QUARANTINED ARTISTS: GEP

What is an artist’s quarantine like? Today we ask someone who started from street art and who has been able to invent a particular style of writing, turning his own tag into a unique and unmistakable calligraphy. Gep, who in the past has also decorated the showcases of the Duomo in Milan with his precious lettering, has been the 2017 Bullfrog Artist and today it’s him who’s going to be interviewed.

What is your typical quarantine day?
Having three children of six, ten and twelve years old home, you can only imagine the way I changed my habits, stuck between homework and video-lectures. Stuff to do home is not missing, especially when it comes to the youngest. Of course, I don’t deny that now I can wake up a little later than usual and for the rest of the day, I try to devote myself to my art. I take refuge in my atelier, which is downstairs. All I need is a flight of stairs and I’m ready to work.
Before the quarantine, I was running a calligraphy workshop and we were almost halfway through the class. In order to go on with the seventeen people who were following me, I looked for the way to proceed remotely, so now I also make video tutorials. Of course, it’s not the same thing as live, but you can’t do it differently. After all, we really have plenty of time now, so why throw it away?
In short, the days more or less pass like this, between Netflix and Disney +, between a video call and an Instagram live. Social media help us a lot, now more than ever. Without the internet, it would have been really hard! I even opened a Tik Tok profile – he confesses me laughing – No dancing, but only 20 seconds while I write. I was impressed with the success it is having!

What are your sources of inspiration now?
Let’s say that first there was little inspiration, as if I had been stuck in a limbo of “what will happen to us”. In this moment when perhaps we can see a thread of light, we feel stimulated again and therefore we have a little more desire to do things, don’t we? The beginning was truly tragic; just think of the news, the images you could see, which I tried to avoid immediately, trying not to worry even more. Now that luckily it seems to get better, I’m starting to feel a little more reassured about what the future will be.
All this inspired me for a new job. I have collected all the emotions of this quarantine in a work in which I wrote words that occurred me on the spot. A lot of free style, it expresses both positive and negative angles, but above all it looks to the future, which is why it is called Future of Ours.

How did quarantine affect your work?
I also work with Molotw, a sprayer and marker company, things I’ve dealt with since I was a kid. Since the beginning of March, we have also closed there and, therefore, from daily commuting, it has become all about standing still. For the rest, except for a couple jobs that I had before, there was nothing else to do, everything still.
Today, on the other hand, I received a phone call for a work, which will take place at the end of June on a wall in Ponte Tresa, near the Swiss border. Of course, we shall see if it will be possible to do it because of all this situation, but obviously as we go towards a rebirth, we begin to move on with more work.
Meanwhile, I keep making pieces that could be shared on social media or that in the future might be used, perhaps for an exhibition. Besides, when you make art, you don’t do it quite for money. It is something intimate of the artist, who creates the work to express something personal.

Is there an art form that you rediscovered during the quarantine?
Not really an art form. We watched a lot of Star Wars! My son is an avid fan and I must say that I like it very much too.
And let’s talk about the old pictures: maybe that’s the thing that I really rediscovered. Twenty-year-old photos found around or sent by friends. I was completely different, without a beard, with long hair. It’s fun to send them to someone who has known you most recently and make them guess who you are in a group of four or five people.

What is the first thing you will do as soon as the quarantine is over?
Viola and Stella, my daughters, do competitive skating and I support them a lot. What I’d love, which alas will not happen soon, is to take them to their training. It has always been a good time, we are a nice close-knit group, both team and parents.
Then definitely, a nice walk with my family and my dog, enjoying the moment with no worries.
And, finally, I’d love to do a nice job on a wall.

What is your relationship with Bullfrog products?
What I have certainly used for the longest time and which I have now tragically finished is Agnostico, which makes my beard wonderful, soft and fragrant.
Then I think of the Beard-washing Exfoliating Paste or Oliocento: the beard cured with those products is just another thing and you can actually tell. You see it just less frizzy, less dry
And finally I can’t help but mentioning my perfume: Secret Potion N. 1, which I would always wear, even if my daughter doesn’t like it much.
“Who doesn’t?” I hear the voice of a little girl on the phone in the background.
“You!” Gep answers Viola laughing.