“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which,” George Orwell wrote in his thought-provoking, classic piece of literature, Animal Farm. When it comes to qualities of character, we often compare ourselves as well as other people with animals. Stubborn as a mule, greedy as a pig, we say. Alessandro Gallo is an Italian artist who compares humans not only to pigs but also donkeys, chickens, rabbits, and lizards and manages to find a connection between the two different forms of life. In his latest solo exhibition ‘Strange Encounters’, the artist navigates through the complex array of human emotions all while portraying them as half-human, half-animal humanoids. They all have something in common – they seek togetherness which is more elusive than ever before.

More info: Alessandro Gallo | Instagram | Facebook

Image credits: Alessandro Gallo

Alessandro Gallo is an artist who is renowned for sculpting hybrid, humanoid creatures which consist of human bodies and animal heads.

Image credits: Alessandro Gallo

The subjects are often found in mundane, everyday settings – they are riding the elevator or a subway, sitting on a couch of a therapist, texting someone, or eating chips. The familiar context and the unexpected twist of having a head of an animal turns Alessandro’s work into something that’s more than just a sculpture – it’s an invitation to seek answers and face uncomfortable truths.

Image credits: Alessandro Gallo

Image credits: Alessandro Gallo

Born in 1974 in Genoa, Italy, Alessandro attended a university there where he studied law and earned his degree back in 1997. However, he much preferred drawing and painting over the law so at the age of 24, he moved to London and enrolled at Saint Martin’s College of Art.

Image credits: Alessandro Gallo

Image credits: Alessandro Gallo

During his studies, Alessandro was working as a painter and decorator – this is when he started experimenting with digitally altered images. Using Photoshop, he would place animals in familiar city settings such as polar bears standing on a subway platform. By 2005, the digital images started taking a physical form as Alessandro made his first clay sculpture of a donkey in a suit.

Image credits: Alessandro Gallo

Image credits: Alessandro Gallo

Apart from making hyper-realistic clay sculptures, Alessandro also draws, paints, and does digital collages. He takes inspiration from various forms of art – music, books, movies. He is also influenced by his own Italian identity as well as life in London where he resided for many years.

Image credits: Alessandro Gallo

The subjects of Alessandro’s artwork find themselves in mundane situations and settings of modern-day cities. He depicts his figures sitting on a subway train that look alienated from each other, each immersed in their own little universes.

Image credits: Alessandro Gallo

By placing his humanoids within the canvas of daily life, Alessandro sees his work as psychological portraits that explore themes of loneliness and alienation. Alessandro has already built a huge fanbase in Europe and critics think that his characters effectively embody the human inner world with all its vices.

Image credits: Alessandro Gallo

Image credits: Alessandro Gallo

“Animals display biological features and behavioral patterns that can be extended to humans, lending themselves to embody the basic disposition of a person. Animal heads represent our inclinations and background, like a genetic legacy from imaginary ancestors—but also some cultural belief or even simply a mood or a temporary state of mind,” Alessandro has explained to the media.

Image credits: Alessandro Gallo

Image credits: Alessandro Gallo

Before making the actual sculpture, first and foremost, Alessandro takes a picture of a model. He takes photos of his models from multiple angles and the photographs are then used together with images from animal wildlife books. He completes his half-human, half-animal specimens with city-appropriate clothing, accessories, and even tattoos.

Image credits: Alessandro Gallo

Image credits: Alessandro Gallo

Why animals, though? “Animals display biological features and behavioral patterns that can be metaphorically extended to humans, lending themselves to embody, humorously, the basic disposition of a person,” Alessandro shared with the media.

Image credits: Alessandro Gallo

See the creative process of these amazing sculptures