Reportage: Cheap Festival 2014

From the 1st to the 10th of May Bologna hosted the second edition of Cheap Festival, the festival of street poster art. Street artists, graphic designers, photographers and illustrators from all over the world brought city walls and notice boards to new life.

written by Chiara Costantino

Cheap Festival gets planned and organized by two important Bologna-based associations: eLaSTiCo and Centro Sociale TPO, that aim to promote creative, cultural and social development as civic engagement, encouraging art practices among emerging artists. Local administrations were involved in the project and public spaces became Festival’s setting.


This second edition had #GREEN as specific theme: urban sustainability, green public spaces protection and reforestation, recycling, alternative energy sources, food sovereignty. Every artist created a unique world, making connections between the present day and the concern for the environment.


In March Cheap Festival has been preceded by #CHEAPgreen; disused notice boards were cleaned and posters by Paper Resistance and Sz zS were hung on them around Bologna. This “public art” project has been realized in collaboration with the City of Bologna.


Cheap Festival consists of three categories; projects selected through an open call, hung up around the city of Bologna, site specific performances, realized by five artists Cheap Festival invited and a number of exhibits. Artist who respond to the open call sent their works from France, United Kingdom, Spain, Albania, Denmark, Bulgaria, Poland, Abkhazia, Russia, Iran, Moldavia, Argentina, Slovakia, Philippines and Canada.


Five artists worked in four suburban neighborhoods (San Donato, Navile, San Vitale and Porto);  Orticanoodle, Martina Merlini, Lucamaleonte, Hyuro and L.E.T – Les Enfants Terribles. 


Martina Merlini uses a number of techniques and media to obtain harmony from abstract and geometric elements. For CHEAP, she has realized a work on the wall of “Il Buco”, the headquarters of the Oltre association in the San Donato neighborhood.


 Orticanoodle, a duo from Milan, are a great exponent of stencil art. They developed the “stencil on stencil” concept; textual and visual elements produce a visual hypertext. Orticanoodle created their CHEAP project at the Pilastro in the San Donato neighborhood, their work has been dedicated to the Italian Resistence and the Bolognese poet Roberto Roversi.


Over the years Lucamaleonte emerged as another important exponent of stencil art. He studied art history and restoration and since 2001 this artist works with stencils and posters on urban walls. His art consists in selecting botanical elements, anatomical parts, science books and mixing them with Italian history and nowadays situation. Lucamaleonte’s work for Cheap Festival was on a building in via Mascherino, in the Navile neighborhood.


Hyuro is an Argentinian artist who started her career in fine arts and experimented with street art later. Her style is characterized by simplicity and surreal effects, it can be defined as minimalist. She is very concerned with gender issues and female identity exploration. Her aim is to underline women stereotypes and trascending them. Hyuro worked on bus station’s walls (Viale Masini) in the San Vitale neighborhood.


L.E.T (Les Enfants Terrible) is a stencil artist born in France. He started his career in the German street art movement in 1991, working in Düsseldorf. L.E.T’s work is inspired by English street art; he has the special ability to reinterpret other artists’ works through his way. His art acquires a symbolic significance, using collage to create new messages, to criticize consumerism in our contemporary society. L.E.T worked in via Casarini, on TPO walls.


(Images © Cheap Festival)

More about Cheap Festival


 Chiara Costantino (1984) lives in Bologna, Italy. She creates and curates content and social media for Fluster Magazine. She works as a web content editor, social media specialist, translator and web marketer. Chiara loves Sphynx cats, Murakami’s books, vegan cooking and of course photography, especially street and conceptual photography and every work that explores gender and identity. The Internet is her home and you can tweet her at @c84costantino

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