Bestial Street art: art walking with imagination and childrens, the interview with the creators of The Best (iarium)

Banner web - BESTiarium 28 febbraioHippogriff, have you ever believed? The winged horse crossing with a unicorn! … Maybe … but it’s been too long and you can not remember. How many times in our children we have created imaginary monsters, animals and imaginative characters often half man and animal … To rediscover the joy of “flying with the imagination” and create fantastic beings as it was in medieval times, but now in a contemporary version, It was made possible by Omino71 and Stefano Cristi with The Best (iarium)project.

Already it reported, the event concludes Sunday, February 28. Up to 20.30 you can see the exhibition, and 17.00 is the last live meeting with the children and the artists who participated in the project and to look the “Piccolo Manuale di Zoologia Fantastica” by the reading of Alessandro Pieravanti (narrator of “Il Muro del Canto”) and Eric Caldironi (guitarist of “Il Muro del Canto”).

The idea was to create a bestiary – small encyclopedias born with Physiologist (Physiologus), a short pamphlet in greek probably written in Alexandria between the late second and early third century AD, and return in circulation in the Middle Ages where it appeared descriptions and interpretations of real and imaginary animals, belonging to the holy scriptures, but also inspired by examples of common or very rare animals – playing with street art, making dialogue artists from different country with the talent and creativity of children in a series of educational workshops.
To tell with the creators of the project

How did the idea of The Best (iarium)?

Omino71: when Stefano comes to visit from Barcelona always fills me with gifts, often books: the second to last “Munari” was a text on creativity, the last of the “zoology manual of Borges”. From the sum of the two it was born the idea of The Best (iarium), this project that starts from reading a book, passes through a collective game to get to the writing of another book, which is not only the closure of a circle but an invitation to repeat this exercise to ‘infinite, where reading, writing, drawing and painting mingle involving large and small, all together, like an animal with multiple heads and hands, a beast of The Best (iarium) precisely.

Stefano: Every time I come to Rome, Omino71 fills me with gifts, but especially of ideas, of words, of paradoxes, critical positions on virtually every topic. To try to stem it and to speak my mind, I bring the books. The project was born out of a discussion on the book by Borges and that of Munari.

What convinced you that the project could be realized?

Omino71: I do not know if I’m still not convinced … that we have already achieved?

Stefano: what drives us to do things, to embark on a project is undoubtedly the recklessness and a whole childlike enthusiasm. That this project can be considered accomplished, I agree with Omino71: the idea of The Best (iarium) is that it can continue, repeat, give birth, that children can propose it again at home, and teach new animals to their parents. In short, we hope that you never realized at all!

Because you have thought of involving the Zoological Museum and laboratory work?

Omino71: for curating the exhibition we relied on Mirko Pierri of a.DNA Project, then this question should be done to him. However I can tell you that they had different locations with which we were dealing with, we wanted a home “institution” where to bring the works of our children and of our artist friends and it was one of these, Stephen Bolcato, who suggested the Civic Museum of Zoology and from that moment it seemed like the only possible venue, this being a project of children and animals, and even artists. So we showed up with nothing but our idea, asking if we could have the room available, and thanks to the enthusiasm of Carla Marangoni, head of Communication and Events, as well as zoologist of the museum, we did it … despite usual difficulties that our country reserves whenever someone proposes something “strange”.

Stefano: I living in Barcelona, so I did not take part in the organizational process of the project. I can only say that the choice of the zoology museum was definitely a good choice.

How did you select the children?

Omino71: you have selected yourself not that we have to look for them, but they came soon it became known that they were looking for new worlds inventors (smile).

That is, it all started in a spontaneous way: Paul Teaching Point had asked me to organize a workshop to him, in an independent bookstore in Ostia, then we experienced the laboratory-game with the first 10 children recruited by word of mouth of the library and after the first date we have added two more, for a total of 31 children, thanks to the collaboration of Valentina who found a second home in the Testaccio district. The only condition that we asked was the age of the participants: they had to be able to read a text, but not too structured to be self-censor, so we limited ourselves to the children in primary school age, but we believe it can be experienced even in other age groups, just like lego.

Stefano: Also in this case I was a spectator from a far and have not taken part in the workshops. I say that I have only worked on children’s drawings and I was really amazed by their creativity and imagination.

How long did it take you to make the project take shape?

Omino71: we started in May (2015) with the first laboratory and January 17 of the year after we opened the doors to the public: in this almost year we had three workshops, created along with 31 children 31 new fantastic animals, painted 31 with 31 works artists from around the world, written 31 stories (stefano), put it all together in a manual (published by Lantana Publisher) and set up an exhibition.

Stefano: Yes, about a year. I have to say it was crucial the coordination effort by Omino71 to hold together all subjects. But they were all very active: tempodieventi, Puntoscuola, a.DNA Project.

How long it is used for the realization?

Omino71: I think I’ve already mentioned the answer in the previous question. As for crowdfunding, this was an entirely self-produced project, every expense was supported equally by me along with Adna Project, School and point. But the money was not enough especially to produce the manual (which we have taken care of at home is the edition, thanks to Sonia for Adna, and that the press is not a pamphlet, but an illustrated 140-page book), so we asked a hand to friends who have supported us with financing for about a third of the total investment. For us it was important, it allowed us to deal with more serenity all the expenses as are added during production, then at the end you have also added two partners and I believe that together we were able to provide everything that you could expect from an event like this, do not even look like something self-generated.

Stefano: I pretty much wrote all the stories on the train, in the 50 minutes that I needed to go to the seaside village where I live, up to Barcelona. Then 50 minutes to 31 stories, then a second and a third draft for each story, then the merciless review of my wife, the latest fixes. In short, a bit.

What has left you, as human capital, this project?

Omino71: confirmation that you can do everything, wanting and very patiently.

Stefano: a lot of joy, a lot of laughter, a book, a lot of doodles, the pleasure of meeting people worth knowing.

Similar projects for future?

Omino71: the last collective event dates back to 5 years ago and I think it will be at least another 5, do not want to become a product of an event that I have produced, as I said almost 10 years ago a colleague more skilled and famous artist of me.

Stefano: my laziness is proverbial, but you never know. Maybe a friend calls me …


Stefano Cristi
Degree in art history, and currently lives in Barcelona where he worked on the production and promotion of cultural events in to the visual arts and music. He works as an author and translator with magazines such as Sur of Minimum Fax, Succede Oggi, Archivio Bolano.

The street artist was born in 1971 in Rome, where he lives, works and incites. Since the late nineties omino71 spreads his idea of artpop(ular) art between superheroes, saints, toys and children in a “mash up” with definitely saturated hues. In his production he alternated street art interventions (murals, posters and stickers) with neopop exhibitions, participating in hundreds of solo and group expo in all the world. Restless from birth, omino71 was also the author and editor of collective projects, including “StickMyWorld”, “Vinyl Factory,” “Versus2009”, “20keiTH”, “Suburban”, “eikonprOJeKt”, “RomaStreetFood” and “THE BEST(iarium)”, with numerous collaborations national and international. In recent years omino71 was invited to create site-specific installations by some institutions such as the M.A.C.RO. Pelanda (Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome), the House of Architecture in Rome (Acquario Romano) and the Teatro Palladium in Rome, without abandoning the self-managed spaces such as the M.A.A.M./Metropoliz and the Volturno Occupato. In 2012 he was selected by the Italian Institute of Culture in Rio de Janeiro to represent Italy in the project Memento Italy-Brasil.


Museo Civico di Zoologia
Via Ulisse Aldrovandi, 18
00197 Roma


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