Home ItalyCentral ItalyLazioGaeta Street Art at the beach: Memorie Urbane festival in Fondi and in Formia

Street Art at the beach: Memorie Urbane festival in Fondi and in Formia

I already brought you to Gaeta to hunt the many murals created for the Memorie Urbane festival, first on my 30th birthday in 2014 and then again in 2018 when I documented the making of Jaune’s street art intervention at Gaeta’s waste collection center

The Memorie Urbane Festival began in 2011 in Gaeta and has since then brought to the seaside city hundreds of acclaimed street artists, many of whom had their first experience in Italy. Their street art interventions are scattered around 13 villages along the most beautiful stretch of coastline in Lazio, so this time I drove past Gaeta and headed to Fondi and Formia to keep up with my Memorie Urbane street art hunt, eventually ending the day with a well-deserved swim. 

The Memorie Urbane Festival arrived in Fondi in 2014 and it reached Formia’s beach in 2016. Since then, some murals are gone and many more have faded, but most are still there: let’s go find them!

Memorie Urbane street art festival in Fondi

Martin Whatson (NO)

Via San Bartolomeo, Fondi

Martin Whatson street art in Fondi

We parked right in front of Martin Whatson’s mural, which was painted in 2014. Using his trademark combination of a monochromatic stencil figure and vibrant colors, the Norwegian stencil artist depicted a street art photographer – and nothing could have felt more appropriate to kick off our hunt!

Etnik (IT)

Via Appia Lato Roma, Fondi

Etnik street art in Fondi

In that same year, Italian artist Etnik painted one of his abstract compositions that brings solid geometry into graffiti. Etnik has been active in the Italian graffiti scene since the 1990s. Through large-scale murals, he now transforms his letters into floating abstract landscapes, 3D urban constructions that represent the complex texture of a city. 

Pichiavo (ES) 

Via Appia Lato Roma, Fondi

Pichiavo street art in Fondi

On the opposite side of the same building, the Spanish duo Pichiavo painted one of their iconic compositions juxtaposing classical art and graffiti. Painted in 2015, this piece made me take a leap into the past when their “Urban mythology” style was just a prototype of the explosion of colors and graffiti that is nowadays. 

1010 (D)

Piazza Domenico Purificato, Fondi

1010 street art in Fondi

1010’s abstract art is based on optical illusions: his enigmatic holes are portals into a dark abyss, an unknown dimension of our urban landscapes. I enjoy spotting them all around the world, playing with the idea that these doors, which open on different walls around different cities, all eventually lead to the same place.

Strok (NO) x Bosoletti (AR) 

Piazza Domenico Purificato, Fondi

Strok Bosoletti street art in Fondi

On that same square, there’s yet another piece challenging the architectonic perception of Fondi’s public library: a collaborative mural by Strok and Bosoletti. While Strok stenciled his trademark surreal figures casting long shadows, the Argentinian Bosoletti, who painted these long, antigravity shadows, did something completely unusual for his figurative production. 

INO (GR)

Via Filippo Turati, Fondi

INO street art in Fondi

On a wall of Liceo Gobetti, we find a mural representing the old style of Greek artist INO who, back in 2015, was still strongly influenced by Greek mythology and the classical art representing his country. 

Levalet (FR)

Via Tommaso d’Aquino, Fondi

Levalet street art in Fondi

French artist Levalet left a small piece on a wooden door on Via Tommaso d’Aquino. Titled “Introspection,” it depicts a man walking into the (actual) old door. I’ve always appreciated how this artist can create a really poetic piece through the simple interaction of a character with the surrounding environment.  

Alias (G) 

Via Tommaso d’Aquino, Fondi

Alias Street art Fondi

On that same street, German artist Alias stenciled a couple of his figures evoking intimate scenarios always full of emotions. Like Levalet’s, they also take advantage of their urban location, getting a new dimension from a deliberately chosen set and setting. 

Alias Street art Fondi

Sav45 (RU)

Via Tommaso d’Aquino, Fondi

Sav45 street art in Fondi

Last one to be spotted on Via Tommaso d’Aquino is a countenance by Russian artist Sav45, whose subjects are always painted with a kinetic energy coming from long lines that look like sketches.  

Street art in Fondi
Via San Tommaso d’Aquino, Fondi

Louis Masai (UK)

Via Santorre di Santarosa and Via San Sebastiano, Fondi

Louis Masai street art in Fondi

Invited to Fondi in 2016, English artist Louis Masai painted three pieces depicting a bee, a monkey, and the barrier reef. His murals always focus on the unbalanced relationship between men and nature, often depicting endangered species with his trademark colorful pattern. 

Louis Masai street art in Fondi

Sepe x Chazme (PL)

Via Lazio, Fondi

Sepe Chazme street art in Fondi

A 2016 collaboration by two great Polish artists brought to this stunning mural titled “The Trial of Joseph K.,” a clear reference to Kafka’s book in which Joseph K. is arrested and processed for mysterious reasons. The protagonist, represented by Sepe as a sad and melancholic figure, is surmounted by utopist architectures painted by Chazme

108 (IT) 

Via Arnaldo Fusinato, Fondi

108 street art in Fondi

In 2017, Italian artist 108 painted four abstract pieces on the sides of an electricity tower. Inspired by last century’s vanguards, 108 is one of the first post-graffiti artists in Italy. His work is obscure and intentionally ‘hard to get’, since the artist is not interested in simple messages that oversimplify art. 

Andrew Hem (USA)

Via Lazio, Fondi

Andrew Hem street art in Fondi

The opposite is true for Andrew Hem, who deliberately intended to paint something so iconographic to be understood by everybody, hence a personal representation of the Virgin Mary in his characteristic cold tones and rarefied style. 

