They’ve always told you to follow your dreams. “Only the brave”, they said. No matter how many obstacles will be on the way, no matter what other people could think or say, just keep on pushing to reach your goals with courage and humility, without any fear to say who you and your beliefs really are. It seems that Kenny Random has taken this literal advice a little bit too seriously – but he definitely understood the principles in which this personal path is rooted.
Kenny Random, aka Andrea Coppo, is an Italian graffiti artist born in 1971 in Padua, north Italy. He started painting and writing on walls in his early ’80 and then, a decade later, he proposed some of his drawings in order to have them featured on English and American clothing lines; very famous is his collaboration with Roces, a roller blades Italian company. He then worked with MTV in a video made during a tour in California with the skater Daniel Cardone; one of his works has been sold to a Russian magnate – yes! Roman Abramovič -, and the whole collection of his paintings (that he developed in the meantime, expanding graffiti to canvas, clothing and everyday objects) can be found in the book Lies, published in 2011.
I’ve always thought that, when you want to get closer to works of a particular artist, you have to study the context in which they operate before; and if we want to proceed with the same system here, it’s worth to stop on the city that started to know Kenny before everybody else: Padua, located in north-Italy, with its rich-poor ambivalence and its sense of being split in two offered Kenny an inspirational canvas for his works.
His alter ego, a suburban kind of Pied Piper of graffiti art in hat and coat – or better to say, his shadow – challenges the limits of urban legality – are there would be a lot to say of this rightness. In the night, nobody’s watching: as a meta-teathre device, we can find his shadow, accompanied by a mysterious black cat, drawing other graffiti on the wall, from anthropomorphic figures, to stencil profiles, to characters from animated cartoons, in order to give more visibility to his work. “Kenny Random” tag seems to blink at conservative minds, while “Si salvi chi può” – every man for himself – writing gives an acute advice to young people that face the future.
Kenny Random knows how to keep the attention on him on fire: in December 2012 he realizes the initiative called The Gift, by scattering 32 of his works in the city and giving clues through his Facebook profile and his website, letting the ones who found them be the legitimate owner. The Gift 2 took place again in December of the following year, by spreading, in different days and places, 23 numbered medals just as many works he would donate.
A mysterious aurea gravitates around Kenny Random; you can have glimpses of his art and talent on his website and Instagram profile.