Within the first two years that I was drawing on the streets of Rome, the appearance of a small group of energetic young pavement artists began to create a stir among the Romans. Two young Italians sold the idea of a book to the publisher Gammalibri. They took all the photos and did all the interviews during the three weeks surrounding Easter in Rome. For this reason, the book was not very thorough. I wrote this about the time period:
My favorite spot was on the corner of the Via del Corso and Largo Tritone, where the passersby were a mix of government officials, high-end shoppers, journalists, tourists, and an assortment of young Italians. The location was just across the street from Piazza Colonna and the Italian Parliament, in the heart of Rome. Such a setting meant that I never knew what the day would bring, as there could be demonstrations with shouting protesters or a general strike that left the streets empty and deserted. But being at the center of Italian politics also meant that the national newspaper’s offices were just a stone’s throw from the painting site, and I soon became the subject of many articles.
It often seemed that no one in Rome actually worked, as so many people were always milling about in the streets and piazzas, talking passionately, drinking espresso, and reading the newspapers. Such a lifestyle was marvelous, especially because it gave people plenty of time to look at my work. While working at the train station, I had gotten very dirty, and I knew this would not go over well with the impeccably dressed Romans in the heart of the city. I invested in expensive chalks and pastels to keep the dust to a minimum, and I washed the pavement before starting to work. I did my best to keep a clean, professional appearance, and this instantly enhanced my relationship with the Romans. People asked me questions about my life and work, and they were always perplexed about what an American was doing on the street.
I did a number of sacred works at this time, many of which were never photographed. Recently I have been recreating some of the lost ones as fine arts print editions. Christ in a White Robe is an example of these works. It can be seen at the Andrea Smith Gallery in Sedona, Arizona. The address is below:
Andrea Smith Galleries
336 Hwy 179 Sedona AZ 86336
Their website is here: Andrea Smith Gallery Home.
My page is here: Kurt Wenner