sites should art lovers be looking at?
I really like two Chilean photographers, Rosario Oddo and Felipe Rubilar: they realize, in my opinion, something great. Iranian artist Ehsan Mehrbakhsh is one of my favourite illustrators, his work really mesmerises me and I really can’t understand why he’s not the most famous illustrator in the world. I like lot of art websites, Lens Culture is surely one of my favorites.
Finish this limerick: There once was an artist from…
…Rome, that tried to see the world in a different way…
Thanks for your time Alessio!