His signature, ‘Kasy 23’ (with reference to the number of Michael Jordan, ‘my favorite sportsman’), is now recognizable on several walls of the Bergamasca, anonymous facades that have become canvases for his colors. In twenty-five years of career (‘I took the first can I was seventeen’), Andrea Casillo, 43 years old from Chiuduno, has collected a catalog of refurbished walls: kindergartens, schools, overpass, stations and even the Bergamo prison, where he cheered up the places where children meet their parents detained in the Bergamo hospital and many others.
A passion that blossomed in adolescence, but became a profession in 2005, following an event that was unbelievable: ‘One morning I couldn’t get out of bed,’ says Andrea, who at the time was the portrait of health, played basketball and rode a bicycle. ‘I had spent the night in the white from severe back pain and the next day I could no longer feel my legs.’ Immediate hospitalization, displacing the medical report: ‘Mielitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord that can come from one moment to the next, without ever having felt symptoms’. Andrea immediately sells the takeaway pizzeria he had been running for four years, ‘I realized that I would never go back there and I didn’t want to accumulate debts’, and commits himself to daily goals to learn a new form of autonomy: ‘You have to start everything from scratch: move, go to bed, drive – he explains -. There was no time for discouragement, I wanted to be independent as soon as possible.’
What worries him the most is ‘not being able to go back to painting’. But the danger is averted, indeed, from that moment art becomes his profession, while before he could hold a can only in the spare time. It is precisely to paint that he takes refuge in the early afternoon at home: ‘It was like being reborn,’ he confesses. He chooses a new stand: the canvas, ‘which was then hung at the top, arriving at the places I could no longer reach’. However, the call of the gray walls is too strong and Andrea is back on the street. With some more or less improvised scaffolding, ‘in prison I used bunk beds’, starts coloring walls again. Several commissions arrive, many thanks to word of mouth: Fiat calls him for a live painting at the Motorshow in Bologna, participates in the Architecture Biennale in Venice, coordinates a group of writers in charge of depicting history and Milanese characters on the walls adjacent to the Columns of San Lorenzo in Milan. In 2008 he participated in a writer’s expedition to Los Angeles.
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