Laika MCMLIV's Biography
A white mask and a red wig and a metallic voice distorted by the filters and under the camouflage LAIKA MCMLIV (1954), who likes to call herself “a Roman attacchina (billsticker)”, one of the most mysterious names to appear in the borderline world of street art.
She uses the mask to express her art without filters, while preserving her private life. It is not important to know who is behind the mask: in front there is a woman who interprets reality with irony. Whether through posters, murals, stencil graffiti, paste up, collage or acrylic on canvas, LAIKA tackles any theme, from the most serious and committed to the lightest, in an ironic and disenchanted way, in a mostly male environment, that of street art precisely, where you act at night, with protagonists labelled in the most contradictory ways: artists, activists, influencers, vandals.
“It has an enormous symbolic value to go out and “attack” the night, to take the road, alone or in company“
With her works, the artist also feels she has a strong sense of responsibility: “When an opinion is expressed, verbally, in writing, with a drawing, it is necessary to understand that, even if in a limited way, our position will affect someone else. Today it seems to me that too many people do not feel the weight of responsibility for what they say, think or do. This is a bit of what I tried to convey in the Wall of Shame, a 10-meter banner that I pasted a few weeks ago, made up of dozens of racist comments taken from social media. It’s a problem if everyone boasts of saying what they think but no one is ashamed of thinking what they say”
Her name is a tribute to the first living being in space aboard the Soviet space capsule Sputnik 2. … “A little for fun, because a dear friend of mine used to call me that when he was particularly annoyed with me, but mainly because aiming at Space it has become my mantra: it means not setting any limits but also being able to look at things from afar, from Space, which by definition is the most remote place that exists, to see them more clearly. The mask is this: what takes me out of my everyday world and makes me observe what surrounds me with calm and objectivity. Maybe I don’t always succeed, but this is the goal! “
Laika suddenly appeared in Rome one night in the summer of 2019 and has never stopped. Among the characters object of the works of the Street Artist we find Daniele De Rossi in Testaccio, Matteo Salvini, Silvio Berlusconi, Greta Thunberg and Sonia Hang Zhou, Patrick Zaki and Giulio Regeni, Boris Johnson and Fidel Castro.
For her, the street is “the most democratic art gallery in the world: you don’t pay for the ticket, anyone can access it, it can be received positively or negatively. Once a poster, a writing, a mural is on the street it belongs to everyone and can remain intact, be vandalized, stolen or modified “.
Mine “have often been ripped off. Of one, with Patrick Zaky and Giulio Regeni, I once made a second version, including the silhouette of the stranger who tore it. He has gained power. I was inspired by Mimmo Rotella, one of my myths “
… “Mimmo Rotella made me love paper and the idea of the torn poster. His decollage is a source of inspiration. Most of my models do not correspond to my expressive language, but I find that knowing what is beautiful is fundamental for those who are still developing their own style as I am doing. I cannot fail to mention Banksy and Obey, who are perhaps the best-known names even to the general public. I am passionate about comics, from Milo Manara to Hugo Pratt, one of my idols, up to my fellow citizen Zerocalcare. This is only a small part of the artists I admire but the list could certainly be longer. They are all very different names, with the most diverse techniques and styles, but they all share an artistic value“
“As for the places, I often try to find a suitable frame for the drawing. The relationship between the work and the place where it is created or posted up is very important. The place gives strength to the message of the drawing. For example: Regeni’s hug to Zaki would not have had the same meaning if it hadn’t been posted up in front of the Egyptian Embassy. Of course, such a thing is not always possible but the locations are, in most cases, an integral part of the work. “
Of her production she says “I am convinced that I produce very little … I am reshaping my life a bit: I try to devote more and more time to this activity to produce more and to grow artistically. I have my own personal collection. I am very jealous of that and for now I am not selling it. However, some collectors ask me for commissioned canvases: I often really appreciate when they do it because it means that they really want the work in their collection / apartment. I am against selling off my works. Nobody should do that. Those who really want a unique piece, they just invest. With that money I finance other art … I carry on the project. On the other hand, those who opt for a more affordable collecting can purchase the authenticated limited-edition prints. “
Her works were exhibited at the Lugano Wopart work on paper Extra Exhibition 2021 fair and are often subject to publication by the national and international press.
Laika, among other events, participated, always disguised, in the first Women’s Art independent festival, dedicated to women’s rights and social inclusion. “I wanted to talk about the body image of women and the standardization that society forces us all to. I have decided never to show my face because I don’t want my physical appearance to influence my message. The neutral image of an invented alter ego sets me free. ”