The cover of Time Magazine with the portrait of Johnny Depp by Maurizio Galimberti
The Vespa, as is well known, has always irresistibly attracted artists. A global icon of style and design, inspiring creativity at all latitudes. Also Maurizio Galimberti, class of 1956, born in Como and who has long been living and working in Milan, succumbed to its fascination. An internationally renowned artist-photographer, from Italy to Singapore, from Europe to the States; official testimonial of Polaroid film, was called the "Polaroid Instant Artist". As part of his artistic research, he reinvented the "photo mosaic" technique starting with portraits of great personalities, such as Carla Fracci and Mimmo Rotella, which are characterised by rhythm and movement, with the faces broken down into details to grasp their sincerity and then recomposed in order to restore their uniqueness. The popularity and success with which his representations of faces were greeted led him to participate as official portrait artist at the Venice Film Festival. In 1999 he was indicated by the Italian magazine "CLASS" as the first Italian photographer-portrait artist. His portrait of Johnny Depp, made during the 2003 edition of the Venice Film Festival, was chosen as the image for the cover of the September issue of the prestigious Time Magazine.
From the left: Maurizio Galimberti photographing George Clooney and next to Johnny Depp
The "mosaic" became his favourite technique to portray not only faces, but also landscapes, architecture and cities. His works were translated into prestigious books and exhibitions and are part of important photography collections.
In the vast gallery of his now famous portraits are international stars such as Lady Gaga, Robert de Niro, Sting, George Clooney, Catherine Zeta-Jones, as well as the Italian celebrities such as Dario Argento, Ambra, Laura Chiatti, Luca Zingaretti, Nancy Brilli, Toni Servillo and dozens of others.
Portraits by Maurizio Galimberti: on the left Sting; on the right Catherine Zeta-Jones
HOW DID THE IDEA OF DECORATING THE LIVERY OF YOUR VESPA WITH THE IMAGES OF THE FACE OF JOHNNY DEPP COME ABOUT?
“The idea of decorating the legendary Vespa stems from my two obsessions: that for Vespa, which I have always had, and that for my portrait of Johnny Depp, that I consider one of my most important works”.
CAN YOU IN SUMMARY REVEAL THE PROCEDURE FOLLOWED FOR ITS IMPLEMENTATION?
“For the implementation I relied on Spazio 81 of Milan, a very high-quality printing workshop. Spazio 81, in addition to having done everything to perfection, because art requires perfection, is also an enthusiast of my off camera activity”.
AND NOW, WITH THIS "UNIQUE" VESPA, DO YOU RIDE THROUGH THE STREETS OF MILAN OR HAVE YOU GIVEN IT TO AN EXHIBITION OF SOME KIND?
“This Vespa is intended for daily exhibition. The biggest exhibition possible, riding among the people with my dreams and my obsessions on display!”.
WHAT IS YOU RELATIONSHIP WITH VESPA? IT IS CLEAR THAT FOR AN ARTIST LIKE YOU IT IS NOT JUST A MEANS OF TRANSPORT...
“I have always loved and 'eaten' Vespa. It's an old, eternal relationship, which has always existed".
IS IT THE FIRST “OBJECT” THAT YOU HAVE TRANSFORMED INTO A … “MOBILE” PORTRAIT?
“No. In 2006, again my work of Johnny Depp, become a mobile portrait on a Fiat Doblò commercial vehicle. You can still see that mobile portrait today on the streets of Brianza”.
YOUR WORKS ALSO FEATURE "PRODUCTS" SUCH AS CARS AND CHAMPAGNE. WHEN WILL WE SEE A PHOTO MOSAIC OF THE VESPA?
“When Piaggio comes and asks me, I'm ready!”.
Maurizio Galimberti with Lady Gaga presents his photo portrait dedicated to the pop star
All the images in this article are by Maurizio Galimberti.