When you think of Italy’s hottest exports, you might think of Versace, Lamborghini or pizza. Maybe it’s time we add a young creative mind by the name of Manuel Di Rita to the list. Otherwise known as Peeta, this street writer has been recognized for his unique 3-D technique that any passerby with a pulse is bound to notice.

“I can disregard the law, but I cannot disregard my personal respect for other art forms.”

Originally from Venice, but now living in Treviso, Peeta first got hooked on graffiti writing in 1993, his first conquest being the wall in his garage. Although too modest to say so himself, it seems as though from the beginning Peeta was a man to follow. “Shortly after [my garage] I tried to spray on the walls of my little town. I started to paint illegally in a wall that later became one of the most popular hall of fames around here,” explains Peeta.

When given the hypothetical of having the liberty to plaster his tag on any monument in the world, Peeta gave an unexpected response. “I would throw away this pass,” he says. It is evident that his upbringing in Italy, a country famously saturated with the richest, most masterful art in the world, has undoubtedly shaped this artist’s mantra. “I can disregard the law, but I cannot disregard my personal respect for other art forms,” explains Peeta. Clearly, Peeta has a deep sense of appreciation for the history and culture his homeland boasts. He has traveled to New York, Mexico City, and Bosnia to name a few places, and has come to realize that “graffiti is very similar from country to country, every place holds some form of tradition. However, what separates Italy from other countries is its art history. Here we have art schools teaching old methods and old disciplines. It is possible that some graffiti writers have a deeper art education than in other countries, which may give graffiti here a more unique look.”


Every artist has his own unique reasons as to why he practices graffiti. Some are in it purely for the misfit persona that they choose to wear as a badge of honor. Others purely enjoy plotting out every expulsion of the can that comes into contact with the wall, as carefully planned as the Old Masters would have done it. When it comes to Peeta, it is safe to say he falls into the latter category. He explains that writing on walls is not nearly as easy and carefree as many outsiders may think. “Practice pieces are really important to a graffiti writer,” says Peeta, “only after hundreds of pieces is it possible to talk about quality, at least from a technical point of view.”


It is Peeta’s drive to continually evolve as an artist that pushes him to step outside the bounds of writing. “These days I am doing some product design,” he explains. “It is really stimulating to me, especially when I work in graffiti concepts. At the moment I’m working on some sculptures, and I am hoping to use some industrial methods to produce them.” If Peeta keeps up at this pace, his art may someday be marveled at alongside Italy’s great masters.

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Isha Thompson

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