Meet Alexsandro Palombo, a Pop artist merging Simpsons with celebrities to highlight social issues
In an Exclusive interview with MEAWW, Palombo says he uses his artworks to trigger reflection in the audience with irony and lightness
Alexsandro Palombo is the new crusader in the modern world of Pop art, taking the help of Fox's most popular show, 'The Simpsons,' in order to get his voice heard and his artwork recognized.
The Italian artist has created numerous artworks using the show's unique animation design and various celebrities to spread his message across. The 45-year old is an artist with a wide activist streak and known for his colorful, reflective and irreverent works that focus on Pop culture, society, diversity, ethics, and human rights.
His latest work immortalized Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, imagining her as a Simpsons character, but he has done the same with other public figures like Kate Middleton, Queen Letizia of Spain, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West among others.
MEA WorldWide recently caught up with the artist, where he discussed the ideas behind the characters he chooses to sketch, and incorporating social activism that he feels so passionately about into them.
What is your favorite aspect of turning celebrity figures into Simpsons characters? Could you walk us through your process?
I like to portray qualities and defects of personalities with my Pop works. I take the most intimate side of celebrities to make them iconic through Cartoon artworks' Simpsons mood. I'm a contemporary Pop artist who grew up with the cartoon of the 80s, so this is my way to see the world, just like Roy Lichtenstein did with the world of cartoons or Andy Warhol with some Disney characters.
My vision is linked to our time and what we live through and the Simpsons are like a blank canvas for me, one of the many backgrounds related to my imagination that I let go freely on painting, illustration, visual art and street art.
You are an outspoken activist in the pop-culture scene. Could you tell us a little bit about your activism and what your goals with regards to this are in the future?
My series related to important social issues, such as domestic violence, breast cancer and many others, are a collective heritage; it’s social art, my small contribution to improving the society in which we live. Each of us can do something, even a small action, to change the world.
Even in my most "light" artworks series, such as those dedicated to celebrities, I always try to tell something that leads to reflection, with irony and lightness of course. I'm an artist without filters, just like a mirror in which you can reflect yourself and decide to see, or not see, the world as it is in this captured moment. I relate to our society in the most candid, transparent and sincere way.
Activism is so important, and so many human rights achievements have been made by activists who have worked very hard before us.
If you had to make an art installation involving any three people in the world, who would you pick and why?
Angelina Jolie, whom I value for her social commitment, even if she and Brad Pitt were shocked about my series "Break The Silence" in which I portrayed her as a victim of domestic violence. She worried that their children could see their mother’s bruised face. But she has a deep respect for artists and understood the importance of the work.
In "Break the Silence" I wanted to create a deep reflection on a social scourge that afflicts millions of women all over the world and that shows no signs of diminishing. No woman of any social class is immune. Today, the media is overwhelming us with images of any kind: wars, terrorism, misery, disease ... I think we need to educate young people to see and understand, not to censor. Our society's diseases must be worked out so we can build antibodies to defeat them.
Amal Clooney, because she is a strong and determined woman, committed to supporting many causes and fighting for human rights. She is an important example for women all over the world.
Meghan Markle, because she is a modern woman who perfectly impersonates new contemporary feminism and with her temperament will bring freshness into the tradition of the Royal House. She is the true modern princess, and she’s certainly not waiting to be saved by prince charming to be clear.
How do you manage to juggle your time between all of your work commitments?
A few years ago, I was diagnosed with a rare cancer. This experience was devastating for me. Today, I live my life enjoying every moment. I live everything with intense passion. Creativity is my life, a vocation.
If there was something that you could have done differently in your personal and/or professional career, what would it be and why?
Surely the years when I worked as a fashion designer in Milan, Italy. I had my own line that featured women's collections in Milan between the mid-1990s and 2004, and I was the forefather of the avant-garde. But in those years, fashion was only made of compromises and games of power. Today, all of this is decaying with the Internet.
So if I could go back, I would give so much less of my creativity to the Italian fashion in order to prevent everyone stealing my ideas, from Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, and many others. I was sick of seeing my work ending up in their stores, knowing that the consumers were certainly not aware that these ideas were the result of my creativity.
What are some of the future projects that you are currently excited about?
I live for the day… For me, the Future is the Present.
But I can tell you that on February 12, the Yves Saint-Laurent Museum in Paris inaugurated an exhibition with the iconic clothes of Yves Saint-Laurent and Mondrian where you will find my "Marge Simpson in Mondrian”, a work of 2012. A fantastic retrospective not to be missed, until December 31, 2019.