Koctel (ES)

Via Stazione, Fondi

Koctel street art in Fondi

A long wall recalling comics was done in 2018 by Koctel, who painted tropical fruits that come together into figures to become the protagonists of the mural. Vivid colors and summer vibes to celebrate the nearby sea. 

Millo (IT)

Via Stazione, Fondi

Millo street art in Fondi

Just around the corner, I found an old piece by Millo, which witnesses the evolution of his style. Back in 2014, Millo was still painting only in black and white, the outline of his characters was less neat and the main scene was a relatively simple narrative, while the urban landscape in the background hasn’t changed as much.

Naf / Mk (IT)

Piazza Felice Cusano, Fondi

Naf / Mk street art in Fondi

In 2018, Memorie Urbane promoted a series of murals to celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25th), and the piece painted by Naf / Mk on Piazza Felice Cusano is part of this project. 

Draw (PT)

Via Falanga, Fondi

Draw street art in Fondi

This diptych by Frederico Draw also marks the November 25th occasion. These two ordinary women show Draw’s characteristic style, which recalls charcoal sketches – rapid and precise lines through which he creates vivid faces full of expressions, thanks to the intense energy coming from the subject’s eyes, the details on which the artist always focuses his attention. 

Draw street art in Fondi

Sema Lao (FR)

Via Gobetti, Fondi

Sema Lao street art in Fondi

Yet another mural made on the recurrence of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Here, French artist Sema Lao realized one of her multi-colored portraits, where the many dripping colors determined embossments and thus gave volume to the subject. 

Alaniz (AR)

Via Ferrari, Fondi

Alaniz street art in Fondi

Finally, this tribute to all women who have been harassed was painted by Argentinian artist Alaniz in 2017. I find this piece very different from the rough and energetic creations he usually does on the walls of Berlin, often with custom extension poles and black paint, although Alaniz has stayed true to his main goal of giving voices to marginalized people through his art. 

Nafir (IR)

Via San Tommaso d’Aquino, Fondi

Nafir street art in Fondi

The mural by Iranian artist Nafir might have gone away, but his iconic stencil of the kid with crossed eyes is still up in different spots throughout Fondi. Through his stencils (which are illegal in his home country), Nafir targets social injustice. A common theme in Nafir’s work is children and their imagination and desires – in this case, neglected children that the dominant neoliberal society has made invisible. 

Snik (UK)

Piazza Felice Cusano, Fondi

Snik street art in Fondi

Likewise, while the large-scale mural by the English duo Snik has long gone, some little stencil interventions are still up in the streets of Fondi. I spotted this one showing two falling girls, a recurring theme in Snik’s production, which focuses on capturing motion through hand-cut, intricate stencils. 

Snik street art in Fondi

Wasp Elder (UK)

Via Lazio, Fondi

Wasp Elder street art in Fondi

This mural by Wasp Elder is an abstract composition painted with photorealistic techniques, which gives it a surreal final effect. The scene, which is built as a collage, is somehow obscure: as pieces of animals and humans come together on a wavy sea, the viewer cannot be sure of what’s happening in it. 

Memorie Urbane street art festival in Formia

A 30-minute drive later, we were at the beach in the beautiful Formia. But before jumping into the water, we had a few more murals to catch ;) 

Nelio (FR)

Parking in Piazzale Aldo Moro, Formia

Nelio street art in Formia

In 2016, abstract street artist Nelio brought his geometric structural logic to a parking space in Formia. A composition of different shapes and colors where the sense of depth isn’t a simple effect, but an actual staircase that is transformed by the visual language of one of France’s leading post-graffiti artists. 

Hyuro (AR) 

Parking in Piazzale Paone, Formia

Hyuro street art in Formia

Celebrating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, this piece by Hyuro unfortunately is almost gone. The fading colors, however, somehow enhance the artist’s sensibility, which is often directed to those who suffer under patriarchal and capitalist systems. 

Chazme (PL)

Via Abbate Tosti, Formia

Chazme street art in Formia

This massive piece by Chazme reveals his education in Architecture. Inspired by De Chirico and Rome’s neighborhood E.U.R., “Silence in E.U.R.” is a dystopian composition that transforms the building facade into a massive metropolis in which we can spot the repetition of geometrical and architectural elements from the surroundings. For Chazme, in fact, it’s always very important to make the place he visits an integral part of the wall he paints. 

Dale Grimshaw (UK)

Via Cassio, Formia

Dale Grimshaw street art in Formia

Dale Grimshaw’s colorful images of indigenous people invoke a powerful feeling that touches viewers in a strong and passionate way. To highlight the colonial and brutal occupation of West Papua by Indonesians, Dale uses a lot of imagery from Papua Nuova Guinea juxtaposed to symbols of opposing cultural ideas; in this case the graffiti throw-ups, which give to his vibrant characters an otherworldly feel. 

Fanakapan (UK)

Via Vindicio, Formia

Fanakapan street art in Formia

Known for creating 3D artworks based on helium foil balloon-based subjects, English artist Fanakapan has been studying the shadows and reflective highlights of his balloons since 2010. He visited Formia in 2017, and although all the main elements of his visual imagery are already there, it’s very interesting to compare this mural on the Formia coastline with the works he produces today. 

Formia sea
Swimming in Formia

The Usual Prologue: Enjoying the view, and the mozzarella, at Ristoro Arenauta

You should know by now that my usual ending of a day spent at Memorie Urbane festival is a pit-stop at the panoramic terrace of Ristoro Arenauta for a juicy caprese salad and a cold beer. I love this place: the view is breathtaking, the air is chill, and the mozzarella is simply amazing. Trust me when I say that your Memorie Urbane street art hunt wouldn’t be complete without it! 

Ristoro Arenauta mozzarella Gaeta

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street art in Fondi Italy

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