There were many memorable things about Florence, Italy. I was never expecting to be blown away by the Florence Street Art scene, though.
While visiting Florence I expected sweeping Tuscan hillsides, antique structures with crumbling features, and one-of-a-kind art in mega museums. So strolling through the city I was caught off-guard by the playful Florence street art, especially the art of Exit/Enter.
I don’t remember which one I saw first, but each one of Exit/Enter’s characters made an impression on me. I started snapping every single piece that I saw, not certain what I would eventually do with the shots.
By the time our visit ended I knew I wanted to do something fun with the shots, maybe a photo book? Instead, I decided to create this gallery post after batch-editing my Italy photos. I was inspired by the series of shots and couldn’t wait to share with the world.
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Who is Exit/Enter?
While researching for this post I found quite a bit of information about Exit/Enter, which isn’t the case for all street artists. The best article I found was on TocTocFlorence, a Florentine culture and lifestyle website. Thanks to the miracle of Google Translate, I was able to enjoy the piece and borrow a few memorable quotes from the artist to accompany the photos (see below).
The thing that struck me about Exit/Enter’s art was the feelings he was able to convey with the simple, youthful characters. Sure, the art is playful and fun, but many of the pieces are asking deeper questions about life, relationships and modern times. TocTocFlorence describes the art as having a “message of lightness, evasion, and escape.”
The artist’s medium allows his emotions to “be readily visible to everyone.” He noted that creating an outdoor gallery on the historic walls of Florence “seemed the best way” to achieve his goal. His name, Exit/Enter, was inspired by his view of life: “continuous change and a succession of countless situations which, depending on your point of view, can be experienced as an exit or an entrance to new possibilities”.
Whimsy and Wonder
As you can see, each piece features a “delicate” figure or “child-like” house. And the hearts, balloons, and dragons seem well-suited for romantic and historic Florence. The whimsical art is a nice juxtaposition to the somewhat intellectual city, which understandably produced some of the greatest thinkers and artists of Medieval Europe. More than anything I loved the process of finding the pieces, wandering the streets wondering what I would find next.
I’m sure some would argue that defacing the walls of Medieval Florence distracts from the star of the show: the city itself. I, for one, always enjoy seeing how cities and their street art relate to one another. It’s interesting to see the art in the setting it was intended to be seen, rather than in a gallery or museum wall. It gives a city another layer of character, especially when you let your imagination run wild thinking “who might have created this work?” What about living in that particular city in modern times motivated the artist’s statements?
Exit/Enter’s work spoke of Florentine thinkers, people who are exploring questions about existence, consumerism, and love. For some reason, these themes resonated with me, and I believe they'll likely resonate with many of my readers. Intelligent adults everywhere are muddling over these same issues and questions. Existentialism, in my opinion, is a natural part of the maturity process. We can’t grow as adults without wondering about our purpose, our relationships, and our futures. This young artist perfectly captures the uncertain yet exciting feelings of self-exploration.
Do You Like Street Art, Too?
By now, you can probably tell that I love street art. It truly is one of my most favorite art mediums mostly because of its temporary status.
Street art can enrich any travel experience. Consider that you're one of the lucky few who'll get to see the one-of-a-kind piece of art before you. How special!
I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. If so, then be sure to check out my street art archives for more of my street art adventures.
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* All quotes sourced from Tic Toc Firenze.