Eduardo Kobra: David in colours

©Eduardo Kobra

We came across the work of Kobra and fell in love with one of his most recent murals.
It was inaugurated on the 23rd of July this year at the highest point of the Cava di Gioia (Carrara, Italy). It is a large mural depicting a detail of Michelangelo’s David (the face and the left hand). The work was made on one of the marble walls of the Gioia hollow in the Apuane Alps. We wanted to share with you this unique work of art which is so unusual and unique. Street art is mostly seen in urban areas, on the back of grey buildings or dark alleyways. Kobra stands out as a street artist in his choice of setting. He pays tribute to Michelangelo by bringing to life the marble of Carrara, the material used by the classical artist to create the statue of David.

Eduardo Kobra, or just Kobra, grew up in the Clear Field neighbourhood of San Paulo. As a 12-year-old, never taking a liking to school, he started tagging in schools and streets with an older group known as “Hip Hop.” Kobra’s passion of tagging or graffiti resulted in expulsion from school. While others studied, his textbooks quickly became full of artful sketches.

His love was drawing either on paper or in the streets. Moving away from graffiti to street art, his first critics were people, walking along the sidewalk and watching him draw, who often commented “Get a job, you bum.” Determined to prove everyone wrong, the young rebellious artist, always carrying a backpack of spray paints, continued to paint. The turning point in his career occurred after one of his arrests, when the judge was so impressed by the wall paintings that Kobra’s sentence was to paint a mural on the police station wall.

Street art was becoming respectable. Today, property owners actually commission artists to create distinctive artwork for their businesses and some communities promote street art by hosting street art festivals such as Wynwood Art District in Miami. In December of 2013, Kobra, along with his crew members, some having been together for 15 years, was commissioned to paint two murals creating portraits of legendary contemporary artists such as Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol, along with music icons like Tupac and Biggie. Kobra and his team worked for three weeks painting the two murals while thousands of onlookers watched. Speaking very little English, the friendly artist always managed to say “Hello” and sign autographs for his fans. Television personnel from PBS were always in view, filming and recording any conversation involving Kobra and his crew.