Fittingly for a city that, in the fourteenth century, played such a key role in the emergence of fresco painting, Padua is a place where Street Art has deep and extensive roots. Nowadays many walls, including those of such prestigious institutions as the Paediatric Onco-Hematology Clinic at the Hospital, are decorated with works by important street artists who are well-known at an international level.
Street Art in Padua began in the 1980s, when Italy saw the arrival of Hip-Hop, skateboarding, Rap music, breakdancing and the accompanying graffiti work.
It was in the 1980s that one saw the first tags on trains and city walls, the letters and initials being developed in ever more complex combinations of colours and graphics. The early 1990s saw the emergence of street art crews – such has EAD (Esquela Antigua Disciples) –members of which included figures whose reputation as street artists would expand beyond Italy: Boogie (one the founders of EAD), Axe, Joys, Made514, Peeta, Onion – all of whom had been born around the middle of the 1970s
A source of controversy even within Paduan artistic circles, Street Art nevertheless was increasingly appreciated for what it was, and over the years those who had initially been seen as just producing nothing but ‘grafitti’ – or even ‘vandalism’ – were the focus of exhibitions within galleries themselves. The poetic art of Kenny Random, the mixture of dream and reality in the images produced by Tony Gallo, Alessio B’s nostalgia-tinged work – all became increasingly familiar. As did less direct graphic work, such as Boogie’s tags and the textures created by Joys. These too are now appreciated, even by those who are not passionate lovers of Street Art.