The Italian Almanac

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Italian News - January 26

An enterprising group of Italian youngsters is making a business out of an activity that would normally land them in hot water - graffiti. The Xpression gang's works are of such quality that, rather than sending police to arrest them, local authorities are queuing up to commission their stuff.

"We want to show there's another side to graffiti writing from the one that defaces our cities," said Enrico Sironi, a member of the gang. "In the right hands, graffiti art can become a tool capable of regenerating urban spaces by giving them a touch of colour and poetry."

The gang has carried out jobs in various parts of Italy, as well as projects abroad, including a collaboration with Bosnian street artists in Sarajevo. "We are totally professional," said Sironi. "We started off small-scale with works on walls in suburbs.

"Things took off and we decided to dedicate ourselves to this business full-time. "We work with many town councils on commission and for private clients too. In some cases we have even decorated the facades of houses." Eight Xpression artists aged between 25 and 30 are currently transforming the walls of a park in the town of Villa d'Alme', near the northern Italian city of Bergamo.