After his turbulent teenage years Rediet Longo came to the conclusion that neither his Ethiopian nor his Italian heritage could fully represent his persona. This lead to the creation of a more complete and representative identity; not black nor white, RED, like the african clay ultisol.
Let's start by talking a little bit about yourself.
My name is Rediet Longo, I’m 22 and I was born in Ethiopia. I was adopted when I was 6 and since then I live in Milan with my amazing parents. I define myself as a visual artist, and I like expanding my creativity both in fashion and paintings.
When you came to Italy, what was your first impression of your surrounding environment?
At the beginning I was completely lost because it was all new for me, just to make you an example, I stayed in front of the airport’s automatic doors for like 20 minutes. You can also imagine my face when I took the lift for the first time, I thought it was a magic trick. I get used to all this stuff but since the beginning I knew Italy wasn’t my place.
How was your overall high school experience?
If I can use a word to describe my overall high school experience I would use “chaotic”. I was in a particular period of my life: I was looking for myself and for my identity, and because being born in Africa and raised in Italy was difficult to me to accept I decided to reject both African and Italian identities. In that period I become interested to the graffiti’s world and I decided to create a new character to show to the world. Besides the research of my own identity, when I was in high school I was in love with all the artistic subjects, and I’m thankful to my professors who helped me to grow as an artist.
“Depressed kids are better at art”, why do think that is? And why do you think there are so many ‘depressed kids’ nowadays?
I wrote this phrase after a working day. That night I met a man at the bar Jamaica where I used to work who suggested me to register as an official brand my logo. I remember that night it was raining cats and dogs, and I was in a bad period, but that man gave me hope. I believed to be a depressed kid but I was only a lost kid who has always believed in the power of art. I don’t think there are so many depressed kids nowadays, looking my generation I rather define them as lazy and with a lot of excuses. In every human being life there will always be ups and downs but it’s all in our hands so we have to try to face difficulties in best way we can. Depressed people are the ones who decided to surrender to the obstacles of life.
How would you rate Instagram as a channel for expressing your creativity and sharing your work?
Instagram, as every social has its pros and cons but I believe it is the most powerful operating system for people because it gives you the chance to be connected with millions of people at the same time and to show your talents to the world.
How do you think living in Milan influences your work? Which are the city’s most important ‘pros’ and ‘cons’?
Milan has been fundamental for my job, I’m grateful to live in this city because it permitted me to know people in the fashion industry who has been essential for me. Pros and cons of Milan? I don’t know, you know I can love and hate Milan at the same time, I love it because of the millions of opportunities that it offers but I hate it because it is too chaotic and stressful.
If you could choose any alive artist in the world to have a chat with, who would you choose? What do you think is your greatest ambition in life?
Good question, for real. If I can have the chance to have a chat with.... would be @kaws.
What is your biggest ambition?
My biggest ambition is to live the rest of my life with people who have loved me since day 1 no matter what and by doing the thing I love the most, so art. Of course one day, when I will have the necessary money, I want to give the world what I received. For this reason I went in Africa these past weeks, to try to put in contact children and art.
courtesy REDIET LONGO
interview JOAO GEROMINI
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