Environmental engineer, artist, dreamer. These are just a few of the words that describe the persona of Gennaro Percopo.
Percopo was born in 1974. He began his life as a man of science, not art. Trained in the technical field, Gennaro Percopo was already working as an environmental engineer when the creativity bug first bit him. In 1995, he started creating street art on the beautiful lanes of Italy. He made a name for himself in a such short span that the mayor of Avellino himself granted him a street art space. The ‘Fantasia al Muro’ project captured the national imagination of Italy, grabbing headlines and elevating Percopo to an almost celebrity stature in the country.
But Gennaro Percopo is not a man easily satisfied. In 2006, he decided to switch fields and move towards canvas painting. Styles change, but talent remains; thus, it was no surprise that he found quick success in this new medium too. His ‘Madhouse’ series of paintings on canvas took the viewers on a wild ride of imagination. Over the years, the series has been displayed at various galleries and exhibitions – both within Italy and in other countries.
So what goes inside the mind of the man behind such works? Gennaro Percopo admits that he has one cardinal rule: conception before creation. According to him, the biggest task is imagining the artwork one has to create. And by ‘imagination’, he doesn’t imply a figment of an idea that would grow once you start painting. For Percopo, an artwork must be completed in all its majesty, in your mind, before you even pick up the brush or the spray can. Once you are able to achieve that, the rest of the journey is a cakewalk – your hands tracing your imagination on the canvas or the wall.
Another peculiar aspect of Percopo’s works is his insistence on mathematical precision. His training as an engineer has made him appreciate the natural sciences and what they could hold for his art. He seeks geometrical precision, spatial realism, and overall symmetry in the works he creates. As far as influences are concerned, Gennaro Percopo is also influenced by Abstraction and Pop Art styles, which is quite visible in his works. As a street artist, Percopo uses aerosol art to spray-paint on walls. For canvas, he used acrylic and ink colors.
Percopo got his first exhibition in 2007 in Geno. He participated in the 1st international Art Biennale of Palermo. In 2019, he got a permanent exhibition at the MACO Museum in Arcidosso. His latest street art was the ‘Environment Memoirs’ in the street art municipality of Altavilla Irpina in 2022. The same year, he also presented his commissioned work at “The Postman Behind The Scenes: The Faces Of Massimo Troisi” exhibition. Over the years, he has also won various awards and honours for his continuous contributions to art. Beyond street art and painting, he is also a writer and contributes to column writing about art. He published “Italian Artists 2012-2013”in 2013 and the “Artisti 2019” in 2019.
Here is how Gennaro Percopo describes his life’s journey, in his won words:
“I have crossed infinite worlds, and without a compass I have wandered among the stars, in the darkness of space, in the cold of galaxies. I was lost, broken, alone.
Suddenly I glimpsed a new world… and I observed it: it was a point, dark, swirling, restless, capable of capturing itself with magic and divine strength: color, matter, spirit, light.
So, I scrutinized it sitting on the edge, and I observed it beyond its horizon. Years. then suddenly it manifested its event, and my world changed.
That black hole is my art, where space and time merge…to give life to the only Creator.”
Gennaro Percopo continues to reside in Avellino, Campania in Italy with his two children. He describes himself as secular and loves to travel and socialize.