Alo is an artist whose work on the streets is fuelled by his love of expressionism. The result, a blend of styles. Street art fusing with the influences from his favoured genre. Alo the Artist is leading the way in his own brand of urban expressionism.
We are meeting close to his latest mural. A big piece by Alo’s standards in East London. The subject matter, like much of his work, has been influenced by people he’s either seen or met. Many of his works are portraiture based. Sometimes they might be loosely based on an individual. However more often than not, they can be seen as an amalgamation of people.
ALO Street Art in London
His piece, just off Hackney Road, shows an African woman with a bright multi coloured headdress and robe. The woman is a representation of many he met whilst living in Paris for a year back in 2017. Drawn to colours, their contrast and their interplay with each other. He found himself inspired by the clothing and styles of the women he would see and interact with in his neighbourhood.
Alo as an artist has always been an obsessive painter. Since moving to London back in 2013 he started painting everywhere. Always without permission he just painted and painted in any space he could find. That is still the case now though he spends much more time in the studio. His latest exhibition at BSMT Space in London showcases much of the work he’s created over the years but never shown. This is work he’s been obsessively creating and not wanting to show unless the right opportunity came. The result will be a kind of retrospective on his recent years in a gallery known for it’s focus and passion for supporting urban art.
Interview with Italian Street Artist ALO
Street Art Obsession
Obsession is the word Alo uses when describing his art. It’s important to have an obsession he tells me. Something that when you get up in the morning you just think about. It is something that drove him to move to London in the first place and to just put his work out there. “I knew that London would allow me to develop my style” he says of the move. “It was just a feeling, like intuition”. It’s a strategy that would lead to wide recognition and two solo shows at the Saatchi Gallery.
Using mainly brushes, acrylics and markers he has forged his own style. Now starting to go a little bigger on the street it’s brought it’s own challenges. As an artist, Alo doesn’t use spray paint which is the preferred medium for many street artists especially when going big. His latest work on Ravenscroft Street in Hackney is one of his biggest to date. It’s something he’s hoping to do more of by finding similar walls.
Alo has been described as an urban expressionist. Looking at his style you can see why. “My roots are in the street” he says. Though from an artistic point of view his influences have always drawn more from the likes of Picasso and Matisse. “My connections are a bit different to what is usually linked to street art”. It’s a different approach he says that probably helped in terms of the initial curiosity about his work.
His exhibition at BSMT Space has been long awaited. Set amidst a difficult time with restrictions from the pandemic still in place. It is nonetheless something that has been well anticipated. It still poses challenges of course for both artist and gallery. Though as Alo says “If you keep getting into a position of postponing everything, then you don’t do anything”. He’s right of course and this promises to be a high quality show.
ALO was interviewed on 6 September 2020 at his latest wall on Ravenscroft Street in Hackney. His show ‘Grace‘ opens at BSMT Space on 15 October 2020.