His trusty spray can never far from hand, Anthony Alberti, alias Mr OneTeas, is a multifaceted artist with a series of major projects and collaborations under his belt, in Monaco and overseas.
Whether it’s the facade of a Monegasque building, the streets of New York, the ceiling of an exclusive club or the Monaco pavilion at the upcoming Expo 2020, Anthony Alberti approaches all his work with the same burning passion and determination. Put a paint brush or spray can in his hand and he becomes Mr OneTeas, a creator whose installations, frescos and canvasses carry strong messages, some of them environmental. Last July, Alberti helped raise funds for the Fondation Prince Albert II by taking part in the festival Urban Painting Around the World for the third year running. As part of the project, 10 artists created works on the theme of endangered animals, raising €25,000 in the process. Alberti created a triptych representing a yellow-crested cockatoo for the air, a giant panda for the earth and a porpoise for the sea. Same commitment, different event, this time aimed at children: “I’m delighted to take part in the Fête du Musée once again, running children’s workshops at the Musée Océanographique de Monaco to raise awareness of endangered species in a fun way, using non-toxic paints. Working with the young generations is vital; it is they who will create the world of tomorrow.”
Determined not to limit himself, Mr OneTeas is everywhere, collaborating with the brand Montblanc, creating a mural on the ceiling of the exclusive Parisian club We Are, or preparing for an upcoming museum exhibition in Georgia; this is one hyperactive artist. Described as atypical by some, original by others, his career trajectory fascinates. As a child, Alberti divided his time between Monaco and the Paris region, navigating between these two worlds. His experiences and personal relationships have forged his character, creating a curious and open mind. Although his art has evolved over the years, his determination remains the same. “For me, medium is everything.
Taking something no one wants, something destined for the scrapheap, and giving it a second life is really different. I like to immortalise ‘objects and materials’ and use them to make a statement.” From sculpted cardboard, video cassettes and floppy disks to planks of wood, “nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed”. This mantra neatly sums up the spirit of his work.
Virtual reality versus the real world
Alberti’s recent work explores the burning issue of virtual reality, now ubiquitous, which he pits against the real world. The resulting series, Reality Show 2.0, was exhibited at the Galerie Lympia in Nice in 2019. The 50-plus artworks in the series, comprised of installations, transformations, paintings, videos, photographs and posters, represent a new stage in the artist’s creative journey. “I represent society’s ills using images, not words. I tackle overconsumption, social media, anonymity and trends, bringing our increasingly virtual world face to face with reality.” This exploration has culminated in the artist’s publishing his first ever book, a compilation of his artworks and philosophy.
Two other series have shaped Alberti’s career. The first, The Wack Donald’s Project, made headlines as far away as the United States. “A few years ago, I decided to play with the image of the clown and that of fairy-tale characters like Snow White by showing her dressed as Ronald McDonald and biting into a burger instead of a poison apple.” The message spread around the world, generating buzz from Prague, New York, Brussels and Paris to Barcelona. The second series, All the Same but Different, comprises some 30 portraits of celebrities alongside images of strangers, faces unknown to most but meaningful to the artist. One of the defining characteristics of Mr OneTeas is that he treats everyone as equal, striving to give a voice to ordinary individuals. This desire was thrown into spectacular relief in 2016 when the artist created a composite of 589 faces on the side of the Ni-Box building in Monaco, an initiative that was part of the international project Inside Out by French street artist JR.
By Caroline Sempé