On this edition of Meeting Point, we meet up with Cape Town based, Melissa Cucci. The founder of IPAF and chairwoman of BAZ-ART NGO.
A strongly driven woman that has always dreamed of actively inspiring modern societies through street art.
– Hello Melissa, please introduce yourself to us.
Melissa Cucci, founder of IPAF (International Public Art Festival) and chairwoman of BAZ-ART NGO. I grew up in Brussels, Belgium, For many reasons, such as lifestyle and quality of human exchange, I moved to South Africa in 2013. Since then life has a taste of happiness and gratitude.
– What is street art for you? What impact has it had in your life?
Art speaks where words are unable to explain. Street art speaks everybody’s languages, doesn’t matter your culture, background or knowledge. It impacted my life from my young age, where I grew up, public art and specially murals painting are all round. My first interaction with the power of street art, I was 10 years old. Some squatters occupied a building opposite mine, a fire broke out and several others lost their lives. A person on fire jumped from the 4th floor. This event was dramatic for our neighborhood. A few days after the fire, more than 100 people gathered to celebrate a memorial to the people who lost their lives. A party filled with colors, love and music took place. As a result, several meters of the street were painted. this event to mark my interest in public art forever.
– What made you start getting involved with street art related activities?
Most definitely creating IPAF and BAZ-ART NGO. The impact IPAF has on the communities, the public and artists involved in the projects. Bringing people together, giving the opportunity to South African artists to meet and work with International artists.
With BAZ-ART, we are putting in place a support system for South african street artists to help them be sustainable and make a decent living out of their art. From finding commissions jobs to negotiating with the clients and managing logistics. We trying to make their life easier and help them to focus on the creative process only.
– Which street artists do you admire most and why?
ROA will always be my number one, not because he is from Belgium 🙂 I admire the way he sees the world and translate his vision to such powerful monochrome Art pieces.
MAYE his sensitivity and his intense attention to details. Each time you look at Maye’s painting you discover news details that you ever seen before, it’s a new story each time. His world reminds me of my childhood imaginary world.
INTI, the raw truth of these characters is transcribed with so much poetry that it can treat all subjects even the most sensitive. His way to use the colors and layers technique blows my mind with its deepness.
They speak to my soul each time I look at their piece, isn’t what Art supposed to do ?
– Street art in the last few years has had a big impact on society, a lot of artists being in the spotlight and trying to make a carrier out of it. What do you think about this evolution?
This evolution is very organic and at the end of the day evolves as every art movement in the past. I believe that a lot of artists realizes the importance of making it count and speaks up for the weak ones. This art movement is all about sharing and making people’s life more colorful. Colors fill up hearts with kindness. When it comes to making a carrier out of it, it belongs to them if they feel comfortable to bring their street skills with all the culture who goes with to a professional level and sometimes paints with less meaning behind. For some it’s a dream that comes true.
– Which cities do you think have the biggest activity and influence in the global street art scene?
Let’s mention a continent instead, South American is the spirit of street art. South America its a vast continent with diverse culture, beliefs and traditions and for some countries a Political instability. But if one medium is common among all of them is street art.
A lot of artists are speaking up their country with street art as medium and that shall influence the
street art scene.
– What is the biggest challenge when organising a festival?
The biggest challenge we face every year with IPAF Cape town. Firstly, creating a team of artists with the same spirit and approach to life that will assure good vibes and magic will come out. The second challenge, IPAF is a festival where we paint with and for a community. We put a point of honor every year to find the right fit between the house owner and the artist. That process can take time and delay the start of the wall. And third one and most important, the budget. Such an event costs a lot of money. Each year our challenge it’s to reduce the costs to zero. One day, we’ll get there. Otherwise, logistics and marketing after four IPAF, the team got this 😉
– Do you remember any occasion in which something went horribly wrong?
Of course I do 🙂
It’s always the most horrible situation at the moment but when you look but it’s a part of the game. Let’s just enjoy the ride!
– Do you have a wild project that you dream of achieving some day?
From Cape to Cairo, a train full of graffiti artists, pick up some more on the way … Let’s bomb the train car and stations along the way! It would be a crazy impossible dream come true if I put that project together with a train
– What are your plans for the future?
Never stop having fun .
-Is there a specific thought or message you would like to pass to our audience out there?
Let’s be kids as long as we can …
Thank you Melissa! It’s been great to get to know more about the person behind such great projects. We wish you the best of luck!
‘’I Support Street Art’’ team.
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