by Lula C. Sánchez for The Soul Report
Enzo & Nio have been one of the latest to drop their messages around Barcelona, despite in 2006 the Barcelona City Council passed a law which prohibited all types of urban art in the public spaces of the city. They have known each other for more than twenty years, but it was only a couple of years ago that they started working together, using the street as an artistic medium to display their creativity.
"…Barcelona is bustling yet laid back, passionate, welcoming, decadent yet thrift. Steeped in history but still looking forward…" -Nio Gallo
"…Barcelona is about energy and vibe, it is about art and music and food. It is about color and texture. It is about history, suffering and the rekindling of hope and joy…" -Enzo Sarto
The creative universe of Enzo & Nio is hard to define or label. In their work there is room for both social, economical and political criticism as well as humor “…we did not want to be limited nor defined by any singular image, topic or style…”. Their works seek to provoke reflection in the viewer, regardless of the reaction being positive or negative. What really matters is that the observers react.
To do so they use several tools from graphic design, photography to painting and different resources such as the sticker - Bomba and Cockshark- or the wheatpaste, the technique by which ultrathin paper posters are glued with a very resistant adhesive. Such is the case of Idols or their particular appropriation of Magritte’s work "…Doing a Mashup of a Magritte is just our way of paying homage with an E&N spin…"
Their first series, Future Now, displays masked and armed little girls to make us reflect on the catastrophe looming over our future if we steal their innocence today. From the series Future Now arises Idol, their next series, which explores and denounces women marginalization and undervaluation. They seized Catholic iconography such as niches and they replaced religious figures by little girls, teenagers and housewives who appear armed with guns and bombs. With their character Bomba, which was part of a very large sticker, they try to convey philosophical messages sometimes and make us smile at others. Similarly, with Cockshark they impact deeply on the absurdity of the consumer society and try to provoke reflection on how invasive advertising is on the city streets.
If taste is the ability we have to judge an object, work of art in this particular case, as something beautiful in a disinterested way, just for the sake of the pleasant satisfaction it produces, then the creative universe of Enzo & Nio, on top of captivating me, it strongly stimulates me and heightens me because with one image they tell us a history.
Enzo and Nio were proud to have their work included in Brooklyn Street Art's "2012 Images of the Year" video. The video includes some of the most compelling pieces of street art to appear in New York over the course of 2012. Thanks to Jamie Rojo and Steve Harrington for including E&N!
Onist Films released "Las Calles Hablan" (The Streets Talk), an excellent film about the changing Barcelona street art scene. Using footage and interviews from popular street artists the film looks at the vibrant Barcelona street art scene and how it is under persecution from a government that doesn't understand the importance that street art has played in the city's international profile as a center for arts and culture. Las Calles Hablan features many Barcelona and international street artists including a cameo of Enzo and Nio.
In 2012 Enzo & Nio debuted their work in Europe in Barcelona, Spain. There they met a welcome and enthusiastic audience. Their work in Barcelona got them a lot of exposure including a magazine cover, an in-depth interview and a spot in the movie "Las Calles Hablan", a movie about the Barcelona street art scene.
Enzo & Nio's work in Barcelona exposed them to a lot of artists and other amazing people who are very serious and enthusiatistic about how street art positively effects the urban environment in the city. Unfortunately, beginning in 2006 the local government began conducting an increasingly restrictive campaign to eliminate this modern art movement from the city landscape. To date the government is actively persecuting, harassing and arresting artists and also removing incredible pieces of work from public spaces including masterpieces by Keith Haring and Os Gemeos! The government has also begun to dictate that street-art-friendly shop owners cannot have street art on their shop shutters!
In an effort to curb the local government's war on street art, the makers of the film "Las Calles Hablan" have created a petition to get the local government to cease their no-tolerance program and to see street art for what it really is: a cultural asset for Barcelona and many cities in the world just like it.
Enzo & Nio fully support the Barcelona Street Art Petition and urge their Spanish friends to investigate it and sign it. Enzo & Nio also encourage their fans from the USA and other cities and countries to support it in spirit and with encouragement to our Spanish friends.
Dega Films have released the Enzo & Nio segment of their New York City street art documentary "Wild in the Streets. Dega Films takes a unique approach in this documentary by eschewing dialogue driven interviews in favor of action-filled montages against a sonic backdrop of independent music. The product is a compelling look at various NYC street artists doing what they do.