If you’re ever in Florence, Italy, and see a grown man on a ladder wiping the dust off statues and building, don’t worry, it’s just Alessandro Ricci gathering material for his famous smog paintings.
40-year-old Ricci is not your average artist, and I don’t say that just because he used smog as the main medium of his artworks. Unlike other painters seeking fast recognition of their talent, he doesn’t really care about “being this big artist”. Instead he is more concerned about bringing attention to how much smog there really is in his home town and how it’s destroying both its monuments and people. Although he did take a couple of art classes a few years back, he is mainly self-taught, doesn’t work in a studio, donates most of his work, and refuses to play by the rules of the Florentine Art Gallery, which he considers corrupt. Alessandro Ricci believes selling his smog paintings would not only compromise his principles, but also contradict the very thing he’s trying to do – raise awareness about smog pollution in this great Italian city.