HOW DID YOU APPROACH STREET ART AND STICKERS? AT WHAT POINT IN YOUR CAREER DO YOU FEEL NOW?
I approached street art by chance, it was definitely not in my plans. I’ve always been a lover of graffiti and everything related to them, and I’ve always considered that as “street”. I started making my first stickers while I was staying in New York, just for fun, I had stickers printed at home that lasted just over a week. I did a lot of them by hand on “hello my name is” labels, but even in this case the quality was debatable. It all started for fun and continues to be so. I still feel at the beginning, there’s a long road ahead.
WHO IS MERIOONE?
Good question... If I had to answer simply, I would say a “street artist who affixes fishes”, and that is perhaps the description many people would give to this question. But Merioone doesn't like to give a definition of himself, maybe he's just the one who helps the fish “invade” the world, or the fish's dad, who has watched him grow up, pushes him to do more and more, dresses him up, in this case dresses him up in 1000 ways, and always hopes for the best for his son. Joking aside, I like that everyone can give their own explanation of “Who is Merioone” because he really can be many things. I can only tell you that Merioone loves and enjoys what he does, and is still at the beginning of a very long journey.
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THIS ART FORM/MOVEMENT?
Sticker and poster art are definitely niche movements, even though there are so many of us doing it. However, I think they are still too little known, but in my opinion, they have grown so much over the years. There’s much more behind it than just a sticker or piece of paper: there’s a work, a thought, and the action itself carries a world of its own. It’s an art form for everyone, but at the same time for the few.
IN YOUR WORK WE ARE INVADED BY FISH, WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS SUBJECT?
I like it, it makes me disconnect from everything, the idea of travelling and leaving a part of me there. The message behind it’s the concept of “don't sleep” or “it's the early bird that catches the worm”. By placing them in several cities and in large quantities, you can constantly attract and maintain the attention of people, who see them in one city and hope to find them in the next one. I like my subject to be adapted to every city in the world, through references to styles that reflect the traditions of the place I go to. But basically, I do it because I like being on the street and doing this thing on the street.
THE ACT OF DOING IT OR THE FACT OF TAGGING DIFFERENT CITIES AND DIFFERENT PLACES?
I like the action, I like the solo night where it’s just us, me and the “fish”, I also like the daytime in some cities. Personally, I think the beauty of this “invasion” is that not all cities are the same, each one has its own habits and risks, and that’s why I’m constantly changing the way I act. I started this project with the aim of attacking fish everywhere, but I didn’t have a clear purpose. It was a personal mission. I knew nothing about stickers and street art. I started doing it and of course, the more you travel around the world, the more you want to do it. Now the mission is to reach 100 cities. I'm at 78 now, so it's still not a lot. Also because the cities I'm counting are not the ones where I place the sticker, but the ones where I also place the posters. From my point of view, that's an invasion.
A LEGAL OR AN “ILLEGAL” ACTION?
In my opinion, they are two totally different actions and concepts. If we talk about street art, in its true meaning, I talk about an illegal action; in my mind, street art is illegal. But nowadays I see less and less of these actions, and the definition of street art is more associated with commissioned walls or works made on the street, simply place there to attract likes and attention of the social world. That's why I tell you that very often I don't feel like a street artist, and by saying this I don't mean that I am against legality, but simply that it's a different concept. Doing it illegally motivates me, it gives me that adrenaline rush that you only get from a few other things. If I no longer went on the street, I would no longer do this.
WHAT DOES INVASION MEAN TO YOU? OCCUPATION AS BEING PRESENT IN A SPACE OR IS THERE AN AIM/MESSAGE?
The message is already the fact of being present, an invasion to be such, must be noticed. The appropriation of space, but also of the attention of the one who notices the fish is an invasion. I don't have a real message, except that of “DON'T SLEEP”, which takes up an Italian saying about “it's the early bird that catches the worm”, which reflects my way of being and pursuing this project. Do you want something? Go and take it, nobody is giving you anything, or even keeping you “awake” by bombarding you with the same image over and over again.
LITTLE IS KNOWN ABOUT YOUR FACE, DO YOU ACT ANONYMOUSLY WHEN YOU WORK?
Actually, maintaining anonymity while working on the street is very complicated, especially when you do it during the day. It happened that I met people who knew the fish, so they immediately understood. Let's say that from this point of view, I’ve now legitimized this idea. Then I’ve taken part in projects with children in hospitals and on those occasions, I could be seen. In general, I try to be as reserved as possible, but sometimes it becomes difficult.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE IN HOSPITALS?
A beautiful experience. Bringing a smile to these children was magical. It was like taking them away even for a while from reality. We may not have solved their problems, but sometimes even a small gesture can mean a lot. Obviously, these are strong experiences that stay with you, in so many ways.
by RA / RC
for Dare Clan